I recently spoke before a PD support group and had someone ask me about keeping cognitively sharp in the face of the disease. I knew this was a question on the minds of many young people with the disease as they presumably had many years of life ahead of them for brain changes to occur. This woman's personal solution was to challenge her brain by doing Sudoku every day.
But I'm just a soul whose intentions are good
Oh Lord, please don't let me be misunderstood.
~ Bennie Benjamin, Gloria Caldwell & Sol Marcus
Originally sung by the the legendary Nina Simone and later covered as a blues anthem by the likes of Eric Burden and Joe Cocker, these lyrics also express a lament many with PD might well recognize. There is growing recognition that this disorder of movement is also a disorder of communication.
Think before you answer this question. It is not as simple as it appears.
By definition, a patient is a person receiving medical treatment. To be a patient therefore means to be actively engaged by the medical system in some way. But when, if ever, does a person with a chronic illness like PD stop being engaged by the medical system? That is, when does someone stop being a Parkinson's patient?
Much has been written about the possibility of compulsive behavior in some young people taking dopamine agonists. Gambling and hypersexuality have gotten a lot of press because they are glitzy and attention-grabbing. A person in the grip of compulsive gambling can rapidly bring financial ruin to the family. Hypersexual behavior can lead to unrelenting demands of a partner, affairs, unprotected encounters and compulsive indulgence in pornography.
Edward Zwick's latest comedy, "Love and Other Drugs", premieres this week amid great fanfare. I have not seen the film as of this writing so I don't know how it treats Parkinson's disease as it is experienced by a young adult. Depending upon the film's accuracy, plausibility, and general approach to the subject of PD, I will be blogging my thoughts in the weeks to come, though.
In my last blog, I discussed how common anxiety is with PD. However, pointing out that both the person with the disease and the people who love them can become anxious acknowledges but does not guide anyone about what to do about the situation. In keeping with my promise to discuss solutions, I will lay out a broad plan of attack for dealing with anxiety.
I recently had the honor and pleasure of speaking at the 2010 Southeastern Parkinson Disease Conference & Young Onset Parkinson's Conference in Atlanta jointly sponsored by the Northwest Georgia Parkinson Disease Association, APDA and NPF. My topic was anxiety, a condition that complicates Parkinson disease for upwards of 3 out of 4 individuals with the diagnosis. Based on the follow-up questions and casual discussions between sessions, it was clear that a discussion on this topic is well-placed and not just for the individual with the neurological diagnosis.
In my last blog, I discussed the need to accommodate the demands of Parkinson's by employing the metaphor of learning to sail a body of water one cannot control. It is natural to ask why accommodation is necessary. After all, the first few years after diagnosis are often marked by a milder presentation of the disease that allows symptoms to be ignored. Most people would find little reason to accommodate a condition it is easier to just not think about.
Parkinson's Disease - incurable, chronic, and progressive. The "What Ifs" can be a lot to worry about - body failure, job loss, financial ruin, vivorce, dying in a nursing home. Looking like one of those people in the neurologist's waiting room,...
The Summer 2010 issue of the Young Parkinson's Newsletter begins a new series on networking with an article about finding a support group. The article focuses on the mechanics of searching for and evaluating a support group to determine if it is a good fit. However, the newsletter format is too brief to address a more fundamental question: What is support supposed to look like?