Blog Archives

Enjoy #SingOut2017 Concert via Live Stream tomorrow 9/9 2pm CDT 

Watch the world’s largest Parkinson choir give a concert tomorrow, Saturday 9/9 at 2pm CDT. You can watch the performance either in person at Richardson High School

1250 W. Belt Line Road, Richardson, Texas 75080

-Complimentary Valet Parking

-Reception to Follow Performance

or watch the LIVE stream of the concert at the Parkinson Voice Project Facebook page.  For more information you can also visit: http://www.parkinsonvoiceproject.org/ShowContent.aspx?i=1834

It’s so inspirational and moving to witness over 100 unified parkinson voices as one loud harmony! You need to hear it and share the triumph of these singers as they raise their voice in song. I encourage you to listen and experience this magical presentation.

Just so you know, I am a supporter and board member of the Parkinson Voice Project and have been for over ten years.

Dyskinesia Isn’t A Dance and It Really Isn’t Funny!

Dyskinesia is the uncontrollable jerky movement of hands, feet, or head. Often misunderstood, dyskinesia is a side effect of the Parkinson’s disease medication. Sometimes, this side effect is embarrassing, annoying, and at times even dangerous. Besides drawing attention to you from complete body writhing, dyskinesia can be exhausting. When I experienced 1 to 2 hour episodes of dyskinesia, I would feel like I ran a marathon without ever leaving home. Small spaces, sharp edges, and anything glass or breakable was a potential hazard. Trying to hold a drink with dyskinesia is a struggle, as your hand wants to splatter everything in sight but your mind screams, “Don’t do it!”

Tremor and dyskinesia are different. Unlike tremor, dyskinesia is bigger than a rapid twitch or tremble. At times, my entire body wiggled and flailed. It still happens, but only on an infrequent basis. Dyskinesia interferes with delicate and precise movements as well as simple everyday tasks, like making a sandwich, pouring a drink, or slicing bread. Someone with dyskinesia may struggle to brush their teeth, comb their hair, or just perform normal acts of daily living. Constant care and awareness is heightened to avoid food from flying everywhere.

BellPeople who don’t know me that well, who may see a brief shake, may laughingly call it a “dance”. Calling dyskinesia a dance may be meant to lighten the severity and discomfort of the event for all involved. Dancing is by choice—dyskinesia is not. I tolerate this comment but admittedly wish that those calling dyskinesia a dance could refrain from reducing a drug interaction that affects so many, to a recreational act. Dyskinesia in public is a teachable moment! Explaining to the uninitiated that this isn’t part of the illness of Parkinson’s has been a constant challenge.

Understanding dyskinesia from the non-scientific perspective isn’t that complicated, but trying to negotiate it, reduce it, and calm it, is the hard part. Never knowing when or where it might crop up can keep you on edge. It adds more stress—not what you need! Over time, I have gotten better about finding some control with the help of meditation, yoga, breathing, and reiki.

I realize that the distinction between tremor and dyskinesia probably in the scheme of things isn’t all that crucial, but what is important is the way either symptom is accepted by the public. Educating the public and demystifying the nuances of Parkinson’s can bridge the gap and clarify just what the public should understand about symptoms and side effects related to Parkinson’s disease.

Collaboration with PatientsLikeMe

Karl Robb and Angela RobbI am so excited to announce that Angela and I will be guest blogging for the site, PatientsLikeMe.com. I look forward to sharing stories, insights, and information through my blog posts and joint posts with my wife and partner, Angela. Here’s a link to our first post, a Q&A session: http://bit.ly/2iJb0Ex

If you are unfamiliar with this website, here’s a quick description from the PatientsLikeMe About Us page:

We’ve partnered with 500,000+ people living with 2700+ conditions on 1 mission: to put patients first

Imagine this: a world where people with chronic health conditions get together and share their experiences living with disease. Where newly diagnosed patients can improve their outcomes by connecting with and learning from others who’ve gone before them. Where researchers learn more about what’s working, what’s not, and where the gaps are, so that they can develop new and better treatments.

It’s already happening at PatientsLikeMe. We’re a free website where people can share their health data to track their progress, help others, and change medicine for good.

Book Review: Parkinson Voice Project

Dealing and Healing with Parkinson's Disease and Other Health Conditions: A Workbook for Body, Mind, and Spirit

Dealing and Healing with Parkinson’s Disease and Other Health Conditions: A Workbook for Body, Mind, and Spirit

My many thanks  to my friends at the Parkinson Voice Project in Richardson, Texas for this generous review of our second book!

Book Review by LOUD Crowd® Member Carol Brandle

TITLE: Dealing and Healing with Parkinson’s Disease and Other Health Conditions: A Workbook
for Body, Mind, and Spirit
BY: Angela and Karl Robb

Having a workbook to accompany the best-selling Parkinson’s book, A Soft Voice in a Noisy
World, provides an excellent wellness tool for individuals or group discussion. Questions in the
workbook are closely paired with chapters in the book. Additionally, some questions shine light
on new ideas, such as complementary therapies like Reiki, massage, acupuncture, and
reflexology.

Karl Robb brings the same positive attitude, hope, and strength to this workbook as to his
book, A Soft a Voice in a Noisy World. Exercises which reduce stress and reaffirm strength can be
done as individuals or in communication groups, such as The LOUD Crowd® groups at Parkinson
Voice Project. A caregiver or partner might use the questions to strike up meaningful
conversation with the affected person, whether Parkinson’s is the health concern, or some other
health conditions. Either format will help you balance the connection between mind, body, and
spirit.

It’s apparent that Angela and Robb write from a wealth of experience as they direct
questions to sensitive issues, such as “What are you willing to do to help yourself?” and creating
a timeline to improve communication with a health care provider. Angela was honored in 2015
as a White House Champion of Change in Parkinson’s Disease. She and Karl also author an award winning
blog, http://www.asoftvoice.com


Angela and I have been fans, friends, and Board members of the Parkinson Voice Project for several years. We encourage anyone unfamiliar with this organization to learn about the wonderful work that they do.

Guest Blogging for PatientsLikeMe #MoreThan Campaign

I am so excited to be part of the @PatientsLikeMe #MoreThan campaign! I recently wrote a blog posting for the PatientsLikeMe blog, which you can read here. I encourage you to tell the world about your #MoreThan story via your social outlets. Sharing your story can help inspire, motivate, and educate. Showing the world that we are #MoreThan our illness is a powerful reminder that those of us dealing with illnesses have families, hopes, dreams, and goals just like everyone without this additional challenge. There is something very powerful about one’s personal story along with a photo. Making your voice heard is crucial for awareness, unity, and community! Thanks to @PatientsLikeMe for this opportunity.

#MoreThan Parkinson's PatientsLikeMe - Karl Robb

#MoreThan Parkinson’s PatientsLikeMe

Appreciate Time!

Where has the month of May gone?

It seems like I just took this picture in Alaska, but that was 2 years ago. Time creeps up on us, silently and subtlety. The month of May is rounding the corner and heading for the finish. As one who loves this time of year, I let time get away from me. In my focus and devotion to my projects and writing, I lost my sense of time. While my time has been spent productively, somehow, I missed the progression of time, as it happened. As weird as it sounds, it sounds even stranger as I try to explain it. Maybe, I need to go back to living by my calendar!

5 Tips Parkinson’s Patients Should Know

Nutrition matters

Summer color and flavor

Last week, I had the opportunity to speak to a wonderful audience with Parkinson’s and their care partners, in eastern Virginia. It was a marvelous exchange of information and emotions. Parkinson’s disease comes with so many unwritten rules. Trying to find all that you need to know about this illness, all in one place, may be frustrating to collect. There is so much to remember and so much that you might forget. Staying on top of Parkinson’s disease, symptoms, medications, and health maintenance, is a full-time job!

The following are 5 pieces of knowledge that you will want to remember:

  1. Is your neurologist a movement disorder specialist? If you have Parkinson’s disease and your neurologist isn’t a movement disorder specialist, you may want to see if there is one in your area. Movement Disorder Specialists complete extended training to focus on neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease.

  2. If you are taking antibiotics, your medication’s effectiveness may be hindered dramatically. I can speak from experience that after taking antibiotics for my tooth infection, I saw a huge decline in the efficacy of my daily regimen of Parkinson’s medications.

  3. Don’t forget that if you are on Sinemet and you are protein-sensitive (protein in your diet may interact with your Levodopa), protein may decrease the full benefit of your dose. You may want try taking your protein later in the day or evening. Timing your medications for optimal benefit is part science, part art, and part luck.

  4. When I am able to lower my stress level, I have found that medications work better, I feel calmer and more peaceful, and see less of my symptoms.

  5. Eat smart and healthy! Talk to your doctor about how to improve your gut health.

News May Have An Impact!

Hyperbole on television, the evening news, politics, the Internet, and especially late night shows, is more common than ever. Our exposure to the dramatic and the end all be all is becoming a standard occurrence. Every day we wake to a new dilemma that involves “the greatest”. “the best”, “the most tremendous”. It is a contagion that gets ratings, sells newspapers, and is the marketer’s tool of choice. Watch any infomercial pitch and you are sure to hear hyperbole.

Hyperbole is ingrained in today’s messages. Usually, the message is louder and more shocking. Drama ensues.

A few years ago, I tried an experiment to catalog the many messages that I received from viewing 2 hours of one of the cable news channels. What follows are most of the crises discussed by the news team. I’m sure that I must have missed a couple. You’ll notice that most of these topics are not of the positive nature. I think that this proves that the daily messages that we are exposed to may very well have a direct connection to our thoughts and our feelings.

Here they are:

Train bombing, Missing Dolphins that were raised in captivity, Heavy rain, City Workers Steal Donated Items for Hurricane victims, Earthquakes, Sexual Abuse of a sports star, NASCAR Fight, New Orleans Health Care Crisis, Rising Oil Prices, Missing college student, Metro fire, Hurricane evacuation, Drought, Murder, Kidnapping, Corruption in government, Sex offenders, Train derailment, oil prices, poverty, inflation, drowning, mold and spore death, robbery, plane crash, home destroyed, stock loss, computer hacking, balcony collapse, contaminated water, abandoned animals, Cancer, lack of potable water, terrorism, taxes, forest fire, thunderstorms, Space shuttle disaster, and nuclear weapons.

If this is what you hear and see in 2 hours of reporting, imagine all the exposure your brain and entire emotional system are forced to process.  If your system is compromised the negativity of these stories could have even more impact.

It might be an experiment worth attempting. Try shielding yourself from the barrage of news that is unavoidable and mostly unchangeable, to see if all aspects of your illness shows improvement. Consider a respite of time for yourself and those close to you. Maybe by doing something to counteract just one of these issues, a positive change might come.

Nothing is better than hyperbole-bad joke alert.

Positive Daily Living Sample Chapter from Dealing and Healing

The following PDF is an excerpt from our new book, Dealing and Healing with Parkinson’s Disease and Other Health Conditions: A Workbook for Body, Mind, and Spirit.

We are excited to provide this collection of exercises and tools that we believe can benefit most anyone! Whether you are an individual, a support group, a social group, or a small informal group, we encourage you to try these exercises and to share it with those who you feel may benefit from it.

If you like this chapter and would like to purchase the workbook, it’s available for purchase online at Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com.

Dealing and Healing Chapter 29 Positive Daily Living

Chapter 29 Positive Daily Living

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!

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