My Story of PD
Laurel Age 49

Gilbert, AZ
Diagnosed August 5, 2004   visit My Story Updates page to see what I am currently doing to treat my symptoms. Check out my new blog Newfacesofparkinsons: Parkinson's Disease - Diet may be the key to improving symptoms.

Around the summer of 2003, I noticed a small flutter in my left hand, right above the knuckle area. It was a noticeable little thumping, and thought this is somewhat strange, but did not think anymore about it.

I have always enjoyed reading biographies and had picked up the book Lucky Man. It was about Michael J. Fox the actor; diagnosed in the early 1990’s with Parkinson’s disease.

 

It gave an account of his initial symptoms that led to the diagnosis of his Parkinson’s disease. After reading his story, I had a brief moment where I thought about the flutter in my left hand and wondered if it could be possible that this might be the beginning of PD.

Nevertheless, I brushed that thought out of my mind. There was no way that I could have PD. As the months passed, the annoying flutter in my left hand progressed to a shake in my arm. It seemed very prominent when I crossed my arms across my chest. I tried to stop crossing my arms because this was very annoying. I also began to realize that when I typed on the computer, my left hand tapped out an SOS signal on its own, while my hand was at rest on the keys. This made it become even more of a concern to me. I remembered glimpses of what I had read in the book, Lucky Man and everything that was happening to me seemed reminiscent of Michael J. Fox’s story.

As each week passed, I kept thinking that these little twitches and shaking would go away. It did not go away. One night I was trying to fall asleep and lay there talking to my husband about how my left arm seemed to be taking on a life of its own. As I lay in bed trying to fall asleep, an energy force seemed to be running up and down my arm. It was as if there was an electrical current raging in my arm, but the energy just did not know where to go. It was at that moment, I knew in my heart that it was Parkinson’s disease.

In June of 2004, I was in my general physician’s office following up on an ailment. I decided this was the perfect opportunity to mention about my tremor in my left arm. Therefore, I casually said, I have had this thing going on in my left arm for a while now. It seems to be getting progressively worse. What do you think it could be? He said, “let me look at you” and did his examination on me. He asked how long it had been going on and I told him. He said, "Maybe we had better get an MRI and MRA done/"

He gave me a prescription to go get the MRI and MRA done and a referral to a Neurologist. Two days later, I was having the brain scans done. The lab technician said, "are you cold? You seem to be
shaking quite a bit." I told him no that I was not cold; it was what had brought me here to get the MRI. I had a growing tremor in my left side.

Monday morning, I received a call from my Doctor, not the nurse but the Doctor. He said, "I have the results of the brain scans and I would like you to see the Neurologist as soon as possible. Have you made the appointment?” I told him that I had an appointment scheduled for that week. He asked me to pick up the brain scan results and bring it with me to the Neurologist. Therefore, I did.

Sitting in the Neurologist office, I felt some trepidation as to what he would tell me. As I met the doctor, he asked the usual questions, how long did I have the tremor and then did the neurology exam. After his examination and reviewing the brain scan, he said, very calmly, "I think we may be
dealing with a couple different things here." He took out the x-ray and showed me a small white mark in the scan. He said, "the radiologist noted that you might have had a TIA; a small stroke. However, after my examination, I think that it is Parkinson’s disease. You do not appear to have any signs of a stroke. The white spot in the x-ray is probably something that you have had since birth. Considering you are 48 years old. If we start you on the PD medicines now, they will most likely become ineffective by the time you are 55 years old. Other modalities will have to be introduced to help control the symptoms. There is no cure for Parkinson’s disease."

He also asked if he could look in my mouth. I showed him my upper and lower teeth. He just said
"Mmmmm". He also said, "considering your age I want you to get a second opinion, therefore I would like to send you to see a stroke specialist and movement specialist" and gave me the referrals.

In July of 2004, I saw the Stroke specialist first. I went through the routine and after his examination; he said, "I believe you have Parkinson’s disease. You are scheduled to see the movement specialist and I believe he will agree with my diagnosis, but feel it is important that you still see him." Several weeks later, I saw the most reputable, well-known Neurologist/Movement specialist at the Mayo Clinic and he too officially diagnosed me with Parkinson’s disease.

The diagnosis was determined after rigorous testing to eliminate any of the other neurological disease possibilities.

Now, 1 year further down the Parkinson’s road, my symptoms are progressing. My tremor now includes my entire left arm and on occasion, my shoulder. I also have stiffness associated with the disease along with numbness and tingling in my left arm. I notice that my left leg has numbness and tingling and sometimes feels very heavy. My husband, along with the doctor has noticed that I do not swing my left arm, like normal when walking. I have a difficult time falling and staying asleep due to all the movement. I have aches in my legs and arms that seem to go deep into my bones. I notice that my mental ability is affected. I am no longer the intuitive speller that I used to be. Words that use to come easily to me, are now challenging me. I need to sound them out to get them correct. When I type on the computer, my left hand is heavier and I make many typos.

Even though I see that the disease is progressing in me, I feel fortunate that I am able to continue exercising and know that I do have some control over how this disease really affects me. I choose to be involved in my own care and have a positive attitude. I will use that will, along with God’s will and my husband’s support, to fight this disease with all the therapies available; including exercise, nutrition, green food therapy, physical therapy and anything else that comes along. I will continue to research this disease and hope that all of us working together can and will make a difference.

My Story Updates

 

 

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