Blog Archives

What does Thanksgiving mean to you?

For me, the holiday resonates with special memories of the whole family watching parades, football, and eating my late mother’s exceptional cooking. Those memories are treasures that line the walls of my Thanksgiving box for the rest of eternity. Those days are long past, but I am still fortunate to make special new memories with dear friends who mean so much to me. Times change, life moves quickly forward, and I am forced to accept change.

I think a keystone of this holiday is about one thing only, gratitude. In the hustle and bustle of shopping, cooking, pre-Christmas preparation, and Black Friday sales, the meaning of Thanksgiving gets blurred.

This year, I have lost more dear friends, neighbors, and close Parkinson’s disease colleagues than I can count on my fingers. Loss of loved ones, both friends and family are so bittersweet as I rejoice in having been part of their lives, yet mourn that those days have ended.

As the year quickly ends, I am ever so grateful for my wife and best friend, Angela, my wacky and hilarious chocolate lab, Lily, my relatives all across the United States, my dear Reiki and Parkinson’s families, and you the reader/subscriber who takes time out of your busy day to read my latest blog post. I am grateful!

Thank You!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Summer Reprise – “Trying to Understand Stress as It Relates to Parkinson’s Disease”

I will be re-releasing this and a few other posts from my archives that I think are worth revisiting:

If you are a frequent reader of this blog or have read my books, you know that I talk a great deal about the impact that I believe stress plays on Parkinson’s disease and the related symptoms of the illness.  Make note, I am neither a doctor nor am I a clinical researcher. I have recently found this fascinating research showing signs of scientific evidence to validate more of what I have experienced and believed to be true – stress may have a significant role in Parkinson’s.

 I have seen benefit and strongly believe that if you are able to lower your stress level, you can improve your symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. There has to be a logical reason why when many of us go on vacation or get deeply involved in a project that engrosses us, we sometimes see improvement in our condition.

How often do you find that when your stress is lower you have unused medication at the end of the day because you found that you didn’t need it?

Does this happen to you when you go away to a place less full of stress, like the beach or the mountains?

If stress does play an important factor in neurological disorders, and it looks very possible, then the science of stress needs deep exploration—quickly.

 I encourage you to read this paper online and judge for yourself. I think that you will find some observations that need further investigation.

To read the paper for yourself, go to http://jnnp.bmj.com/content/85/8/878.long

Parkinson’s Essay Turns 200!

Tomorrow,  James Parkinson‘s essay will be 200 years old. Since his discovery, modern  medicine has made strides with L-Dopa and Carbi-dopa breakthroughs that have become the long-standing gold standard of regimens. Not to diminish the importance of the Levadopa breakthrough, but that was over a half a century ago.
New drugs and procedures are slowly trickling out, but no one drug that I know of has impacted Parkinson’s disease as that of L-Dopa. To this very day,  since my 1991 diagnosis, I have found benefit from this most amazing life-changing drug. I am very lucky to report that my dosage, even after all this time, is a lowly 3 pills (25/100) a day. I aim to keep my pill consumption to the utmost minimum, but only time will tell.

I am hopeful but impatient as I plead with any pharmaceutical company, researcher, doctor, or anyone connected with creating new innovations to the neurological world that a huge need is there, right now, and an escalating problem that will impact so many. I would offer detailed numbers, but at this time, as we have no hard numbers, for lack of a registry devoted to Parkinson’s patients, the numbers just aren’t gathered, yet.

On World Parkinson’s Day (4/11/17), like millions around the world, I will be participating in #UniteForParkinsons. Please join us to spread awareness via social media to the world about Parkinson’s disease.  Visit https://www.worldparkinsonsday.com/#world-parkinsons-day for more information!

Happy Spring!

Sometimes, this is how I feel!

I love Spring, and cannot wait for the weather to retreat! Spring means sun, warmth, and the rebirth of flora and fauna. Greenery galore and the eruption of color come with the season. It means more time outside to explore and take new photographs.

If you are having a less good day, here are a few ways to improve your day:

Aspire

Book, create, initiate, or invite someone or make a plan for something to look forward in the near and distant future. By having something to look forward to (no matter how small), you create a to do item that you can work towards. Maybe you want to see a favorite band in concert or go to your favorite ice cream parlor, you are making plans.

Don’t Hide

Keep social and active! Get out and share information and good times with others!

Get Some Sun-but be cautious

Almost all Parkinson’s disease patients are low in vitamin D. PD patients who take Levadopa may be more be sensitive to sunlight. I see a Dermatologist at least once a year and suggest that you see one at least for a once a year checkup.

Some days are better than others–just remember that tomorrow is another day!

In Reference To My Art (up above)

Allergies, neck pain/headache, morning slowness, sinus congestion, post nasal drip, and cough all may come with the pollen explosion that comes with this time of year. I tend to not drink enough water and keep hydrated. I’m trying to drink more water. Stay hydrated!

Understanding Parkinson’s!

Faces of PD

Parkinson’s Disease (PD) knows no boundaries, when it comes to age.  Young, middle aged, or older, we are all susceptible to the throws of this illness. Parkinson’s is a complex illness that is still not fully understood as to why one person may get the disease but others do not. It may be that PD is actually  more than one disease, under a dome of many.

I don’t know that there is making any sense of this illness. The diversity of symptoms and effective medicines vary so much that it is rare, if ever that two patients share the same symptoms or find the same benefit from a similar regimen.

Unraveling the complexities of this mysterious illness or illnesses continues to be a challenge for medical science. New discoveries may require a new and less conventional methodology for explaining this most elusive and cunning illness.

Respite

RespiteWe all need to pay close attention to our health. It is so easy to be encumbered and engrossed in our work and lose sight of ourselves. We owe it to ourselves, for the preservation of our clarity of thought and refreshing of the body to vacate from the office. Taking time for yourself isn’t a luxury–it’s a necessity! Just taking a few minutes more, every day, can make a difference in your mood, your creativity, and overall well-being.

Photo Creation — Orb 3D

I was experimenting with my phone camera and created this–I hope that you enjoy it! I call it Orb 3D.

If you think it’s cool, please share it. I am trying to keep active and creative and believe it is vital to staying well. Explore your creativity!

Taken by Karl Robb

Taken by Karl Robb

The Eyes Have It–Perspective!

Sky view!Angle, intent, and outlook all sway our perspective. Even when using the best of our senses, there are times when our emotions interfere with our rationale. Keeping a cool head and paying attention to our inner voice might be the extra sense in determining perspective.

This photo over Dallas shows a whole other side of a city that I had never seen before (I was lucky to capture it.). I discovered an amazing and fresh look at a city I thought that I knew well, but now see it clearer and with fresh eyes.

Try, just for today, looking at something that you do or look at everyday, and apply this philosophy. See if you appreciate what you look at, a little more.

You might be pleasantly surprised.

It’s not all in your head–is it?

It might all be connected.In the near 200 years, since the discovery of Parkinson’s Disease (PD), the theories of how, where, when, and why the illness develops varies over time. Science is proving and re-enforcing the belief that everything is connected. When I was officially diagnosed in 1991 with PD, there were only a few doctors who pondered the connection between the gut and the brain. Now, there seems to be a much larger contingent who agree that our gut plays a major factor in our brain function.

The body has a mysterious way of masking itself or maybe it is just due to the complexity of the brain. For several years, my right shoulder rotator cuff hurt and I was unable to find long-lasting relief or an answer to where the pain was coming from. I had seen doctors, taken X-rays, seen massage therapists, and done physical therapy, and all proved to do little, over time. I was sure the pain resided in the shoulder. I was wrong.

I had to go all the way across the United States to find relief. A knowledgeable and very intuitive massage therapist who really paid attention to my arm discovered a very sore spot close to the mid point of my upper arm. Once she released the extreme pain that had been stored in that one spot, the pain in my shoulder dispersed. I would call the results near miraculous. She found the cause of my pain where no one had even thought of looking.

I think that this is sound evidence that there is just so much about the systems of the human body that we just can’t understand, just yet. Over time, new discoveries and breakthroughs may very well reveal astounding relationships between our systems or even unveil how our bodies process certain chemicals and alter our central nervous system. Until the day comes that modern science is capable of unveiling an all encompassing cure, it is our responsibility for exploring our own systemic connections, the roles that stress and anxiety play in our lives, our diets, our sleep patterns, and even how we think, feel, and react.

Our mind, body, and spirit depend upon one another. Maintaining that delicate balance is the key to our health. Finding the missing pieces that might lead us to fulfill the balance may require exploration and investigation outside our comfort zone and even that of our complete understanding. What I thought originated in my shoulder was actually being manipulated by a sore spot in my upper arm, a spot about a half a foot away. Looking closely at ourselves, with a fresh lens can reveal a great deal.

Out of Control

Out Of ControlParkinson’s Disease agonist medications (Requip and Mirapex) have been shown to cause compulsive behavior for some users. Some users have been shown to be prone to gambling addiction, sex addiction, shopping addiction, food addiction, and gaming addiction may occur. Compulsion may even entice users to go beyond legal limits to feed their desire or lose sense of time.

If you find yourself facing any kind of compulsive behavior that may be taking you away from friends and family, or is disrupting your life, tell your neurologist and someone close to you about breaking the cycle. Communication is so vital to your well-being. Carrying secrets only fuels the tension and stress on the mind and body. Letting go and making a change (with your neurologist’s help) might just be the right move forward.

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