Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Parkinsons: Unpredictable

30 posts in 30 days.  That's the challenge.  I may miss a day or two, but here's #1.

Parkinson's Disease.  I can write a dissertation about what it is, what causes it (unknown), the symptoms, the progression, you name it.  But I think I should start this challenge with: what is it like to have Parkinson's?

The easy answer is that it's frustrating and unpredictable.  I've always hated unpredictability.  Calendars, planning, and worrying used to be the name of my game. I absolutely had to know what was happening in my near future.  I've now learned I really have no choice.

The unpredictability of it: one day I feel great and the next day sucks.  On the sucky days the issues are my memory,  balance, and neck rigidity.  My brain is fuzzy; I can't remember where I put things, what I talked to others about (I repeat myself a lot), and what I'm supposed to do/when I'm supposed to do it.  As for my balance, I can't turn quickly in either direction or I get dizzy and stumble.  My posture isn't good -- all hunched over.  The muscles in my neck and upper back are "frozen" and they really hurt.  I feel about 80 years old.

Good days?  I feel pretty normal!  My neck always hurts, but not too bad.  I can get on an elliptical trainer and I can text while exercising.  I can walk a straight line and turn without getting dizzy.  I'm mentally sharper and I remember things pretty well.  My energy level is up and I can get a lot of things done.  Sleep seems to have a lot to do with it, and one symptom of Parkinson's is insomnia.  Great.  I do what I can and hope that the next day is a good one.

Unpredictable.  That's my best description of this disease.

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