Healing Parkinson’s Disease Naturally – A Journey of Love #48 … Coping with the Medication ‘on-off’ Cycle!

roller coasterI’m happy to be back blogging after a short hiatus during which my attention was mainly focused on writing my latest book [The Kid] which I am very excited about and which is still a ways from completion.

Living with the symptoms of Parkinson’s, there is never a dull moment, although, quite frankly, I wouldn’t mind a little mundane, same-old, same-old … as opposed to the constant flow of challenges that seem to come my way. Lately, these challenges have had much to do with the medication I’m taking. As Homer Simpson might say, “stupid medication!”

I started taking medication [Sinemet] in December 2018, this after experiencing the symptoms of PD for sixteen years, medication free. For the first ten months … taking five tablets a day [2 at 9 AM, 1.5 at 3 PM and 1.5 at 10 PM] … I did not experience an ‘on-off’ cycle. Then abruptly, in the first week of November last year, I suddenly started experiencing it.

I suspect the change was triggered by a very stressful week at the end of October during which I was in a constant state of worry and anxiety.

At first, the change was barely noticeable … but it was noticeable. Gradually, over time it became more noticeable and more intense, particularly during the wearing-off period. During this period, I quite often felt extremely jittery … and still do.

I take my morning dosage at 9 AM. It kicks in around 9:30 AM and lasts until between noon and 1 PM. I take my afternoon dosage at 3 PM, which kicks in around 3:30 PM and lasts until 5 PM to 6 PM. My nighttime dosage which I take at 10 PM, usually kicks in after I go to bed at 11 PM and wears off sometime during the night.

During the off times, my symptoms are considerably worse, particularly balance, freezing and stiff gate. At times I can be very unsteady on my feet. I also have much greater difficulty focusing. I can literally re-watch a movie and half of it is new to me.

In order to deal with the situation, I considered three options:

Option #1, take Sinemet more frequently [four or five times a day] at the same or an increased daily dosage. The downside of this, is that it leaves me more prone to side-effects, particularly dyskinesia, and it makes me more dependent on the meds, at a time when I’m trying to reduce my dependency [my goal is still to get off meds altogether]. It would also make eating a challenge as it is best to take the meds at least a half an hour before eating and an hour and a half after eating, particularly if the meal contains protein.

Option #2, start taking a ‘bridge’ medication [a separate medication taken during the ‘off’ periods]. The downside of this is pretty much the same as the downside of Option 1. It increases my risk of experiencing side-effects while making me more dependent on medication.

Option #3, deal with the ‘off’ periods, naturally [by meditating, exercising, practicing qigong, spending time in the forest and taking CBD oil].

I have been opposed to taking medication since receiving my diagnosis in 2008 and even though I am currently taking Sinemet, my goal is still to get off medication entirely and recover my health using a natural protocol, so Options 1 and 2 are not really viable options.

This leaves me with Option 3 … the natural approach! Of the three options, this is certainly the one I prefer, but quite frankly, at this point, I cannot say with certainty that it helps with my ‘off’ time symptoms. It seems to, but in order to quantify it, I would have to do nothing for several days, then implement my protocol for several days and see if there is a difference. What I can tell you at this point is that when I am meditating, when I’m practicing qigong, when I’m in the forest and when I’m doing certain vigorous exercises, I feel better during ‘off’ times, but the feeling only lasts while I’m doing it … which is better than nothing. It’s quite possible that doing these natural protocols is keeping things from getting worse, but again, at this point I’m not certain and not sure if I can quantify it.

For now, I’m going to focus on the bigger picture, which is to stay positive and upbeat, while doing everything I can to eliminate the fear, worry and anxiety, and dissolve the detrimental beliefs that are keeping me stuck in this health condition … which means diligently completing the elements of my daily regimen, remaining optimistic and accepting the situation. I will also cherish, appreciate and take advantage of the period of time, twice daily, when the medication is ‘on.’

Healing Parkinson’s Disease Naturally – A Journey of Love #45 … How to get a better sleep!

sleepSleep deprivation is a common aspect of living with the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease, whether you take medication, or not. The good news is that the body’s natural tendency is to shut down the fight-flight response prior to sleep in order to ensure a restful sleep. So we just need to do what we can to support this.

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Healing Parkinson’s Disease Naturally – A Journey of Love #29 … Minimizing Freezing!

reliefAs I mentioned in a recent post, freezing is one of the three most challenging symptoms for me. It occurs frequently when I’m off meds, particularly when I’m feeling anxious … in a fight or flight state. It can be particularly exhilarating when freezing and loss of balance occur simultaneously! When the medication I’m taking [Sinemet] is fully on I experience very little freezing.

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Healing Parkinson’s Disease Naturally – A Journey of Love #25 … CBD Oil Update!

marijuanaThis past February, largely at Mari’s urging. I decided to get more active and aggressive with CBD oil as part of my recovery protocol. I had tried it a couple of times previous but had some difficulty identifying the right formula for me and quantifying its effect, so I didn’t stay with it. Also, I hadn’t been able find any research or anyone who had experienced any quantifiable benefits from using CBD oil.

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Healing Parkinson’s Disease Naturally – A Journey of Love #12 … Weaning off Sinemet!

sinemetI started weaning off Sinemet almost 6 weeks ago and I’ve decided to put the weaning off process on hold for the time being. I’m doing this for two reasons. First, the last two dosage reductions have been very challenging with days of more intense symptoms and moments of anxiety and panic. Second, I have a couple of long trips coming up in the next month and a half and these tend to be rather stressful, as I have experienced, making weaning off that much more difficult.

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Healing Parkinson’s Disease Naturally – A Journey of Love #10 … Trip to Toronto!

fordLast week, Mari and I took a trip to Toronto, so she could pick up her new car [a Ford Ecosport] and we could do a little shopping and visit my children.

It is a six-hour drive and normally, leading up to it, I would be experiencing some trepidation and anxiety because I don’t respond favourably to these long trips. However, on this occasion, I was actually feeling quite excited, for two reasons. First, since going on medication and implementing a more rigourous daily regimen with more emphasis on CBD oil, breathing, meditation and Qigong, I have been feeling much better and wanted to see how the drive would affect me. Second, my middle daughter is with-child and scheduled to give birth on July 2, and I am preparing to drive down to visit my new grandchild in the event Mari is up north working.

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Healing Parkinson’s Disease Naturally – A Journey of Love #8 … I can sing again!

singingLet me state for the record, right up front, when it comes to singing, I’m no Freddy Mercury! Somebody did tell me one time that I sing like Bob Dylan, but not as good as Bob! I’m pretty sure that wasn’t meant to be a compliment!

There, that out of the way, I am thrilled to report that I can sing again! I realized recently when I decided to belt out Hasn’t Hit Me Yet by Blue Rodeo that my voice was back, pretty much 100%. And the only thing I can attribute it to, is chiropractic!

One of my favorite pasttimes up until 2013, was playing the guitar and jamming with friends. By 2013, my symptoms had progressed to the point where I had to give it up. I lacked the dexterity to fret the strings and the coordination to strum.

I have played very little since.

Whether playing by myself or jamming, I also enjoyed singing, but along the way, I also lost my voice. I couldn’t carry a tune or sing in key!

But since resuming chiropractic treatments in January, which includes the release of tension in my neck muscles, my voice has returned.  Perhaps this release of tension has freed up my vocal chords. Whatever the reason, I am excited and grateful for it!

If you have had a similar experience, please share!

Wishing you many blessings!

Healing Parkinson’s Disease Naturally – A Journey of Love #7 … How to get off meds … compounding pharmacist!

medicationAs a follow-up to my previous post about weaning off medication, I would like to thank my friend Jeff for bringing to my attention, compounding!

Compounding is the process of customizing medications based on each person’s individual needs. Compounding is how medications used to be created before big pharma got involved and began mass-production.

In this case, compounding is deemed to be a better approach to weaning off PD medications than simply reducing the number of pills we take, as it is less likely to cause side-effects or adverse reactions.

According to Robert Rodgers, author of, The Road to Recovery from Parkinson’s Disease, we would be well advised to wean off medication under the direction of a compounding pharmacist because they have more experience than doctors. They are trained in this sort of thing, whereas doctors are not. They also have more knowledge of each medication.

For more information, please check out the comment Jeff left in the “Comments” section of my post on “my experience with medication” or check out Robert Rodgers response to an inquiry about coming off Sinemet.

Healing Parkinson’s Disease Naturally – A Journey of Love #5 … My progress with medication!

self loveIt has now been more than two months since I began taking PD and anxiety medications. Presently, for PD symptoms, I am taking 600 mg of levodopa and 150 mg of carbidopa per day. I take two levodopa-carbidopa tablets three times per day. For anxiety symptoms, I am taking 50 mg of Sertraline HCL per day [1 capsule at bedtime].

I should also mention that I am taking 40 mg of CBD oil [medical marjuana] each day [20 mg twice per day in between the PD meds]. I am also doing a lot more Qigong every day and I strongly believe that this is helping [particularly the lift chi pour chi down routine].

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Healing Parkinson’s Disease Naturally – A Journey of Love #4 … I Love Chiropractic!

activatorA few weeks ago I noticed that even though I was now taking PD medication, I was experiencing worse trembling. Then I went for a chiropractic treatment … the first one since October … and I noticed an immediate improvement. The next day I went for another treatment and experienced further improvement. It reminded me of the importance of bodywork for minimizing certain symptoms, particularly trembling!

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