My Wish

My 46th birthday was approaching and just as we habitually change our smoke detector batteries on New Year’s, I made it a ritual that I have my yearly physical near my birthday, although there was one aspect of the visit that always made me forget my birthday. In fact, I had now been more than 3 years since my last physical. My decision to visit my GP was not planned other than the fact that he was away and I would be spared the usual rhetoric that comes from your usual physician. Now do not get me wrong, he is more than a master at his profession, I just figured I needed a visual change and some fresh air. Well fresh it was, as I entered the patient room I was soon greeted by his replacement, a recent graduate of UBC Medical School. In fact, I was her 3rd patient. Well if looks could kill. I should have died on the spot. After some discussion regarding my medical past, my focus had shifted and I soon put my first impression aside and focused on the purpose of the visit.

Having been on hypertension medication for over 30 years, it was decided [...] continue the story

Tomorrow’s joy is fostered by today’s acceptance.

Heavy duty thinking for such an early hour. Here it is 3:30 A.M; the time when I awaken…my special time. Parkinson’s has been my cunning partner since 1995 when I was 49 years old. It has changed me in so many ways least of all physically. No I can’t walk for miles, but I can dance and sing and still try to do things that others say I shouldn’t. No I am no longer an Assistant Principal, but I have brought my abilities, skill and empathy to others by sharing thoughts, a smile, a word of encouragement. No I don’t drive long distances, but I have learned how to ask for help and really appreciate it. I have always felt good about who I am but now I truly value what I have become.

I have learned to embrace the day even if it starts out crappy. I realize the importance of seeing the glass half full. NO I am not Pollyanna, but lamenting my situation could not help and would drag us all down. So I do get depressed but when I do I slap myself around mentally and straighten up my body and brain and keep on going.

I am [...] continue the story

An Astronaut’s Journey with Parkinson Disease

It seems improbable if not impossible: an astronaut with PD had not only been certified for space flight, but had also been certified to perform a planned space walk on the MIR space station. That morning, as I began the ascent into orbit to rendezvous with the MIR, I thought about my own personal journey leading up to that moment. It was as hard as any I’d ever faced, but one that I had never given up on. A journey that had begun almost two years earlier.

My second mission had been STS-59 in April 1994 and it was very successful. I felt completely fit during and after the flight. About six months later I went in for my annual flight physical. Everything, including my standard neurological exam, was satisfactory. Just as a favor, I asked the flight surgeon after the exam if I could have an orthopedic surgeon look at my right shoulder. (I played competitive racquetball and thought I might have recently injured it during a game). He asked me where it hurt and I told him it didn’t hurt at all. Rather, my right arm just seemed to hang without moving when I walked. I could tell I [...] continue the story

TEDxMaastricht – Bas Bloem – “From God to Guide”

Professor Bas Bloem ( @basbloem ) is a consultant neurologist at the Department of Neurology, Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre, the Netherlands. He received his M.D. degree (with honour) at Leiden University Medical Centre in 1993. In 1994, he obtained his PhD degree in Leiden, based on a thesis entitled “Postural reflexes in Parkinson’s disease”. He was trained as a neurologist between 1994 and 2000, also at Leiden University Medical Centre. In 2002, he founded and became Medical Director of the Parkinson Centre Nijmegen (ParC), which was recognised from 2005 onwards as centre of excellence for Parkinson’s disease. Together with Dr. Marten Munneke, he also developed ParkinsonNet, an innovative healthcare concept that now consists of 64 professional networks for Parkinson patients covering all of the Netherlands (www.parkinsonnet.nl).

Living with Parkinson’s Disease

I am not sure when Parky made me aware of his presence, it was as if he had been around for a long time but kept very quiet.

He started to cramp my style, stopped me in my tracks and made a general nuisance of himself. I would be minding my own business doing some mundane job and there he was a real pain in the bum.

What does he do? Well if I am trying to open a bag he holds my fingers, if I am trying to dance he thinks it’s fun to make my shoes so heavy that I look such an idiot and also feel like one. He holds my neck in a vice like grip so that I feel like a robot, probably look and sound like one as well.

Sometimes I think I have left him behind me but I can’t fool him, he just lets me know that he is happy to stay with me forever.

I suppose in some ways I have got used to having him around, I like to think I can get one over him on occasions. I decorated the hall and just nipped off to bed for a nap when he called.

So [...] continue the story