Stories

Catherine Rodriguez

Accomplishments

Diagnosed at 43

My name is Catherine Rodriguez; I am a retired school principal, who has Parkinson's disease. I found the Parkinson's Disease Association of San Diego to be the best provider of services, education and advocacy for Parkinson's patients and their families in the San Diego area, so I became involved.

I was diagnosed on May 10th, 1999 at the age of 43. I will always remember the date because May 10 is Mother's Day in Mexico, "what a Mother's Day gift." I was a school Principal at the time. I remember going to the neurologist in the morning after having told my primary care physician that I had this tremor in my right hand. I assumed that it was stress. I blamed most problems on stress; being school principal in a very large charter elementary school is very stressful. Anyway for all I knew only old people got Parkinson's and at the time I was 43, that's not old. The neurologist said he believed that I had Parkinson's, I said "okay," and went back to work, calling my husband on the way back to tell him the neurologist said I had Parkinson's, neither of us knew how this would change my life.

I live in San Diego and am one of the thousands locally that have Parkinson's. I am now 53 years old and am no longer working—the job, the stress and the Parkinson's were too much for this person to handle. I have kept busy spending time with grandchildren, quilting, gardening, doing volunteer work and advocating for Parkinson's. I am President of the Board of Directors for the Parkinson's Disease Association of San Diego. My team has raised over $45,000 in the last four years at the Parkinson's Walk and I was the Volunteer of the Year for the Parkinson's Disease Association of San Diego, Combined Heath Agencies in 2006.

As an advocate, I was the Chairperson for Coordinating Volunteers for the Passage of Proposition 71 (California Stem Cell Research Initiative) in San Diego County. I also spoke before the Senate Committee on Health And Human Services on behalf of Parkinson's patients and the need for stem cell research funding. I have advocated for additional support for research by attending the California Life-Science Day, at the state capital in Sacramento. I have also done interviews with local television and print media.

Parkinson's may have changed my life, but I won't let it stop it. To quote Janet Reno, "My hands may tremble but my heart does not."

16 Comments

doctors should warn patients about this unfortunate side effect of requip.

James Jones, Apr 30, 2012

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Mir, thank you for sharing your story. I had never heard of that kind of side effect before. I can't imagine what that would be like. Keep up the hard work. Living with Parkinson's is hard at times and balancing life with it when you are diagnosed young is even harder, believe me I know where you are coming from I was diagnosed at 21. Keep your head up and stay positive. I learned that if you surround yourself with people that love you it helps. I hope you get to see your son.

Samantha, Apr 30, 2012

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Sir, What you need is a good attorney.

Susan, May 4, 2012

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I thought you should know that there are several documented cases where takers of Requip have had severe side effects such as yours. Do a search online and you can find information. I am very sorry that you had this happen on top of dealing with PD. I just wanted you to know that you are not alone with this problem, and there are people who can help you.

Susan, May 4, 2012

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I feel for you. Never took Equip; but have gone thru behavioral changes that have wreaked havoc on life as I knew it.

I agree with Susan. The connection between Equip & the loss of your business & family can probably be easily demonstrated. If the pharmaceutical company knew Equip could cause the side effects you experienced before or during the time you took Equip & your dr. didn't tell you about them and there were no warnings on the med label nor fact sheets, Equip & the doctor who prescribed Equip for you should be held liable for your losses or some portion of them.

Even if behavioral changes were not documented as a side effect of Equip at the time you took it (but are now or become a documented side effect), the pharmaceutical company could be held liable because they knew but didn't disclose or because they should have known.

I urge you to seek a consultation from a lawyer or 2. Cost shouldn't be a problem. Consultations are normally free & in cases like this, lawyers generally get paid a percentage of what you're awarded & charge nothing if you lose the case. So, it's nice to know that if a lawyer wants to take your case, there's a very good chance you will be awarded a substantial amt. Won't bring back your old life; but sure would help pay bills and improve your health, lifestyle and state of mind.

If numerous others have had behavioral changes due to Equip & were not warned of the risks, a class action suit probably has been or will be promoted by lawyers and you could join in; but I'd think you'd do better with your own individual lawsuit. Don't think you can do both.

I know you're facing a variety of struggles as your life has been turned upside down. I hope you share your journey with us. Perhaps some of our feedback will make some things a little easier for you. Some of us may have information & experience specific to your situation. Thank goodness you have your son to motivate & inspire you as you cope with such hard times. You may also find motivation & inspiration on this website. I wish you the best of luck and hope to hear more from you.

Joy, May 4, 2012

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Went through the same thing with Requip and gambling.
After reading your story, I am going to contact a lawyer

Jim, Jun 15, 2012

Hello Mir

First of all I would like to say that English is not my mother language so forgive the grammer & spelling mistake.

I am from Bangladesh, perhaps you never heard of this Asian poor country. That does not matter. I just want you to know I am also a YPD patient, so

we are in the same boat brother.

I wish or should say I hope- it may make you happy to know that you got a friend from an unknown country just because you are a YPD patient.

So let us say together Long live PD.

May be our wives, son, even hole family can left us to fight alone but we shall not give up hope.

Asrar

Asrar

Asrar Masud, May 5, 2012

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Thank you for sharing your problems with us, I am taking Sinemet now, and have been told when its no longer effective I will get requip, but now I will not allow it to happen to me.

Sandy, May 7, 2012

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HELLO mIR
I also am a YPD person and went thru 20K of lottery scratch offs. I had this reaction to all Dopamine Agonist (including Requip) TG I had a supportive wife/family and MDs I was able to stop gambling and get my life back on track.

stephan, May 15, 2012

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For those who could relate to Mir's story, be sure to check out Dr. Paul's blog about dopamine, reinforcement and compulsive behavior.

http://www.youngparkinsons.org/blog/dopamine-reinforcement-and-compulsive-behavior.

APDA Young Onset Center, May 31, 2012

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OMG I can relate to your Requip induced OCD! My obsession was ebay. Late at night when I could't sleep or even when I just had a few moments to spare! The money I spent was insane, embarrassing, humiliating, and did not stop until I was off Requip for a month.

I felt like I was manic but I don't really know what manic feels like, but this was how I explained it to my doc. I kept saying,"I'm going crazy!" It took her a YEAR to finally tell me about the "now documented" side effects. I felt like sending her my credit card bill!

Hang in there and run don't walk away from the Requip!

cindy, Aug 30, 2012

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Little did we know the side effects would be so severe and so complicated.

This drug has had major negative influences on my father's and our family's life and managed to make his life even harder to deal with than the Parkinson itself.

His behavior has changed drastically between the sexual urges, lost of any form of reality, the spending the money, amongst so many attitude and personality changes.

I have seen what this drug has done to his life, our family's life, and overall I would definitely never recommend letting any individual to take this drug willingly.

The only thing that will occur by taking Requip is more life traumatizing events that will destroy your life and make more hardships.

Father on Requip, Sep 12, 2012

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Anyone prescribed this medication needs to carefully monitor themselves and come off it if you develop side effects that do not settle down..even if your doctor says persevere with it.
As the first treatment for early onset Parkinson's, I stuck it out for a year with side effects so bad I had to take early retirement from work aged 45.Eventually I stopped taking requip against both consultants and gps advice and two years on,I am so much better.I have changed specialist and am trying other medications which have made a huge difference to my life.
If I had stuck with it, I would be dead by now and I am not exaggerating.
It it works for you great, if it doesn't trust your own judgement,stay strong and try something else.Everyone is different.One pill does not fix all.

Jinlon, Oct 3, 2012

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Reading these comments makes me feel like you have been living at my house for the last 4 years. I am sorry this has happened to other people, but for the longest time, I thought that this was my way of dealing with PD. I was diagnosed with PD in January 2010 and put on requip then. I took the medicine 3 times a day. Then I was moved to 6mg of Requip in an extended release form. Since that time, I have managed to lose 4 Subway restaurants and have been alienated from my family and any chance of retiring because of gambling. I just couldn't seem to stop. I probably didn't gamble once a year before being put on requip. That was on a cruise or some type of vacation. Then it was very limited. Next thing you know I was betting on everything, all day, and every day. I would leave my house at 2am, when my wife was asleep to go gamble. One night, I looked around the sweepstakes establishment and realized I was the only one there. I remember thinking to myself, what in the heck are you doing here. I even talked my wife into purchasing a sweepstakes, thinking that I could play all the time then. I wonder how many people are reading this blog that are just like I was before I quit taking this medication. Specifically, hiding the truth from your family. I beg you to not let it go as long as I have done. Don't let it ruin your relationships. Don't let it bankrupt you. Tell your doctor what you are experiencing.

Dalton Buck, Dec 17, 2012

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I'm sorry, but haven't any of you read the warnings that come with the drugs you take, and specifically Requip? I have taken it, and not I take pramipexole, and every time I pick it up at the pharmacy I get literature that is very clear about these drugs and compulsive behavior. I believe that this happens to some extent with up to about one-third of those who take them. It doesn't mean you shouldn't try it, but you and your family or close friends should know about the possibilities so you know what to look for. You can always stop it if it is bad for you.

MKuhns, Jun 27, 2013

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Educating yourself about the medication you are taking is very important. Some medications have more dangerous side-effects than others and you and your family should be aware of them. Remember, always speak with your physician if you have any questions regarding your medication. Never stop medication abruptly until you speak with your doctor. Safe medicine-taking habits are important, not only in PD, but with any disorder.

APDA, Sep 3, 2014

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