Stories

Nate Evans

Here's My Story So Far

Diagnosed at 32

I am a husband and father of three children, a full time student studying Psychology, and an entrepreneur. In January of this year, I received my initial tentative diagnosis of Early Onset Parkinson's Disease. I was referred to a competent neurologist specializing in movement disorders. He confirmed the diagnosis.

My immediate reaction was doubt. I asked myself questions like; "I can't be 32 and have Parkinson's, right?" Regardless of my doubts, I had been dealing with some pretty intense tremors for a while and agreed to use the medications my neurologist prescribed after some prompting from my wife. After a few days of medications, I began to notice a distinct decrease in my tremors. My wife had noticed the difference much sooner. I decided I would undertake some research into the factors that cause Early/Young Onset Parkinson's Disease.

First and foremost, genetics tend to play a pretty highly correlated role so I put the word out to my extended family that I was interested in any cases of Parkinson's Disease that have occurred. Initially the response was to the negative, and my doubt temporarily increased. Then, I talked started getting a number of resounding affirmatives. I looked into the environmental factors that have been linked to the disease, and as I made mental check marks on a number of them my doubt began to recede. Chlorine... check... Head trauma... check... etc. But, doubt reared its head again as I noticed over and over again that "genetic Parkinson's" usually manifests in the mid-20's. Then, I found studies linking smoking to Parkinson's symptom suppression. I smoked 2 packs a day for a number of years, and only recently gave up the habit. My neurologist had a serious conversation with my wife, and came to the conclusion that I have had symptoms at least since we started dating, when I was 20.

That’s my story so far. As it gets more involved, I will update this testimonial. My name's Nate, and I have PD. Had to end on a stereotypical support group note.

3 Comments

While getting all of the necessary pre-screenings done for DBS implantation, an MRI found that there is a "growth" on my pituitary gland. I have since been referred to the only endocrinologist in town. Of course, hearing that there is an abnormality in my brain immediately raised more doubt, so I asked my neurologist if this "growth" could be causing the PD. He wasn't sure, so he did some research and got back to me about it. There is no correlation between PD and the pituitary that he could find. At this point I do not know what kind of "growth" I have, but my PD is the reason it was found. For that, I am almost grateful to have this diagnosis.

Nate, May 1, 2013

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Hi Nate, I have tremors in both hands. I have had them for a while now. I smoked a lot too, but not Cigarettes. I just quit to see if my hand tremors got worse to reduced. I hardly notice it. Did you ever feel stiff? Were there any other symptoms other than the tremors? I only notice it when I get upset or stress.

Bryan, Sep 19, 2013

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Bryan,

I had/have stiffness in my back, arms, and legs. My tongue will occasionally freeze on certain hard syllables. When I get stressed my tremors become much more pronounced. This happens because stress related neurochemicals flood the motor cortex in places where natural dopamine is lacking.

Your tremors may be withdrawal symptoms related to quitting smoking. These can last up to 3-4 weeks. Mine still hadn't ceased after 6 weeks, and continued getting worse until I saw the neurologist and was diagnosed with Parkinson's, and given a prescription for Sinemet and Ropinirol. My tremors plateaued and receded a bit after starting the meds.

If your tremors are persistent, see your doctor and if Parkinson's is suspected, get a referral for a neurologist.
The testing is fairly non-invasive.

Nate

Nate, Oct 11, 2013

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