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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Eat smart and healthy! Talk to your doctor about how to improve your gut health.
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.
Never lose the curiosity and desire to learn more about everything! Science, art, music, history, and the world around us can feed our quest for knowledge and understanding as we continue to learn.
Try picking up a new talent or improving upon an old one. If you enjoyed playing an instrument, performing magic, shuffling and dealing cards, juggling, whistling, telling a joke, then think hard on what would bring you the greatest joy to add to your abilities, and explore it.
As we age, keeping focus becomes more of a challenge. Work on maintaining focus with brain games, puzzles, reading, and even video games.
Singing and keeping conversation are good for voice and concentration.
Challenging yourself and enjoying yourself at the same time, is very satisfying.
Music keeps me inspired, active, and makes my day so much more enjoyable.
I love to-do lists and marking off my completions–it just feels good!
Fear happens to all of us–when we can reduce our fear and anxiety, everything seems to get better.
Giving back and focusing less on ourselves can result in helping everyone involved.
Being bad can be fun–sometimes eating something that makes you smile, turning off the phone for a few hours, or having a late-night ice cream party can reignite the kid in us that we forget sometimes.
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:
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.
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!
If you are an animal lover, dog or cat person, intuitive, or just simply aware, these observations may not be as eye-opening as some of my epiphanies, but here are some of the observations, realized from living with Lily:
1. In her eyes, if I’m having a less good day, all she wants to do is be with me and make my day better.
2. Parkinson’s symptoms don’t disturb her. She loves me for who I am and what I am. I am part of her pack, no matter what.
3. When times are stressful or anxious, Lily is waiting in the wings with her ball or stuffed toy, to make me laugh or break the mood with a game of catch or fetch.
4. She reminds me not to take myself so seriously.
5. She reminds me that you can say an awful lot with just your eyes. Words are not always necessary to get your message across.
Well, I am back from a brief hiatus! I am excited to say that I have loads to blog about and share–as well as a few surprises, coming soon!
If you are in the Northern Virginia area, we would love for you to join Angela and me for our book signing at the Fair Oaks Barnes and Noble bookstore in Fairfax, Virginia on March 30, 2017 at 4:00 PM EDT! We would love to show you our latest book, Dealing and Healing with Parkinson’s Disease and Other Health Conditions: A Workbook for Body, Mind, and Spirit! Hope that you can join us!
Thank you for reading my blog and your continued readership.There is much more in store–just you wait!
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.
Valentine’s Day is a wonderful reason to tell the people who you care about most, how you feel about them.
Don’t confuse romance novels and Hollywood’s portrayal of fictional love, to be reality.
Valentine’s Day is just that–a day. Do not take your loved one for granted.
Flowers, cards, and chocolates are fleeting representations of your Love.
A kind word, gesture, or act means so much more than stuff.
Far too often, we think that gifts might replace our words and emotions, but they can’t.
Don’t let bling get in the way of the meaning of Love.
When words get hard to express, leave it to Shakespeare, Emerson, Thoreau, Gershwin, Sinatra, Carmen McRae, Boston, or your favorite band, to say it for you.
Good food, drink, conversation, and music make everything better.