In my last post, I talked about minimizing trembling. One of the techniques I discussed, is focusing on my breath while consciously relaxing every muscle in my body. In other words, using present moment awareness.
My, how quickly my walking has improved!
Last week, I told you about the challenges I was experiencing, walking. I have been walking on a gravel road and had gotten to the point where I was shuffle-walking pretty badly, particularly when I tried multitasking while walking [thinking about stuff, practicing qigong or bostaff techniques, or just observing my surroundings]. I was starting to not enjoy walking!
Okay, I’m going to do my best to explain this loss of balance phenomenon and how to correct it. It is the most challenging aspect of the neurological condition I’m experiencing and I’m certain I now understand it.
One of the more challenging aspects of my experience with a neurological condition is freezing. Freezing happens when I am unable to move my feet, usually from a standing position. It typically occurs at the most inopportune time, like when I’m losing my balance. I have hurtled headlong into more than one wall because of it.
In those first few moments when I awaken in the morning it feels as though my body is normal. There is no loss of mobility, no loss of balance, no shuffle walking and no tremoring. According to Robert Rodgers in his book, Road to Recovery from Parkinson’s Disease, this happens because of the body’s built-in mechanism to shut down the fight-flight response [the root cause of the symptoms] before, during and after sleep, so that it can get sufficient rest. This explanation makes perfect sense to me and the period of calm is a welcome respite.
Lately I have been feeling a lot of muscle tension, particularly in my shoulders, back, arms, neck and throat [muscle tension is common with PD]. At times it can be very intense, so much so that I have to stop doing what I’m doing and take steps to relieve it. The tension is particularly bad when I’m preparing meals, taking my supplements, doing dishes and frequently when I’m sitting at the computer [anything that involves fine motor skills].
I really enjoy lying in bed first thing in the morning. It is my sanctuary time. The time of day when there is no trembling, no shuffle walking, no dealing with loss of balance and no issues with loss of mobility and dexterity [no struggling with small tasks like doing up zippers]. Although I’m finding it more difficult to lay comfortably, it is still a time of relative peace … and I love it!
Of all the symptoms that collectively make up the condition called Parkinson’s the one that concerns me the most is constriction of the throat. It can be downright scary when you have difficulty swallowing.
I first noticed that my throat was constricting about two years ago when I started having difficulty swallowing food. Prior to that, I had no idea this was a condition that happened with Parkinson’s.
In October, 2008, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. I had been experiencing trembling in my left arm, hand and fingers for two and a half years at that point, and as I was to discover later, other PD related symptoms for over two years before that.
The following is a chronology of the symptoms I am experiencing as best as I can recall, because in several cases, I started experiencing the symptom months before I knew it was connected to PD. I should also mention that I have been experiencing certain PD-related symptoms, sleepiness (I feel sleepy all day), anxiety (in certain situations) and irritability (what working parent doesn’t), for as long as I can remember.