Saturday, October 8, 2011

Guest Blog Writer @Manxmnews' Mom

Photo provided by Debra, Guest Writer, taken at the beach near their home in Florida


I am Abby's Mom from Mary has graciously asked us to guest post on her blog and share our story with you about Parkinson Disease.

When your life partner and husband is diagnosed with Parkinson Disease you realize how dramatically life changes.

Several years ago my husband who was in his mid-50's noticed his left hand was having sudden slowing movements. He wasn't sure what was wrong so he went to see his primary care Doctor who in turn referred him to a Neurologist. The Neurologist confirmed he had a form of Parkinson Disease. The Doctor explained at the time that PD is like ice cream flavors, and that when the medical field refers to PD they are categorizing it as 'vanilla'. He explained that my husband had another flavor of PD and he was diagnosed with Parkinsonism.

Parkinson's disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects movement. It develops gradually, often starting with a barely noticeable changes. Most people are familiar with seeing people with tremors but I think that some people may not know that Parkinson's also covers a slowing or freezing of movement too.

The symptoms of Parkinson's disease will vary from person to person. Early signs may be subtle and can go unnoticed. Symptoms typically begin on one side of the body and usually remain worse on that side even after symptoms begin to affect both sides.  In my husband's case it started affecting the left side of his body. It began in his left hand and has now progressed to his left arm and leg. It has also affected his speech, voice, and the ability to swallow.

For many many years my husband refinished antique furniture. He had to work with some very strong chemicals. In researching PD I found that there is a very strong correlation between PD and farm workers who have been exposed to harsh chemicals and pesticides. This has made me wonder if there is also a cause and effect between the chemicals used in refinishing and PD. I can't begin to tell you how important it is to use caution when working with strong chemicals .

He has always been so active and it's been hard on him to know he has limitations that are beyond his control. Parkinson's  has impacted his stamina as well as his ability to move easily. Parkinson's is a progressive disease and it will have a greater impact him as he ages. It has meant changes in the things he can do that we both once took for granted.  But we are fortunate and we can work around these obstacles. Parkinson's is hard because there are physical inabilities, and mental ones as well.

There's no cure for Parkinson's disease, but medications can help control some of the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. My Husband takes a carbidopa/levodopa drug called Sinemet which has been his lifesaver. He has had to adjust the dosage over the years to keep it working in his system.

Living with any chronic illness can be difficult, and feelings of anger, depression, or simply feeling discouraged are normal. Parkinson's disease presents special problems because it can cause chemical changes in the brain that can make a person feel anxious or depressed. And Parkinson's disease can be profoundly frustrating, as walking, talking and even eating become more difficult and time-consuming.


You can visit Debra's delightful, beautiful kitties -   Abby, Boo, Gracie, Jinx & Ping at their blog:   Wait until you see Debra's stunning photographs.

Thank you so much Debra for your excellent post.   I learned a few new things from you.   I do see myself in some of these symptoms.  But, more on that another time.   Your insight and information is greatly appreciated.   As I have mentioned to you before in emails, it's so sad when a young person (yes, 50's is still young) has this disease.  At least it hit Don and I at an age when we expect to get some chronic disease or illness sometime soon.    Kitty kisses from Mario to Abby, and a big HUG from me for doing the post. 

Readers, please feel free to leave comments for Debra.  I get an email on all comments and can easily forward them to her, or she can visit the blog and see them that way.


  1. All of you are dealing with a difficult disease, but although the drugs for it are not curative, at least they can make some difference. Mom has some experience with her father who had Parkinsonism induced by many years of taking an anti-nausea medication. He was ultimately found to have a condition known as NPH. Sometimes NPH is diagnosed initially as Parkinson's disease. The key difference, Mom thinks, is that it doesn't start out affecting just one side.

    Mom has a colleague who is in his early 50s who has Parkinson's. He has worked with chemicals, but in his case they attribute it to the fact that he was involved in sports as a teenager and had head blows as a result. It is a concern for all those who play football soccer and basketball etc as children, one that people do not seem to consider.

    We wish for the very best for all three of you as you cope with Parkinson's.

  2. I am grateful to see a post from Manxnews regarding her family and their experience with Parkinsons disease. The more symptoms and experiences are written about, the more informed the rest of us are and we may be able to help others who are just discovered to have Parkinsons and don't always yet know what medications are available or side effects. I would point anyone to this very blog for those reasons. Thank you Debra and Mary.

  3. Thank you for sharing your story. We dont have PD in our family but the link to chemicals has impacted us as well. My dad has a form of cancer which may be linked to his grad work in the chemistry lab with benzene. Its scary what we are living with in our daily lives that may be making us sick. I hope that the medications keep helping both your husband Debra, and you and your husband Mary. (Pandora's purrson - Katie)

  4. That is some really good information and we thank you Debra. We sure are sorry that the three of you have this disease and sure hope that the medication does help you for a long time. You just have to take things one day at a time. Try to enjoy part of the days anyway. Wish they would come up with a cure for this darn disease. Please take care. Big hugs to all three of you.

  5. This is a really great blog for people with PD! I just read several posts. I'm sorry things are so difficult for everyone. There's no PD in my family, but when I was just out of college I worked in a lab with radioactive isotopes (mostly I125). I loved the job, but when the levels started building up in my body, I found another job. I worried about leukemia. I hope they find a cure for PD soon! God bless you all!

  6. Thanks for blogging about Parkinsons. I think it helps those like me who don't have experience with people who have the disease understand it and know how to communicate with others who have it when we cross paths.

  7. Thank you Mary for allowing me to guest post today. We appreciate your generous offer and have learned so much from the above comments!
    Abby & Mom Debra

  8. What a wonderful and informative post. I didn't realize that Parkinsons could happen to someone in their 50's. Thanks for all the information!
    (Theresa, under Prudence's acct!)

  9. Island Cats' mom here: Thanks for sharing your story, Debra. I don't have any experience with PD myself, so I appreciate learning more about it.

  10. Koko's mum here, ok you're amazing any way you look at the word. Thanks, just thanks for being an inspiration. Here, some human hugs, too.


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