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Uncovering Messages From Two Tough Guys

The great philosopher, Popeye, said “I am what I am and that’s all that I am.” At first glance, maybe that statement doesn’t appear to be all that deep, but if you look a little deeper, it means so much more.

We have our limitations, some we never explore and some may test us constantly. Our identity fluctuates with the role and position for the tasks needed to be fulfilled at the time. Trying to be all things to all people isn’t practical, easy, or healthy. Popeye knew his place in the world, in the end, he always fought the bully and won, got the girl, and took back his self-respect. In nearly every episode this average iron deficient occasional spinach-eater ended as hero.

Dirty Harry said “a man has got to know his limitations”. Between Harry and Popeye is the lesson of finding our balance. Icons, heroes, pop culture, and advertising bombards us with expectations and limitations that they alone try to put on us. As if daily living isn’t stressful enough, living by anyone else’s idea of how to live seems like an added pressure, that I don’t need.

Finding your target and keeping yourself challenged but not over-tasked, just might be the right balance. Each of has our own unique skills and abilities that distinguish us. Comparison isn’t fair or necessary when setting our personal goals. To each his or her own. Targets are made to be raised or lowered after several attempts of successes and near misses.

Keep aiming high! Passion and persistence can prevail!

Happy wins!

When given the choice of being right or happy, happy usually wins out.

Back from vacation!

I am back and feeling recharged! It amazes me what a 2 week vacation of mountain rains and relaxation can do to refill the batteries. I think that I had forgotten the importance of taking time for myself.

It is far too easy to become enveloped and disconnected when we get so deeply engrossed in our jobs and projects. Mindfulness promotes awareness and being in the moment but obsession becomes all-consuming. Finding and maintaining balance is key to refrain from straying to overdosing ones over involvement in anything that they do.

Vacation was a great break and now it is time to return being productive. I hope you will remain a follower of my blog. I am excited to announce the upcoming release of my 4 CD audio book set. In the meantime, if you would like to download the audio version, you can get it from audible.com, itunes.com, or amazon.com. It is available now. The CD collection becomes available directly off this site by mid-August.

Summer Color

Summer color and flavor

Freedom

As we end the celebration of the 4th of July and the founding of our great nation, I thought it to be appropriate to discuss, freedom. There is no doubt that Parkinson’s disease or any other illness robs one o f their independence and freedom. Parkinson’s can make you less sure of your balance, endurance,  and/or cognitive ability. Part of living with an illness is accepting help, if needed, but to try to remain as independent as you possibly are able.

As someone who has had Parkinson’s disease for over 25 years, I can assure you that the most beneficial  action that you can make in your life is to take charge and get as healthy as you can. Here are some suggestions that have worked for me and may work for you:

  • Stay active, be it yoga, walking, weights, or swimming–do something.
  • If your speech needs help, look into finding a certified LSVT therapist to help you.
  • Consider improving your digestion with a probiotic.
  • Eat vegetarian or as low on the food chain as you can.
  • Reduce your stress level through meditation.
  • Keep your mind active and challenged.
  • Avoid potent cleaning supplies, processed foods, and artificial odor products like cheap candles with infused odors that may cause headaches or worse.

 These are just a few ways to possibly help you to regain some of your freedom and take back your life.  You should discuss any changes with your doctor before making any major changes in your daily  regimen. I am not a doctor. I’m just a guy telling you what works for me and hope that it might work for you too. What works for you?

Reiki and Parkinson’s Disease

Over a decade ago, I had the good fortune of meeting my current Reiki teacher. When he introduced me to Reiki, I thought it to be pure quackery, but I had nothing to lose in keeping an open-mind. After experiencing Reiki, I was not only hooked but I was changed for the better. That was twelve years ago , and today I am in a one year mastership training course with my same teacher with the hope of sharing my ability with others dealing with Parkinson’s disease.  I have witnessed a transformation not only in myself but also with those whom I have worked on and seen as the healing energy calms, relaxes, and improves the conditions of those willing to try it.

Seeing may be believing but true experience seals the deal. When I walked into my first Reiki session, I was walking poorly and my balance was off but an hour after my first session, I felt rejuvenated and my walking  was dramatically better. Do I have empirical scientific evidence that Reiki made this miraculous  alteration in my condition and can I prove that it was the Reiki that has helped me to actually improve over the past 10 years and not see my symptoms decline? The only evidence that I have is the end results and those results are impressive in my humble opinion.  Show me a drug or procedure that is free and non-invasive that has that kind of success.  I have little doubt if it were not for my learning how to do Reiki for myself, I would be in a far more serious condition than I am in today.

My wife and I recently announced a local class to teach level 1 Reiki to people with Parkinson’s as well as their care-partner. The response was overwhelming. In less than a week our class overfilled with the need for  placing people on a waiting list. Undoubtedly, this will not be our last class.

I believe physicians and neurologists especially, should be recommending Reiki to their patients as additional therapy. There is no reason not to prescribe something that increases energy, quiets the minds, calms the heart, relaxes the muscles, and reduces dyskinesias. Yoga, meditation, acupuncture, and chi gong should also be investigated as a cocktail of therapies may be of benefit. As for me, Reiki has proven itself to me and science has yet to identify the untapped benefits that it reaps. If you can find anything better for someone facing Parkinson’s disease, I don’t know what it could be.

This is my opinion. I am not a medical doctor and this is not medical advice. This is what works for me.

My Zelapar Follow Up

To my few but loyal followers, I apologize for the brief hiatus that I have taken in keeping my blog up to date. I am publicly making my declaration that I will try to commit more time to keeping this space current and relatively entertaining. I ask only this, of you the reader, if you think this, my blog, to be of worth, that you pass it on to a friend, a collegue, or even just someone that you feel a need to get back at–well, okay that might be a little cruel and unusual punishment. 

I realize that I never got back to you, my friends, what the final outcome was from my nightmare account with Zelapar, a drug that I only took for 3 days but stayed in my bloodstrem for over 21 days. If you missed my saga with this drug, just check out my earlier postings to learn how this drug dragged me through the proverbial ringer.

At this time, I think that I can honestly conclude that I have no residual side effects or known damage from my stint with Zelapar. Yes, it caused weeks of frustration, weeks of aggravation,  and much more dyskinesia than I am normally accustomed to, but in the end, I came out alright. As best as I can tell, I seem no worse for wear.

I can’t say it enough: Every PD patient is different and every med is going to help, do nothing, or challenge him or her.  If I can offer any advice, from personal experience and not from a medical perspective, the patient can best serve themself if he or she monitors his or her condition closely as to best be aware of any encroaching side effects or changes in condition. What works for some may not work for all–it’s just that simple with this disease–at least from where I sit.

No thanks to the makers of Zelapar or the FDA, both with whom I filed concrns with, only to be lost in the vapor. No follow-up call, email, or contact of any kind. I would think that there would interest by someone in one of these large institutions that actually give a damn–but no! Then today, this piece of news slippped below my radar:

Aug 20 (Reuters) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Friday it will examine the potential heart risks of Novartis AG’s (NOVN.VX) Parkinson’s drug Stalevo, a combination of two treatments for the debilitating brain disease.

I am not on Stalevo but I have many friends who are taking this drug. I encourage you to keep up with the constant flurry of PD data, breakthroughs,and warnings through the power of Google and the web, whether you are on Stalevo or not. If you are on Stalevo, I would suggest that you closely monitor the outcome and keep in touch with your Neurologist about where this goes.  Remember, that’s just my humble opinion and not medical advice.

Let me know what you think and please subscribe to my blog. Thanks!

You Eat What?

As a long-time vegetarian, I find it laughable when vegetarians tell me that “A little meat,gelatin, or fish won’t  hurt you” as if they alone know the rules of what is appropriate  for my vegetarian regimen. I think it makes them feel better and are more socially concious if they dictate what I can or cannot eat. Somehow by permitting me to to eat the flesh off of a carcass makes that individual feel better about themselves because if I eat meat maybe they won’t feel as guilty. Either that, or people just want to corrupt vegetarianism!

I don’t know how many times I tell someone that I’m vegetarian and damned if they don’t ask if I eat chicken, fish, or even the white meat known as pork. Excuse me, but when did those animals become vegetables? You can’t be a little pregnant and you can’t be a little vegetarian. Speaking of pregnancy:

About 30 years ago, I remember reading the science magazine, Discover, that highlighted a story on people who ate the placenta of their newborn children. Several of them, vegetarian, claimed that this bloody-rich after-birth was pure, natural, and full of essential nutrients. All they were doing was harvesting and recycling nature’s bountiful treat. Thirty years later, vampires are trendy, disgusting foods are hot on food channels, and the novelty of drinking your own urine for non-survival purposes ( unless your Bear Gryls) is the new rage. What does Martha Stewart say? Is urine and sauteed placenta the perfect addition to a healthy gourmet meal? Is it even vegetarian? Look out Alfie Packer (another posting to come).

I for one whole-heartedly endorse recycling, but even I draw the line at a blood-drenched after-birth and a gleaming beaker of pee! The next time my host or hostess asks me where I draw the vegetarian line, I know to clarify that I don’t drink urine and I pass on placenta. Who knew being vegetarian was so complex? What do you think?

Go Back For Seconds!

A few months ago, I had a Cardiologist tell me that I had a cardio-myopathy. He had my General Practitioner prescribe an Ace Inhibitor and Beta-Blocker. My GP was adamant with me that I take them despite the fact that these drugs would lower my already low blood pressure. My wife and I were already distressed over the fact that we had been told that my heart was dying and now I was to take additional dangerous meds along with my PD meds. Not good at all.

My PD meds lower my blood pressure enough that I get drowsy every so often and light-headed rarely,  but to add a newcomer to my regimen to lower it even more, did not sound like my doctor was listening to me. My doctors were not thinking about my PD or my medications as part of my health equation. I knew it was time for a second opinion.

I called my Neurologist to get a referral for a Cardiologist with some understanding of PD, PD meds, and the heart. After taking a chemical stress test, an Electro-Cardiogram, and wearing a halter monitor for 24 hours, the evidence showed that my heart was perfectly normal and I had no need for any heart drugs at all. My doctors had put me and my wife through months of worry, stress, and near panic for nothing. Had I not gone for a second opinion, I would be taking un-needed medication that could be causing serious harm to my body.

I am not a doctor,  but consider this. If any of your doctors ask you to make a radical change in your health regimen and you have any doubts about the potential consequences of this change then you probably need a second opinion to ease your mind. I’m so thankful that I got that second opinion.

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