I’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.’