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10 Tips to Improving Your Life with Parkinson’s Disease and Other Health Conditions

10 Tips to Improving Your Life with Parkinson’s Disease and Other Health Conditions

Parkinson’s disease is an illness that may require varying strategies. It may take new and different tactics to work with the ever-evolving changes that may pop up over time. Here are a few pieces of advice to consider as they may help you as they have helped me:

10) Intake Matters – Consider everything that you put into your body. Stay hydrated! Eat as cleanly as you can (local organic fresh vegetables, balanced diet, pay attention to your nutrition) and going easy on processed foods. Try reducing and even eliminating soft drinks. Avoid artificial sweeteners! Diet and Parkinson’s disease seem to go together; which makes complete sense, as reams of research seem to point to the gut as a possible culprit for the illness. Since going vegetarian, by vastly reducing my soft drink intake, increasing my water consumption, and reducing my reliance on processed foods, I have noticed digestion and medication absorption both, seem to have improved.

9) Keeping Social and Well – Informed – Creating and maintaining a social life keeps you involved, knowledgeable, engaged, and active. A social network and/or a support group is an opportunity to connect with other like-minded individuals who are dealing with your condition. Sharing information together provides you with a resource for experience and wisdom from those who are living with illness as well as those who are caring for loved ones. Having a sounding-board of experienced people can be very helpful when trying to learn about medications, navigate local resources, find therapies, and share stories about your health care providers. Seek support!

8) Lowering Your Stress Level and Keeping Anxiety Down – There are techniques and complementary therapies like massage, yoga, meditation, Reiki, and Tai chi, which can reduce stress anxiety, and calm the mind; these are but a few of the many therapies that you might consider trying. Several of these therapies can help teach breathing techniques and ways to lower anxiety. Finding that balance of your mind, body, and spirit can have a significant impact on your health.

7) Special Doctor – If you have Parkinson’s disease or another kind of movement disorder, find a neurologist who is specially trained as a Movement Disorder Specialist. They have extra training and an understanding in neurological disorders.

6) Keeping Positive – A positive attitude is contagious. Making the choice of staying positive and identifying the good instead of the negative is important to create a healthy and conducive environment. Remember that you have a choice!

5) Gratitude – Hold on to your joy for life and the gratitude for all that is in your life! Appreciate what may seem like small things but really are not, is a good start. Medicine, doctors, clean water and air, a good meal, friends, family, and just being alive are all to be appreciated. Add the awe of a sunrise, a sunset, a good laugh, great conversation, and helping someone else, are all acts to be cherished.

4) Doing What You Can – Do as much as you can, while you can, and maximize your good days! Take advantage of everyday and make the most of them!

3) Be Heard – Get involved in your community through advocacy groups, local organizations, and share your voice about your journey with illness. Educate those around you about your illness and encourage friends and family to learn with you on how to improve the Parkinson’s community.

2) Do Something – If you are in denial, apathetic, or depressed, it may be very difficult to motivate yourself to do what you need to do. It may be helpful to seek help from a counselor or someone who understands depression. This may take small victories and small steps. It may take learning about the disease in small chunks. Know this, that everyone’s journey is different and that you can’t gauge one patient by another. The more proactive and motivated you are, the more prepared you will be. Being flexible and staying open to new opportunities can be very helpful.

1) You are Not Powerless – Realize that you are in the driver’s seat to your healthcare! You must be your own best advocate and make sure that you are doing your very best. Be proactive with conventional medicine, skeptical but open to other non-invasive therapies, and a willingness for change. A little hope and faith can go a long way!

I really do believe that we have the power to help ourselves. We have the power locked inside ourselves, we just need the right key to unlock it. I think it is up to us to find that key.

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.

Wellness Way at World Parkinson Congress (WPC) 2016

Take time for yourself  while at The World Parkinson Congress 2016!

Take time for yourself while at The World Parkinson Congress 2016!

Wellness Way is your opportunity at the World Parkinson Congress 2016 in Portland, OR, to take time for yourself and experience therapies like massage, yoga, reiki, meditation and more. This is your place to relax, reflect, and recharge after traveling or just if you are in need of a few moments of silence. Wellness Way is a designated area of 4 dedicated rooms intended to calm your body and mind. Learn about techniques and therapies that  you may have not considered. This is an exciting new extension to #WPC2016 programs.

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