You Can Do Anything
Diagnosed at 45
Hi my name is Alex Shepard and was diagnosed with PD at age 45, in 2009. Everything started one day when I was working out at the gym, doing shoulders and boxing. I felt a twitch on my shoulder, and couldn't lift anything with my left arm, but then that same arm started getting numb, so I ended up going to the doctor after feeling stiffness (rigidity), slower walking (bradykinesia), problems with my writing (micrographia), lack of arm swing on my right side when walking, and problems with my fine motor skills, to the point were I stopped working out for complete. Then I had severe pain (dystonia) between my shoulder blades and into the base of my neck.
So I had 6 months of Acupuncture treatment and took away the pain between my shoulder blades and my neck. But I still was having problems holding pens and gripping my silverware when eating. Simply trying to cut my meat, was becoming a huge ordeal. After I did blood tests, MRI's and Spinal Tap, to rule out other possibilities, I went to see two neurologists, one so called PD specialist, that was 80 years old, and his exact words were: "well young man I can only think that you have PD, and your going to end up in a wheel chair, so deal with it!" Well thank you very much Doctor. Wow, that wasn't very nice to say... So I saw the second one that really didn't care or had no clue, decided to do a two-week trial dose of Sinemet, he said: take it 3 times a day and if you feel better, then the diagnosis would be confirmed. I was feeling better, but my lack of motion was still not right.
I went on a cruise for a week, and on the ship, all I was thinking about was how miserable I was feeling and just wanted to jump over the board and end what every it was I was had. But on the last day of the trip, a miracle happened! My partner and I were looking at the sunset, my partner wanted a picture of our last day of the cruise... I thought, a picture of me feeling like sh....! So we asked the person next to us if he could take a picture, and he did very kindly. After that he said: "Excuse me but I have been watching you all week long and by the way you handle yourself, I can tell you have been diagnosed with Parkinson's". He then introduced himself as a Neurologist, and said: "I can see you have PD, but you are not having the right treatment, I would like to help you!" He gave me his card and asked in what state and city I lived in, and that he knew many PD specialists. We were so happy to be there at the right time and the right place, that we all started crying!
When I came back home, I received an e-mail from the doctor I met on the cruise and set up an appointment. He took over 2 hours to look and analyze me and do some small tests, then he prescribed the medication correctly, including different medications and even told me what to avoid regarding food and side effects.
Thank God for my doctor. I am at the lowest dose of Sinemet, Requip, Stalevo and Azilect. I exercise every day for 2 hours, and now I am back at my boxing class and can say very proudly, that I am the fastest guy on the speed bag with coordination and technique, and also have Parkinson's! And there are 20 people in the class.
Madonna said in one of her concerts: "You can do anything"