I am experiencing what the medical community calls Parkinson’s Disease. I was diagnosed in 2008 and since receiving this diagnosis, I have held firm to the belief that Parkinson’s, like all health conditions, can be effectively managed and eventually, overcome, with or without the use of medication. There are, in fact, documented cases of people who have completely recovered from this supposedly incurable condition.
I experienced PD for 17 years, medication free. In December 2018, I made the decision to begin taking medication [Sinemet and Zoloft] because the symptoms I was experiencing had gotten to a point where my quality of life was significantly affected. Truth be told, I worried myself into a state of severe anxiety, panic and physical impairment. A number of factors contributed to the decline in my health which I will explain in detail later on, but essentially, it amounted to too much worry, failure to follow my own protocol, a build-up of unreleased detrimental emotional energy following Bowen Therapy and doubt in my own beliefs.
Although I am still taking medication and have not yet overcome the symptoms of PD, I would like to share with you my journey in the hopes that you too will live holistically and effectively with the condition while working towards full recovery … from Parkinson’s or any other condition you are experiencing, because the protocol I have developed has universal application.
I fully understand that the medication I am taking is only providing me with a short-term tool to manage the symptoms I experience and improve my quality of life. It is the holistic approach I have developed and practice on a daily basis that will facilitate my full recovery.
I encourage you to read this entire article, but in the event that you don’t, please know this, if you are experiencing a ‘disease,’ it can be healed. Your body’s natural tendency is to be in homeostasis [perfect balance and health], and it will do whatever it can to be in this state. It just needs help getting there. The five most important things you can do to help your body achieve homeostasis are:
- Eat healthy, natural, organic foods
- Create happiness, calm and contentment in all aspects of your life [eliminate worry/stress/fear]
- Bodywork [Chiropractic etc.]
There are many documented cases of people who have overcome life threatening illnesses doing these five things and you can too. You just need to have a good attitude and a healthy amount of discipline. You can do it! You wouldn’t be reading this article if you didn’t believe you could!
I would really appreciate knowing if this article has been helpful to you or if you didn’t find what you were looking for, so please leave a comment at the end. Please also check out my Journey with Parkinson’s posts for information on specific topics relating to Parkinson’s and health in general.
Also, I have posted, separately, my recovery protocol. It includes everything I am doing to recover my health!
In this article I will cover the following:
- My story
- My symptoms
- My healing philosophy
- My healing protocol/program
- Results to date
Before beginning my story, I would like to urge you to take Parkinson’s very seriously. I didn’t initially. Not until I started experiencing symptoms that I had no idea were connected to this condition [I thought PD just involved trembling]. Learn all you can and do all you can to slow the progression of the symptoms until your body has a chance to begin recovering. Knowledge and a positive attitude are your best weapons, so keep researching and keep smiling.
Also, please know that you do not have to take medication. I have been experiencing symptoms since 2003 and until December of 2018, had never taken medication. I have discovered many natural ways of dealing with the symptoms I experience and I cover this in the article I posted on my recovery protocol [see the link above].
Good luck and Godspeed on your journey!
In 2006, the index finger of my left hand suddenly started to tremble. It happened one night while I was teaching karate…which still puzzles me because I loved teaching karate! Over the next few months the trembling progressed to my hand and arm, but still only occurred at karate. Then eventually my arm and hand began trembling outside of karate as well. Two and a half years later, in October 2008, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s (PD).
When I received the diagnosis, I learned that the first symptoms actually started in 2003 when I began experiencing a loss of control in my left leg and foot while long distance running. This condition came and went during my runs, but got progressively worse, forcing me to give up running in 2007. I then took up cycling, but it wasn’t long before I started experiencing the same thing. I still ride my bike, but mainly for short, pleasure rides.
Actually, my health issues (headaches, food sensitivities and brain fog) started way back in 1976 when I was in university, At the time, I was drinking excessively, eating poorly and in a state of extreme stress. It was also not long after two severe head injuries and several very emotionally traumatic experiences. I believe this combination of things messed up my brain chemistry, triggering my health issues at that time and set me on a course to eventually develop Parkinson’s.
Over the next 17 years, the headaches, food sensitivities and brain fog got progressively worse, to the point where in 1993 I was getting three to four migraine headaches a week and could only eat brown rice, steamed chicken and fish and vegetables because I was sensitive to everything else.
This heightened sensitivity to various foods got really bad shortly after a 1990 car crash in which we were rear-ended by a vehicle doing over 80 kilometers an hour. The crash left me with an intense headache and severe whiplash. Shortly after the crash I had a bad reaction to chocolate cake (I was sick for three days), after which I started reacting to just about everything!
It seems likely that physical trauma from the crash also played a role in the eventual onset of PD.
In 1993, in an effort to restore my health, I started doing massage therapy, which then led me to One Brain Therapy. The focus of OBT is healing the emotional pain at the root of an illness and over the next several years I was able to overcome the headaches and get the food sensitivities mostly under control.
Then in 2002, four years prior to the initial trembling, I realized that I had lost my sense of taste and smell (which is common with PD). This realization came to me one spring day when I was doing my annual post-winter doggy-doo clean up in the backyard. I couldn’t smell the doggy-doo. It occurred to me then that I couldn’t taste anything either, but the loss of taste and smell happened so gradually that I hadn’t noticed the change.
In the 12 months leading up to the onset of the trembling I had three significant stressful experiences. I was downsized from the company I had worked with for 23 years (although I was happy to leave), I had the most stressful year of my life coaching hockey and my marriage of 25 years ended. I mention these because I suspect they helped trigger the condition, particularly as it relates to the unhappiness I felt in the last few years of my job and marriage.
I should also mention, that in the years leading up to the onset of the symptoms I experience, I was long-distance running, training and teaching karate, playing the guitar [all of which I love] and receiving regular massage therapy treatments. In other words, doing these things [things that I love] wasn’t enough to offset the other factors that lead to my developing symptoms.
At the clinic where I was diagnosed, I was told that PD is a progressive, degenerative condition of the central nervous system that it is thought to be the result of a deficiency of the neurotransmitter, dopamine, which is produced in the dopaminergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of the midbrain, the substantia nigra and the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus. The dopamine deficiency is thought to be the result of genetics, heavy metal toxins, dietary deficiencies and/or trauma to the body, but it seems medical science is uncertain about the exact cause.
PD typically occurs in people over the age of 60 and I was on the young side, because I was under 50 when the first symptoms started. The type I have is where trembling occurs when the muscles are inactive. I was told that there was no known cure for PD and the only way to manage the condition and minimize the trembling was through medication. I was also told that exercise and meditation had proven effective in slowing its progress.
I informed the neurologist at the clinic that I was opposed to using medications of any sort, so that wasn’t an option. On the other hand, I am a martial arts instructor and my weekly exercise routine far exceeded anything the clinic had to offer, so that was good news.
As a result of my positive experience with OBT (I believe that a contributing factor to the root cause of all physical disease is unresolved emotional pain) I informed the neurologist that that was what I wanted to focus on. I told him that I intended to heal the condition. He reluctantly agreed to my approach and asked me to come back to the clinic every six months so he could monitor my progress.
Over the next two years I exercised, meditated and healed emotional woundings connected to the trembling, but the trembling steadily progressed to the point where in 2010, my left arm and hand were trembling constantly and my right wrist had started trembling as well. What is more, my balance went haywire and I started losing strength and control in my left arm, hand and fingers to the point where I started having difficulty playing the guitar. Clearly, something was missing.
In the spring of 2010, I was referred to a Body Stress Relief (BSR) therapist in Newmarket, Ontario. BSR, developed by two South African chiropractors, essentially uses a process of pressure points along the spine to relieve muscle tension in the back thereby allowing nerve impulses to flow more freely.
Over the next few months, through bi-weekly BSR treatments, the trembling in my arms diminished by about two-thirds, which was quite significant, and that’s basically where it has remained.
Then in 2011, I read two books that renewed my belief that I could recover my health naturally. The first was called, A Scientific Approach to Integrative Medicine, by Leonard Wisneski & Lucy Anderson, and the second was The Healing Code, by Alex Lloyd and Ben Johnson. Through these books I learned three important things.
First, I learned that all of our internal systems are interconnected. The central nervous system, endocrine system, immune system and digestive system all operate interactively and all produce the same or complimentary neurotransmitters and hormones. Therefore, if one system is in a state of disorder, the rest are affected.
Second, I learned that the body’s state of health is largely affected by the state of the immune system. If the immune system[IS] is functioning properly, the body doesn’t get sick.
Third, I learned that approximately 80% of the immune system is situated in the gastrointestinal tract in the form of Immunoglobulin A, and therefore, it is compromised by an unhealthy diet. And so, I decided that if I wanted to heal myself, I needed to purify my diet in order to heal my gut and strengthen my IS.
This information also helped me understand why emotional healing and BSR hadn’t healed the trembling. Clearly, in order for me to have become unwell in the first place, my IS had to have broken down (likely back in university when I first started developing health issues) and therefore, part of the recovery process had to involve restoring it. But this wasn’t going to happen without purifying my diet and healing my gut.
My diet was already very good, but based on what I had learned from these two books, in January of 2012 I eliminated alcohol, sugar, wheat, dairy, corn and processed foods, and added coconut oil, cloves, garlic, tumeric, cinnamon, avocado and cashews to my diet. I also found out that Vit D deficiency is thought to play a role in many diseases, including PD, so I started taking a Vit D3 supplement…8,000 IUs per day.
Within three weeks of implementing this new diet, I started to smell things…garlic, coffee (which I don’t drink), etc, and I began tasting things as well … now how awesome is that … so I knew I was on the right track?
Then in the spring, I altered my diet by reducing the amount of carbs I was eating and increasing the amount of fat. Of course, the type of fats I’m referring to are the healthy unsaturated fats and omega-3s, not saturated trans-fats and omega-6s. This meant more free-run eggs, organic meat, wild fish, organic avocado, coconut & olive oil and nuts & seeds. It also meant less rice, which was where I was getting a lot of my carbs.
Energetically speaking, my sense is that fat is a more calming food, which I think is particularly important in healing neurological disorders, especially, considering the brain is mostly comprised of fat. Fat also includes cholesterol which I discovered is also essential for brain health.
I also started grounding… walking in bare feet or sitting with bare feet on the ground … having recently read about the healing potential of this very natural activity. When your bare feet are in direct contact with the ground, free electrons from the earth transfer into your body via the soles of your feet. These free electrons are incredibly powerful antioxidants. Studies have shown that free electrons from the earth can cause beneficial changes in heart rate, decrease inflammation, reduce pain, promote healthy sleep and thin the blood.
Parkinson’s, like many diseases, is inflammatory. In this case, the key inflammation to address is in the brain. This is actually quite comforting to me, because it suggests that I must have a brain … a question I was constantly asked growing up!
The idea that grounding has health benefits makes perfect sense to me because last summer, I noticed that my arms didn’t tremble when I was on, in or near water. I believe Mother Earth, being an energetic being, has tremendous healing potential and so being in direct contact with it’s basic elements must be beneficial. It’s also worth noting that in her book, Why Suffer, Ann Wigmore, founder of the Hippocrates Health Institute, recalls how her grandmother would treat patients by having them lie on the ground for hours at a time.
Grounding also lets me feel like a kid!
As an aside, I discovered a couple of years ago that my arms don’t tremble when I’m laying on my back. This was also a marvelous discovery for me, because now I can lie around without feeling guilty.
In the summer of 2012, I started taking Vit B12 and krill oil, and in the fall, I added Vit C and Royal Jelly. I also eliminated non-organic avocado and dandelions because they were making me feel ill.
Because of the worsening loss of balance I was experiencing, I didn’t ride my motorcycle in 2012 and I sold it in 2013.
In the early part of 2013, I started experiencing light-headedness and dizziness, particularly when standing up. This is caused by low blood pressure, also a common characteristic of PD.
Despite my healthier diet, BSR treatments, emotional healing, grounding and exercise routine, my symptoms (particularly the loss of balance and loss of dexterity in my left hand) continued to get worse throughout 2012/13 to the point where by the summer of 2013, I could no longer type on the keyboard or fret the strings in order to play my guitar.
Then in September of 2013, I learned about Dr. Robert Morse, a naturopath from Florida and his approach to healing, particularly as it relates to the role of the lymphatic system in the development of disease and the need to detox the lymph system and eliminate inflammation. I was also reminded of the need to alkaline the body. Dr Morse’s detox healing protocol involves primarily a fruit diet (he claims that watermelon and grapes in particular, are great detoxifiers) with certain herbs.
I tried the fruit diet for six weeks, but lost a lot of weight (I was already quite thin) and I was hungry and cold all the time. I also felt terrible which I attributed to detoxing, [but discovered later was due to the high sugar content messing me up], so I switched to a Ketogenic Diet (high fat, low carbs & protein) in order to hopefully accomplish the same thing (detoxify the body and heal the brain), but in a less radical manner … and put on some weight.
My plan was to stay on the Keto Diet until June ’14 and if I didn’t experience any results, revert back to the fruit diet.
In December ’13, I learned about a couple people [Americans Howard Shifke and Bianca Molle] who overcame PD primarily through the practice of Qigong, an exercise program intended to strengthen your ‘chi,’ (life force energy) which is essential for healing. I had dabbled in Qigong for a few years and start doing it more vigorously, although, I have to admit, I wasn’t convinced that it was the primary protocol for me, nor did I feel that I could dedicate two to three hours of Qigong practice a day like they had. Oh, if I had only known then what I know now.
The primary emotional pain I had been resolving for the previous two years, was anger. I have been loaded with anger much of my life and I believe it has a lot to do with why I developed PD (Deepak Chopra says anger is an inflammatory emotion … PD is an inflammatory condition). In January ’14, I had an insight that the anger I was feeling had to do with growing up feeling like a coward, so I focused my emotional healing efforts on this.
Delving into such intense emotions as those related to cowardice may have been an ominous foreshadowing of what was to come in 2014 because the year turned out to be an intense roller-coaster ride of emotions, symptoms, learning’s and spiritual growth.
In January, February and March I continued to do a lot of healing around various issues related to anger, believing that once I resolved all the anger I was holding onto I would begin to recover. In January, I also transitioned from the ketogenic diet [although it wasn’t a strict ketogenic diet] to more of a fruit-fat diet. I did so because I found the Keto diet to far too bland. After the switch, I continued to feel unwell [foggy, jittery, irritable and anxious], which I attributed to the effects of detoxification. [I was to learn later that it was actually the sugar in fruit that was causing me to feel this way. I will explain this in more detail later on.]
In February, I learned that being cold is really bad for my symptoms. I was downhill skiing and towards the end of the day I got very cold and could barely make my way down the hill on the last run. It was like I had no control over my body. I was trembling like crazy and had very impaired mobility. It was actually rather scary!
On a positive note, that same month, I discovered speech recognition software. At the time, I was having great difficulty typing, so this was a godsend [although I have to admit, sometimes using speech recognition software can be incredibly frustrating … sometimes I want to strangle my computer … oops, there’s that anger again]!
Despite everything I was doing [releasing anger, eating mostly organic, natural healthy foods, exercising and trying to stay positive] my symptoms continued to worsen. I was losing mobility, feeling more constriction in my throat and losing control and dexterity in my left hand. I was beginning to develop feelings of helplessness. Then on March 27, my life took a dramatic turn for the worse when I had a panic attack for the first time. I was in the middle of my daily stretching routine, having difficulty transitioning from one stretch to another, when I had the thought, “What if I become completely immobile.” That set off a wave of panic like I’ve never experienced in my life. I had to get up and go look out the window. After focusing on my breath for a few minutes the panic subsided. A week later I had another panic attack at bedtime. The following day, I felt anxious all day, although not panicky. Then on Friday April 4, I had an all day panic attack. It was the most difficult day of my life, but thanks to Mari, Facebook and Dr. Morse, the naturopathic doctor from Florida, I was able to get through it. At one point, I considered asking Mari to take me to the hospital, but the thought of that scared me even more, so I started repeating one of my healing prayers and it helped me calm down.
Mari gave me Valerian Root [a natural calming herbal remedy] as well as a vitamin B/C supplement which helped enormously. Dr. Morse told me that adrenal fatigue is at the root of anxiety and panic, and suggested that I get an adrenal support supplement. I also took some Rescue Remedy [a Bach flower essence] which a Facebook friend reminded me about.
The next day, still feeling quite anxious, I went to a health food store and bought AOR Ortho Adapt Vegan, an adrenal support. I started to feel better after taking this supplement. Then the next day, I went to another Health Food store and bought Natural Factors Stress Relax Remedy Formula and within 15 minutes of taking it I felt much better. I also bought a Magnesium supplement to help against stress and constipation, and I continue to take it today.
A few days later, I spoke to an acquaintance who had experienced many panic attacks in her life and she explained that anxiety and panic are just fear wanting to leave the body. This was when I realized that fear is at the root of Parkinson’s. I came to this conclusion, because I realized that when you’re in a state of constant fear [a constant state of fight-flight], eventually it messes up your neurochemistry. In the fight-flight-freeze state the body releases adrenalin and cortisol while suppressing dopamine and seratonin. In this state long enough, we begin to experience the symptoms of PD.
The day after speaking with this acquaintance, I went to see my neurologist. I made the appointment because of the panic attacks and because I was extremely concerned about the constriction in my throat. I was afraid that I was eventually going to require feeding tubes in order to eat. This was actually the primary fear that was at the root of the panic attacks I had experienced. The neurologist assured me that I would not have to use feeding tubes, which gave me enormous relief.
A few days after this, I had an insight: fear is not real [at least the fear I was feeling]. Fear is just our thoughts and if we can create fear with our thoughts, then we can uncreate it. This eliminated the panic attacks for the time being.
People ask me what it’s like to have a panic attack. For me, it felt like I was losing my mind. It is the scariest experience imaginable because when you’re in the middle of it, you feel like there is no way out. You feel helpless! Since gaining a better understanding of the role of fear and addressing my weak adrenal glands I have been feeling much better.
For the past two years I had been focusing on letting go of anger, thinking that once I got to the bottom of it, I would begin to recover. Little did I know, that it was simply meant to get me to what was really at the root of Parkinson’s, and that is fear. So letting go of fear became my new focus.
Through this experience, I also gained a new perspective on what Parkinson’s really is. I don’t think it is so much a disease, but rather a neurological condition [a neurotransmitter imbalance involving far more than just dopamine] caused by the body being in a constant state of fear, a constant state of stress.
The notion that fear is at the root of the condition I’m experiencing makes sense to me because I was raised in a culture of fear, and growing up, I lived in constant fear. I was afraid of getting into trouble. I was afraid of getting spanked. I was afraid of being beaten up. I was afraid of disappointing my father. I was afraid of being yelled at. I was afraid nobody would like me. I was afraid of being embarrassed. I was afraid of being alone. And so on. Mostly, I was afraid that people would find out how scared I was.
I continue to live in a great deal of fear even today as of this writing. I’m afraid of what people think of me. I’m afraid of being without money. I’m afraid of failure. I am afraid of not getting a good night’s sleep. I am afraid of rejection. And so on! And I can see how this puts me in a constant state of stress and how it continues to affect my neurology.
In May and June, three things happened [aside from learning about fear] that changed the way I was feeling and more importantly, my outlook towards my condition. First, I learned about John Coleman, a naturopath from Australia who completely recovered from Parkinson’s doing pretty much the same thing I was doing. Secondly, I learned about muscle memory, and thirdly, I stopped eating fruit and adopted a strict ketogenic diet.
Not only did I learn about John Coleman and his book, Stop Parkin’ and Start Livin’ [which I’ve read], I also learned about Robert Rodgers’ book, Road to Recovery from Parkinson’s Disease. Rodgers profiles a number of people, including John Coleman and Howard Shifke [who I had learned about a few months earlier] who have recovered from Parkinson’s. More importantly, Rodgers book explains the physiology behind how fear affects the body. It does so, by causing the body to be a state of chronic stress [fight or flight], which means that it [especially the adrenal glands] is constantly producing stress hormones and neurotransmitters, such as adrenaline and cortisol, while the part of the brain that produces feel good neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, shuts down. For me, this made perfect sense. [this theory is corroborated by the website pdrecovery.org.]
Up until this point, I believed that I could recover from Parkinson’s, but I had no proof that it was possible. Now I had proof! What is more, Rodgers’ and Coleman’s approach to healing was identical to mine. This was a huge boost to my confidence.
Around the same time, I had a chance conversation with an acquaintance who told me about an interview she had seen with Michael J Fox where he spoke about muscle memory. Fox said that when he was playing hockey, he had no Parkinson’s symptoms. The hockey season was over at the time, so I decided to give baseball a try, since I used to play it as well. I grabbed my old baseball glove and a rubber ball and went across the street to a local school where I began bouncing the ball off the wall and catching it like I was shagging grounders. To my amazement, I was able to do it as if I was normal. This boosted my confidence enormously, particularly after I also learned about neural pathways [more on this later].
In May, at Mari’s urging, I stopped eating fruits and adopted a dedicated ketogenic diet [high fat, low carb]. I immediately felt better and after a little bit of experimentation, came to the conclusion that fruit [and its high sugar content] was bad for my neurological condition [this is because cortisol is an insulin suppressor which means sugar isn’t metabolized or digested properly]. When I ate even a small amount of fruit, it really messed me up! Before, as I mentioned earlier, I thought I was feeling poorly because I was detoxing. So much for that theory!
Around this time, I also discovered that if I count while walking and focus my attention on each step, I don’t shuffle walk. I can’t explain how it works, but it does and it makes walking more enjoyable!
Then towards the end of June, while driving home one night after teaching karate, I noticed that I was driving better. At first I was wasn’t sure if I was just imagining it, but over the next few days, I realized that I was in fact driving better and was feeling better overall. There was a general improvement in the symptoms I was experiencing. I was very excited!
In July, Mari and I took a trip to Estonia [Mari is a native Estonian]. Prior to the trip, I had been feeling some apprehension about two things: whether I would be able to handle the trip [given my recent experience with panic attacks], and how painful the landings would be for my inner ears. In September of the previous year, I had driven out west with my son, then flew back to Toronto. The landing proved to be very painful on my inner ears. I’ve had bad sinuses for years and it has always affected me during landings, but I learned to overcome it by blowing my nose. Since developing Parkinson’s, I’ve not been able to blow my nose properly, so the landing on my arrival in Toronto was very painful. Hence my apprehension about the trip to Estonia, where I would have to endure four landings.
The trip turned out to be fine. I had no issues with anxiety and only the first landing was painful. The rest were manageable.
However, the day we left Estonia was a difficult one for different reasons. I woke up that morning with the worst case of acid reflux in my life and the worse case of diarrhea I’ve ever experienced. The trip home was very uncomfortable and this gastrointestinal condition lasted four days. Not pleasant! But after it was over, there was a marked improvement in my symptoms to the point where I could type almost normally and I could play the guitar again. I was amazed!
This improved state of health only lasted a few days before my symptoms started worsening again, which I attributed to returning to my regular life of stress [and fear].
I had many amazing moments on my trip to Estonia including a trip to an ashram. At the ashram [a spiritual retreat], I had an insight that I need to let go of victimhood and I need to be more forgiving.
Prior to leaving for Estonia, I had decided to write a series of blogs when I returned home about how to recover from Parkinson’s. Even though I hadn’t fully recovered, I felt it was the right thing to do, because I was certain that I knew what needed to be done and I didn’t want to wait. I figured the sooner I told people the sooner they could begin to recover themselves. The sudden improvement in my symptoms upon returning from our trip and the subsequent reversal, didn’t deter me. I still felt like I was on the right track and wanted people to know. If you would like to check these blogs out, go to the “How to recover from Parkinson’s” menu on this blog.
Between July and December, I continued to focus on the things I believed I needed to do in order to recover. Namely:
- Having a good attitude
- Reducing [and ideally, eliminating] stress
- Letting go of emotional pain [particularly fear and anger]
- Eating healthy foods [sticking to the ketogenic diet]
- Exercising [walking, karate, Qigong and movement exercises]
- Bodywork [body stress relief]
- Strengthening the adrenal glands [with supplements]
- Spiritual practice [living in conscious presence]
During this period, I was reading A New Earth, by Eckhart Tolle [the most important book ever written in my estimation] and between the book, my visits to a labyrinth and divine epiphanies, I received many insights. The first was that I didn’t need to let go of anger and fear because it is not me holding onto it. Rather, it is ego, or my egoic mind, as Tolle describes it. The second is that I don’t need to dissolve ego in order to let go of fear and anger. I just need to be aware of it and remind myself when I’m in negative thoughts or feeling anger and fear that it is just ego creating it. It’s not real. I also had an insight that anger comes from having a victim mentality, reminding me that I need to let go of victimhood, also through awareness.
In October, I moved to a quiet, lake front boathouse apartment with a labyrinth up the street. My own private ashram! It is very peaceful and I believe, meant to expedite my healing.
Then in December, two more significant things happened. First, I found out about Shawn Achor. He has written four books about happiness and has a very simple five step process to bring more happiness into your life and therefore, less stress. The five steps include, practicing gratitude, journaling positive events, exercise, meditation and committing random acts of kindness. Happiness, according to Achor, is the key to dissolving fear and his five step process is intended to rewire the brain by creating new neural pathways.
The second thing that happened, was a skype conversation with Bianca Molle, the American women who fully recovered from PD through a very intense [3 hours a day] Qigong practice. After speaking with Bianca, I now have a better understanding and fuller appreciation of the benefits of Qigong, and as a result, I have significantly increased the amount of time practicing it each day [as much as I can, basically].
Although I had many amazing insights during this period, I also experienced a continual worsening [albeit slight] of my symptoms. I wasn’t alarmed or discouraged because I’m still doing much better than I was at the time of the panic attacks and I am convinced that I’m doing the right thing and I’m on the right path. As American pastor, Joel Osteen said, God wants me to be healthy in order to fulfill my destiny!
January 2015 was a fascinating month as I experienced a combination of intense, fear-based symptoms and more learning’s and insights. The intense symptoms were connected to working through more fear and unresolved emotional issues. It was rather intense and relentless, and I have to admit it got to me from time to time. On the other hand, it was another amazing learning month, beginning with Joe Dispensa, the American neuroscientist and chiropractor whose TED Talks presentation on the creation of new neural pathways was extremely important in my understanding of how to use positive thought and positive feelings to create positive beliefs and help dissolve faulty beliefs. I was also reacquainted with spiritual catalyst Teal Swan who teaches about rethinking past experiences and looking at them objectively, considering all experiences to be a success, because they are opportunities to learn. She has many very good videos on youtube.
I also had other amazing insights, the most significant of which was that one of my primary fears is the fear of feeling, anything, because of all of the traumatic experiences I’ve had in the past. I guess I found it easier just to simply shut down and not feel anything!
My journey to recover my health hit warp speed in February. It was another remarkable month of intense symptoms and exciting insights, with each round of symptoms and insights bringing me closer to the final breakthrough when recovery begins. It started with my quest to discover the ‘magic bullet’ for dissolving unresolved emotional pain [acceptance of all unpleasant experiences as part of the flow of life and a necessary part of spiritual growth], which then led to discovering the ‘magic bullet’ for dissolving fear [let fear be our guide to love … so there is actually nothing to dissolve], which then led to discovering the final destination and ‘magic bullet’ [enacting self love!].
March was mostly a month of experiencing symptoms related to fear and anger, quite intense at times, triggered by my dad’s health crisis [he had a heart attack followed by the beginnings of sudden onset dementia] that led to some important insights towards the end of the month, namely, that I needed to experience intense fear in my life in order for me to truly understand love, and that my parents made a sacrifice on a soul level of living their lives in fear, again, in order for me to understand love and empowerment. Clearly, it seems my journey with this neurological condition is about understanding love through experiencing fear.
In April and May, I continued to wrestle with fear. experiencing intense fear-triggered symptoms on almost a daily basis, affecting me physically and mentally. The most pronounced symptoms were loss of balance, impaired mobility, shuffle walk and raspy voice. I also continued to experience the bizarre noose-like feeling around my throat [the sign that I am in the throes of fear]. At the same time, I continued to receive important insights, mostly at the labyrinth, reaffirming my conviction that this is as much a spiritual journey for me as it is one of recovering my health. Perhaps the most important insight was that as long as I spend time in thought, I will continue to be sabotaged by ego and I will continue to find myself in negative, fear-creating thought, and the best solution is to meditate and practice living in the present moment. Another important insight had to do with discovering that detrimental beliefs [particularly the belief that I am bad and that I deserve to suffer and be punished] are sabotaging my healing efforts. I have been using my healing prayer* to dissolve this belief. Many times over the past two months I thought I was losing ground, but then I would wake up feeling better and my confidence would be restored.
* Healing prayer: Thank you spirit and higher self for severing and dissolving the synapses and neural pathways, neutralizing the energetic frequency, healing and releasing from my body and my being, all of the detrimental thoughts that need to be healed and released in order for me to overcome belief that I’m bad and that I need to be punished and suffer, and I thank you for this healing and I thank you for increasing effectiveness of this healing by 100 times or more.
If you’re not familiar with the practice of living in the present moment, I highly recommend reading Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now and A New Earth. They have been a godsend for me!
June and July could best be described as a period of intense turmoil! Because of a number of things going on in my life, like preparing for and running our year-end karate tournament, I experienced significant stress, powerful fear on a daily basis and more intense symptoms. I also started experiencing significant physical and mental fatigue and more severe symptoms for a day or two after driving trips of an hour or more, I attribute this to the stress of driving while in a state of chronic fear. Walking and practicing Qigong helped me feel better. On a positive note, I received great inspiration from three Joel Osteen sermons, all having to do with coming out of protracted hardship through faith and trust in God. I am also grateful for the knowledge that the severe symptoms I was experiencing was the result of growing fear, and not the progression of “the disease.” It seems that the closer I’m getting to completely dissolving fear, the more intense it gets. It’s like the tension from stretching and stretching a rubber band just before it is released. It is fascinating to go through it! Having said that, at Mari’s urging, I have decided that I’m going to need help in getting to the root of and overcoming the fear I’m experiencing, so I’m going to pursue NLP [neuro linguistic programming] and hypnosis in order to reprogram the detrimental subconscious beliefs that are at the root of the fear. I will let you know how I make out.
August, September and October was a time of transition, where my focus switched from dissolving fear to actualizing my innate spiritual consciousness. I continued to experience intense fear, related to detrimental beliefs pretty much on a daily basis, but I realized that continuing to focus my intention on dissolving fear was akin to a dog chasing its tail…it is a never-ending endeavour. It came to me, that I would be better served and likely more successful in dissolving fear by actually stepping into it, in order to put me in charge and take the fear out of the fear [much like a sailor directing his boat in a raging storm].
I also came to the realization that calming the mind is perhaps the single most important thing that is needed for healing to take place. Also, that I need to retrain my mind because I was raised in an environment where we were taught to see only what was wrong with everything, not what was right. We were taught to be critical, especially of ourselves.
Also during this period, I experienced firsthand, on several occasions, the direct and immediate impact of stress on my symptoms.
All of these experiences served to collectively remind me of the whole purpose of why I am experiencing this neurological condition, which is to let go of fear and actualize spiritual consciousness. So I started doing more meditating [I’m still practicing qigong, but not quite as much]. I also created a list of all the things I wish I had been told as a child relating to spiritual consciousness and I started reciting the list as part of my daily routine. I also made up a list of the things I like about myself and started reciting this list as well. I also started watching a lot more comedy on Youtube, especially The Rick Mercer Report and old episodes of Leave It To Beaver and Mary Tyler Moore.
Finally, I came to the conclusion that the ideal way for anyone to recover their health, regardless of the condition, is to get away from the world, go to a sanctuary, a Buddhist temple, whatever. So long as you can find solitude and a peaceful place to calm the mind.
The period from November 2015 to March 2016 was very similar to the prior three months and could best be described as like being in a wrestling match on a roller-coaster. Every day I found myself overcome with fear, characterized by tension in my wrists and hands, a noose like feeling around my throat, a raspy voice and severe loss of balance. The fear was caused by situations and thoughts triggering detrimental unconscious beliefs and they were relentless. But these daily challenges guided me to several spiritual insights, although for each step forward spiritually it seemed like I took a step backwards physically.
Much of what I was experiencing was trepidation and uncertainty due to my decision to sell my karate club, retire from teaching karate and move to Manitoulin Island. I decided to retire and move in order to create a more peaceful existence for myself, one in which I could focus on recovering my health. My biggest concern was how I was going to support myself until age 65 when I planned to begin collecting my pension. I was also dealing with my father’s deteriorating health due to dementia.
The most significant insight I experienced I would describe as realizing that I’m the ‘conscious observer’ [we all are]. By this I mean, that we are not ‘just’ our bodies, nor are we ‘just’ our thoughts, nor are we ‘just’ the emotions we’re feeling. Rather, we are divine spiritual beings living in oneness with all that is. We are the conscious observers of our experience.
I also gained clarity on the essence of living in the present moment and the need to make each present moment as tranquil and joyful as possible, because the energy of the present moment influences each subsequent present moment, just like a pebble dropped into a pond creates a ripple that flows outward affecting the water as it goes.
During this time, I started reading the book, ‘the brain’s way of healing,’ by Norman Doidge. The book describes various ways in which the brain can be repatterned [healed] using various techniques. Chapter 2 profiles South African, John Pepper who has found a way to neutralize his symptoms from parkinson’s through an exercise program that mainly focuses on conscious walking.
Also during this time, blog reader, David Thompson, from London England, announced that he’d been declared symptom free. You can read about it in a guest blog David wrote.
In November, I tried L – dopa [mucana puriens] without success. In fact, it had an adverse affect on me. What made matters worse, is that I bought the product online from Worldwide Nutrition Supplements and the company triple charged me and refused to reimburse me..
Finally, I posted a blog outlining my ideal daily recovery protocol.
The challenges and insights I experienced during this period of time reaffirmed that this journey I am on is as much, if not more, a spiritual journey as it is an effort to recover my health. What is more, it reaffirmed my belief that it is the purging of fear that is at the root of the intensification of the symptoms I’m experiencing and not the progression of the ‘disease’ per se. Furthermore, the fear is being purged [literally forced out] because I am embracing spiritual consciousness and enacting my innate self love.
April 2016 was the most challenging month to date on this journey with a neurological condition. In addition to dealing with my father’s deteriorating health, I was also preparing to retire, sell my karate club, move to Manitoulin Island and figure out how I was going to support myself until I turn 65 and start collecting my pension. It all came to a head in the last week of the month when my father passed on, I said my goodbyes at the karate club [which included a surprise ceremony attended by over 200 people, which both overwhelmed me and blew me away], inked the deal to sell the karate club, packed up my belongings and headed north to Manitoulin [not before attending a family wake in honor of my father]. By the time we completed the 9 hour trek to my new home, I was exhausted and my symptoms were going through the roof. I started to feel better around the 12th of May and the intensity of my symptoms increased and decreased throughout the month, mostly depending on what I was thinking about [I wasn’t quite in the retirement mode yet].
The spiritual lesson for me throughout this process was about acceptance, trust and faith [acceptance of the uncertainty of the situation, trust that everything was unfolding the way it was meant to and faith that no matter how it turned out I would be okay] and while I knew this, I continually found myself thinking and worrying about everything I had to do and whether I would in fact be okay. In the end, everything did work out and I was able to head north knowing everything was just fine.
By the end of the May, I was settling in comfortably, working on projects around the house, exercising, spending time in quiet solitude, blogging and reviewing The History Teacher 2.0 [my second book which I decided to self-publish for release by the end of the year].
In June, I decided [due to Mari’s insistence] to go back on a strict ketogenic diet for the next three months to see how I feel and to see if it helps improve the symptoms I’m experiencing.
Overall, June and July were very challenging months. I was feeling a lot of fear, and consequently, more intense symptoms. The fear was triggered by two things: first, my decision to publish my second book. It seemed to trigger a lot of unconscious fears around failure, nonacceptance, inadequacy and unworthiness [it seems I believe, unconsciously, that I don’t deserve success]. Second, I was starting to feel a lot of trepidation around being by myself during the winter [dealing with the wood fire, the snow, the waterline and the isolation]. In other words, I was getting way ahead of myself. I wasn’t living in the present moment and I certainly wasn’t being spiritually conscious. This inspired me to write a couple of blogs around fear, which reminded me about the truth of fear [that it’s just a feeling created by a thought triggering an unconscious detrimental belief].
I also started doing inner child healing [because the reality is, it’s not really the conscious adult me who is scared. Rather, it is the little boy inside me … the subconscious me]. I found these inner child healings to be very helpful and by early August, I was starting to feel better [and not so scared of being scared].
To do an inner child healing is quite straightforward. Whenever I find myself in a state of fear, I sit down, close my eyes and call forth the little boy inside of me who is feeling scared. I ask him what he is so scared of. Then I remind him that whatever it is he believes that is causing him to feel so scared, he doesn’t have to believe anymore, because it’s not true. Just like I no longer believe that Santa Claus is real, I can also choose not to believe in whatever is scaring me. I don’t have to be afraid of failure. I don’t have to be afraid of being alone. I remind myself, that I just have to do my best and trust that no matter what happens, I’ll be OK. I also remind myself that whatever challenge I’m facing there’s always, always a solution!
In August, after reading You Are the Placebo, by Joe Dispenza, and The Brain’s Way of Healing, by Norman Doidge [two excellent books for anyone experiencing a neurological condition] my focus shifted to remapping my brain by retraining my body, particularly as it relates to restoring my balance and walking normally. The objective is to restore the body’s ability to function normally. It requires disciplined focus, but I believe it is possible.
I also continued to experience and receive insights relating to fear, particularly the understanding that health challenges and death [which is something I have always been afraid of] are ‘just a part of life.’ They are no different than any other experience!
In September, I started seeing a chiropractor because of my jaw [TMJ] and my back [scoliosis]. The results have been fantastic, validating my belief that bodywork is an essential part of the healing process. My jaw is better and there is less tightness and tension in my neck and throat. I am also gaining flexibility.
I received even more insights about fear leading to a couple of blogs and an amazing insight about self love… that we don’t need to do anything to actualize self love, we just need to acknowledge what is [that we are divine spiritual beings… we are love]. The reason we feel fear and self loathing is because we’re taught it. And this leads to disease.
Self love, like spiritual consciousness and feeling good about myself, is something I have been endeavouring to understand and actualize because this is why I developed a neurological condition [PD]. It is the higher purpose of the experience. So this completes the experiential trinity and what this leads to next is to be discovered… the next part of the adventure.
Throughout Aug/Sept/Oct I continued to experience fluctuating symptoms, leaning more towards the intense side. I wasn’t alarmed though. I realized it was part of the process and it was temporary.
In November, the focal point of my symptoms shifted from my throat chakra [the seat of fear] to my heart chakra [the seat of grief]. I don’t know why, but as a result, my voice was much stronger, there was less tightness in my throat and I stopped feeling the noose-like feeling around my throat. On the other side, I was been feeling a lot of sadness and anger and experiencing intense trembling in my hands. I didn’t fully understand it, but I assumed it was part of the healing process. Interestingly enough, I stumbled across a blog I posted a couple of years ago called Sadness in the Heart. I also had an important insight that part of the anger comes from my refusal to accept this journey I’m on, and more importantly, that [on a soul level], I chose this journey.
In December, my symptoms were unchanged from November as I continued to focus on spiritual consciousness [being the conscious observer] and living as my true divine loving spiritual essence in order to dissolve fear, minimize stress and put my mind and body in a tranquil state.
Although my physical condition was unchanged, three very positive things highlighted the month. First, I published my second book, The History Teacher 2.0. I am very excited about the book because the principles I discuss [it’s a parable] are the same principles I am using to recover my health. Second, I updated my complete recovery protocol. Third, I decided to make my weekly blog posts more inspirational in their focus. We can recover our health, while effectively managing our symptoms with or without medication and I want people to know this.
My symptoms remained unchanged in January, although a skin rash reappeared on my chest, throat and chin. I used a homemade cannabis cream and calendula cream to clear it up. I also heightened my focus on returning my body to homeostasis and living in acceptance of my condition.
In February, I decided to try medical marijuana. I used it on and off from February until May. While it didn’t help ease any of the symptoms I experience, it did serve to bring up a lot of fear. I felt panicky a lot, particularly in the middle of the night, but I learned how to talk my way through it. I considered this a good thing because this was fear I needed to let go of. It wasn’t pleasant, but I believe, it was a necessary part of the healing process. It also led to some insights as it relates to divine self love and dissolving fear and led me to really focus on getting my mind and body out of the fight-flight-freeze state through self-talk and focusing on my breath.
In March, the rash on my neck and chest returned, I suspect, due to the intense fear I was feeling. I used Calendula cream and marijuana cream to treat it.
In April I decided to increase my exercise program. It’s still light exercices, but I did more of everything: walking, core exercises and karate exercises. In May, the golf course opened so I started playing golf once or twice a week.
In May, I learned about another parkinson’s success story… Colin Potter.
In June, I stopped doing medical marijuana because it was causing me to feel too much panic. Also in June, I went on a week long fly-in fishing trip. I experienced some back discomfort sitting in a boat all day long, but otherwise [aside from the bugs], it was a delightful trip!
From June through October, I played golf once or twice a week. Overall, it was great exercise, although my health condition greatly affected my golf skills. It was frustrating at times, but I kept reminding myself that at least I could still play the game! Also during this period, I continued to experience daily periods of intense symptoms triggered by fear-related subconscious beliefs. I could be fine one moment and the next moment, find myself in the midst of intense symptoms [likely triggered by a random negative thought]. It was a challenging and frustrating time, but I held the faith that I would eventually figure it out!
In July, thanks to a blog reader, I discovered the book, Stuck on Pause, by Janice Hadlock [from pdrecovery.org]. Hadlock’s assertion is that PD occurs when a person is stuck in a chronic state of believing their life is in danger and that they are not safe. She says that when this occurs, we actually develop a pause personality [a personality that is in a chronic state of stress]. It’s a book well worth reading.
Also in July, I did a Blog Radio interview with Robert Rodgers, author of Road to Recovery from Parkinson’s Disease. We spoke about my experience, symptoms, protocol and philosophy.
In August, thanks to a conversation with Mari, I decided to change my focus slightly, from ‘returning my body to homeostasis,’ to ‘raising my vibrational frequency.’ I did this because, in reality, we are energetic beings, and for me, it’s a more positive approach!
At the beginning of September, in conjunction with my decision to focus on raising my vibrational frequency I decided to change the focus of my weekly blog posts to write about special moments, largely involving interactions with nature. My intention was to be more uplifting, more joyful, recognizing that living with the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease is very stressful. Also, I have written just about everything there is to write as it relates to what I know about this neurological condition.
Otherwise, the period from September to December was a roller coaster ride of introspection, insights, discovery and understanding. It began when I started experiencing intense anger again and I realized that I’m addicted to anger because it helps me overcome fear. Where fear is my kryptonite, anger is my Superman. So I decided the best approach was to treat it like any other addiction and completely abstain from it [prior to this, I thought the best approach was to express it and release it, but it became apparent, that this was going to be a never-ending endeavor].
Also during this period, I created a five-step process for dissolving fear which initially I thought was the solution I’ve been looking for all along. Then I had a ‘duh’ moment when I realized that by focusing on dissolving fear I was unwittingly continually creating it [the opposite of what I wanted] because in order to dissolve fear you have to be in a state of love. So I decided I would be best served to place my focus on love [the opposite of fear].
The five-step process I created evolved out of an insight I had that helped me overcome my fear of death. The insight was that I have a choice… I can spend the rest of my life being afraid of death, or I can choose to celebrate life and be grateful for the opportunity I’ve been given to participate in the flow of life and contribute to the expansion of love in the universe. I remind myself of this [out loud] every day!
It also occurred to me that the body [especially the Parkinson’s body] is a moment by moment reflection of our thoughts and therefore, I need to focus my thoughts on love. So as of this update, I am retraining my thoughts to focus on love, by constantly saying out loud what I love. For example, “I love watching deer bound through the forest!” “I love living at the lake!”
In November, Mari encouraged me to be more organized and more disciplined as it relates to my daily recovery protocol…the various physical exercises and spiritual practices I undertake each day. I have an Excel spreadsheet that I use to track my activities. So I significantly expanded my list of activities and have been very diligent in completing them.
Between my focus on love and my focus on my daily protocol, I have been feeling much better and more confident and encouraged than I have felt in a long time!
During the period of time [June to December] freezing has become the most troublesome and challenging symptom I am experiencing. When you consider the fight-flight-freeze response, this is not surprising. I’m abstaining from anger [the fight response] and I can’t take flight [because the fear is in my thoughts, so I can’t run away from it], which only leaves the freeze response. I expect that when love, rather than fear, becomes my primary way of thinking and responding, I will begin to move freely and normally.
I would also say that I have experienced a little more rigidity and loss of dexterity in my hands, although I can still tie my shoes and clip my fingernails. On the plus side, my voice is much stronger and the rash on my chest and throat has cleared up. Also, I’m swallowing and sleeping just fine!
In January, February and March 2018, I continued to focus on developing self love. In January, I also started doing Bowen therapy. The therapy was developed in Australia and it is best described as pressure point massage with the intention of releasing stress and emotional memory from the muscle facia. John Coleman, a naturopathic doctor from Australia, who fully recovered from Parkinson’s, included Bowen therapy as part of his recovery protocol. It has proven to be a rather intense experience characterized by emotional release, diarrhea and intense symptoms, but I feel that it is helping.
During this time, I also read, The Root of All Healing, by Misa Hopkins. Hopkins used a natural approach [much like mine] to overcome MS and other health conditions and I really resonated with her approach.
From April until September, it was pretty much life as usual. I continued to focus on Bowen therapy as the catalyst for my recovery. I went for treatments every two weeks. Between treatments, I would feel good for a period of 3 to 5 days, then the balance of the time period, I would experience very intense symptoms and mental fog. My therapist couldn’t explain it because she has no prior experience treating someone with PD.
Also during this period, I eased off on my daily regimen, as I spent a lot of time chopping and stacking firewood, playing golf and enjoying the summer, which was spectacular!
In July, I dramatically reduced my carbohydrate intake, while increasing my fat intake to get closer to a genuine ketogenic diet. There was no noticeable change in my symptoms.
I also started riding my bike for the first time in three years. I was a little wobbly at first but did just fine in short order. I actually found it easier to ride the bike than to walk.
In September, I took a trip to southern Ontario for my daughter’s wedding and even though it was a joyous occasion, I experienced a lot of anxiety, particularly as it relates to the flights down and back, which was peculiar for me because normally I really enjoy flying. I was also feeling a lot of anxiety about making a speech, which again was peculiar, because I was looking forward to speaking about my daughter. As a result, the symptoms I experience were significantly intensified.
In October, I decided to discontinue Bowen therapy because I seemed to be getting worse with each successive appointment. I had been anticipating some sort of breakthrough, but it never came.
In early November, I started experiencing intense anxiety and frequent and extended moments of panic. This lasted up until the week before Christmas when I finally decided I couldn’t take it anymore, so I went to the hospital where I was prescribed with an anti-anxiety medication [clorazapan]. The following day, whether due to the medication or too much prolonged stress, I suddenly found myself experiencing complete immobility. As a result, I spent a week in the hospital, where I agreed to go on PD medication [levodopa-carbidopa] and a different anxiety medication [lorazapan for the short-term and sertraline-HCL for the long term]. Within a few days I started regaining mobility and by the time I left the hospital, I was feeling better than I had since before beginning Bowen therapy. When I left the hospital, I was taking 6 levodopa-carbidopa tablets per day [600 mg of levodopa and 150 mg of carbidopa].
The medication helped with mobility, dexterity in my hands and getting out of chairs, but it did not helped with balance, freezing or my gait. Also, I stopped experiencing intense anxiety and panic.
I realized upon reflection that what landed me in the hospital was worry. I literally worried myself into a state of panic, anxiety and immobility. I also realized that if my mind could put me in this state, it also had the potential to put me in the exact opposite state. My mind in fact could be my best medication, and most effective tool I knew of to make the best use of my mind, is meditation. So I started doing research on meditation techniques which taught me a great deal. The two most important things I learned were, first, that the purpose of meditation is not to clear the mind, but rather to focus the mind, on your breath or a mantra, and, second, that the success of meditation is recognizing when the mind has wandered. At this point, you simply return it to the breath [or mantra], and to do this over and over and over again, endlessly. Studies have shown that when the mind is in a meditative state, it immediately begins producing dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and other endorphins.
Unfortunately, I can no longer claim to be medication free, although I did go 17 years without it and I am still taking a holistic approach. I simply consider the medication I’m taking to be just another supplement. I still believe it is possible for me to recover my health which will now require me getting off medication as well. I also believe the protocol I have developed will work, with some adjustments, like taking CBD oil.
I don’t fully understand why I had to go through this experience of intense anxiety and panic and complete loss of mobility. Perhaps it was an adverse reaction to Bowen therapy. Perhaps it was the need to experience immobility in order to realize that if it were to come to it, I could handle it [because this is one of my greatest fears], because the care I received in the hospital was fantastic! Perhaps it was because I needed to experience medication as part of my journey, as much as I am adverse to it. Or perhaps it was because I needed to have a better understanding of how my thoughts are creating this experience and that the most powerful medication I have at my disposal is my mind. Either way, this became my new starting point for my recovery!
In January, I was reminded of the importance and effectiveness of chiropractic treatments. I had noticed that even though I was on medication, I was experiencing more trembling. I hadn’t been to the chiropractor in over two months and after resuming treatments in January there was a significant reduction in trembling.
In February, 2019, at Mari’s insistence, I also started taking CBD oil again. I tested different brands and formulas and settled on CanniMed 1:20 [1 mg of THC and 20 mg of CBD per ml] four times a day. CanniMed is a Canadian product. I feel noticeably better when I take CBD oil.
Also during this time, I re-evaluated and revised my recovery protocol and daily regimen, figuring out what adjustments I needed. I started doing a lot more Qigong, meditating and breathing and mental exercises. I added a Body Love visualization where I visualize each body part and give thanks and express love for it. I also added a Core Values exercise, where I express my core values, such as, simplicity, kindness, family, nature and spirituality. I also added a “I am excited” exercise, where I recite the things I am excited about, such as, sending love out to the universe, developing an awesome meditation practice, developing an awesome qigong practice and learning Estonian. I also added a Loving Compassion exercise, where each day I pick a person[s] and send them loving compassion [May you be content!] I also started learning to count to ten, say I love you, say hello and say how are you, in various languages. As of July 22, I am up to fourteen languages! All of these exercises are intended to challenge me mentally and keep my mind in a positive, loving state! They are intended to help keep me in a state of contentment!
In March, I realized I could sing again! I used to play the guitar and sing as a hobby, mostly by myself, and somewhere along the way, I lost my singing voice. This restored ability to sing was a euphoric moment and confirmation of my recovery regimen. Although I can’t prove it, I attribute this recovery mostly to chiropractic treatments which I believe have relaxed and loosened the muscles around my vocal cords.
In March, I also decided to come off Zoloft. I was no longer experiencing intense anxiety and panic, so I figured it was the time to give it a try. I did some research on how to come off the medication and spoke to my doctor, who was on board with my decision. I also learned about compounding [customizing the formula of a medication] which is the ideal way to come off medication, but unfortunately, we do not have a compounding pharmacy on the island. The weaning process took ten days and went quite well. I experienced no side-effects.
In April, because of the success I had in weaning off Zoloft, I decided to try weaning off, or at least reducing the amount of, Sinemet [levodopa-carbidopa] I had been taking. This proved to be a more significant challenge due to some stress in my life at that time, including a trip to Toronto. I did manage to reduce my daily dosage from six tablets [600 mg] a day to four [400 mg], but I had to go back up to five due to the difficulty I was experiencing taking only four tablets. I decided to revisit this at a later date when I am feeling better and more confident that my daily regimen is doing more to produce naturally, the dopamine my brain is producing with the help of Sinemet.
Also in April, Mari and I took a trip to Toronto, during which I drove for two hours, the first time I had driven for more than a half an hour in over three years. I did quite well and it was further validation that my regimen was working.
In May, I learned a couple of very effective body language and breathing techniques. The purpose of these techniques is to put the mind and body into a joyful, dopamine/serotonin producing state. I added these techniques to my daily regimen.
Also in May, I got my mountain bike out of winter storage and began cycling again on a regular basis. I noticed immediately that my legs were much stronger than they were the previous year! Like many of the other activities that make up my daily regimen, cycling puts me in a joyful state! I love it!
In June, Mari and I took another trip south, and on the return trip, I drove for three hours straight, and I felt just fine! This was again further proof that my regimen and the medication I was taking were working! Awesome!
Also in June, I discovered that I could swim again! In the two or three year period prior to moving to Manitoulin Island I realized I was losing my ability to swim. This was due to a loss of strength, buoyancy and coordination. By the time I got to the island in 2016 I could no longer swim. So I didn’t, for three years. Then, voilà! After the water in our lake warmed up sufficiently, I discovered that I could actually swim again, further evidence that my regimen and the medication I was taking were working! Double awesome!
The three month period from July to September continued to be a period of discovery and celebration. I discovered that I had put on 25 pounds since December. My golf game was much improved. My balance was also much improved and I was able to do twenty-five push-ups and twelve military presses with 10 pound dumbbells [last year I struggled to do twelve half push-ups and five military presses]. This was an enormous improvement!
Also during this period, I continued to focus on overcoming anxiety, which was now my biggest challenge. I continued to complete my daily regimen of exercises intended to neutralize anxiety, such as learning Estonian, counting to ten in various languages, reciting the things I am excited about and sending out loving compassion. Also focused on developing my, “Observer mind,” where I place my attention on my breath, the task I am performing and/or my surroundings. I was pleased to discover that this focused practice was helping me to get out of the fight, flight or freeze state and into more of a tranquil state which significantly improves my symptoms!
Because I was feeling better, I also decided to try reducing my daily Sinemet dosage by a half a tablet. Also during this time, I increased my daily dosage of homegrown cannabis oil by 2 mL. Between August and September I became increasingly more anxious to the point where I was feeling panicky again and my symptoms got slightly worse so I went back to my regular Sinemet dosage of five tablets a day and I also eliminated the homegrown cannabis oil. In a few days, I began to feel better. I seem to have some difficulty with the THC component of cannabis, which is not uncommon.
One positive result of this experience was that I realized that the symptom that I began developing during the winter had gone away during the period of time when I reduced my Sinemet dosage and came back again when I upped the dosage. The symptom which involves clenching in my feet, left arm and hand and jaw, which I thought was a new PD symptom actually turns out to be a side-effect of the medication. This became another incentive for me to reduce my daily Sinemet dosage, which I plan to do again in November. This time however I’m only going to reduce dosage by a quarter of a tablet and I’m going to hold it at this level for a month.
I’m also pleased to announce that I have published my third History Teacher book, called, the History Teacher, Adventure in Estonia.
Prior to November I did not experience a noticeable difference between ‘on’ and ‘off’ times with Sinemet that I kept reading about. I really couldn’t tell the difference. Then in November, it abruptly changed. For example, I would take my morning dosage [200 mg] at 9 am. It would kick-in about a half an hour later when I would notice a significant improvement in my balance, mobility, gait, voice, dexterity, trembling, etc. This would last until approximately 12:30 when the effect would wear off and the symptoms returned. The same thing happened with my 3 pm dose. Over the next few weeks, the initial ‘wearing-off’ period got increasingly more intense. I tried cutting my morning dose in half and taking a second dose at noon, but I noticed that my morning ‘on’ time shortened by a half hour and there was no ‘on’ time with my noon dose, so I went back to a full dose in the morning. I also noticed that stress would reduce the length and intensity of the ‘on’ time.
I think what triggered this sudden initiation of on and off time was stress. I experienced intense stress in September and October.
I do not plan to increase my daily Sinemet dosage in order to eliminate or shorten the off-time period. Nor do I plan to take any of the other meds that are meant to serve this purpose. Instead, I am going to experiment with increased exercise, meditation, qigong, breathing exercises, spending time in nature, learning Estonian, etc., in order to elevate my mood and naturally stimulate the production of dopamine, seratonin, oxytocin and endorphins to see what effect it has on my symptoms.
In January, I also plan to reduce my daily Sinemet dosage by a quarter tablet to see how it affects me. If all goes well, I will reduce my daily dosage by another quarter tablet in February or March.
I will also continue to focus on minimizing stress and worry because this, I believe, is the key to overcoming anxiety and recovering my health.
At the time of this update [January, 2020] I’m doing well and feeling very optimistic! I’m focusing intently on continuing to enact the loving, spiritually conscious being that I Am [that we all are]. I am totally focused on feeling true inner love, dissolving ego, living in the present moment, being at peace, experiencing joy and thus raising my vibrational frequency. I’m accomplishing this by continuing to practice Qigong, meditating, being happy [I say hallelujah a lot], spending time in silence, spending time in nature, being grateful and doing what I love. Soon, I will be free of fear and anger, and on the way to recovery.
I have many of the typical symptoms of PD:
- Trembling … mostly in my left arm & hand and right wrist. Occasional light trembling in the toes of my left foot when I’m driving and sitting at the computer
- Clenching (atrophy)…mostly in my left hand
- Loss of balance…standing, sitting and walking. (People must think I’m drunk all the time!)
- Freezing …. started to become an issue in 2015 and intensified in 2016
- Slowness of movement … generally only an issue when I’m feeling stress/fear
- Loss of strength, mobility, dexterity and coordination in my left arm, hand and fingers (makes guitar playing and typing a challenge.)
- Loss of control in my left leg and foot (Dystonia) … affects me when I run, cycle, roller-blade and walk long distances
- Tightness in my throat … makes swallowing and singing a challenge
- Softening of the voice
- PD face
- Impaired handwriting
- Shuffle walk
- Difficulty standing from a sitting position
- Difficulty rolling over in bed
- Low blood pressure
- Slow urination
- Inability to blow my nose normally
- Fatigue … I’m tired all the time
- Sleepiness … I feel sleepy all day
- Weight loss
- Loss of libido
- Psoriasis on my chest & throat [comes and goes, but vitamin E helps]
- Pain in my left shoulder
- Tension in my neck & back
- Panic attacks [on occasion]
- Brain fog [had it for many years before diagnosis]
It is also worth noting that the trembling I experience is most pronounced when there is pressure on my spine (such as when I’m driving), when my muscles are tense (such as when I’m weight lifting), when I’m nervous or agitated and when I’m cold.
My Healing Philosophy:
I believe that healing conditions of the physical body requires the following approach in order to return the body to homeostasis:
- A positive outlook
- Healing emotional pain through forgiveness … unresolved emotional pain is at the root of all conditions
- Letting go of fear through acceptance, trust and faith
- Changing our thoughts … they have to be positive
- Releasing physical tension
- Releasing blockages in the energy body … strengthening the ‘chi’
- Strengthen the adrenal glands
- Detoxing the physical body in order to:
- Restore balance in the immune system by healing the gut
- Unclog the lymphatic system
- Eliminate inflammation from the body
- Alkaline the body
My current healing program:
My Recovery Protocol can be read in its entirety in a separate post!
- High fat, low carb diet
- Meditate … 30 minutes a day
- Walk … for one hour, 5 – 6 times per week
- Qigong … 30 minutes to an hour a day
- Laughing, smiling & being happy throughout the day
- Sitting in silence … frequently throughout the day
- Spend time in nature
- Grounding … every day I can for as much time as possible (when it’s warm enough outside)
- Push ups, stomach crunches and wall sits … 3 – 5 times a week
- Stretches … 4 – 5 times a week for one half hour
- Emotional healing … daily
- Bodywork … 4 – 6 times a month
- Living in the present moment … I practice this throughout the day (it’s really beneficial)
- Reading spiritual books … daily
Trying to figure the best diet is really difficult because there are so many different ‘expert’ opinions, each supported by lots of convincing facts and studies. I’ve made three major changes to my diet and for now, I’m going with the high-fat Ketogenic Diet. Whatever diet you choose, just make sure it’s as natural and organic as possible … low sugar fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, coconut/olive oils, free-run eggs, grass fed beef/pork/chicken and wild caught fish. Also, eliminate dairy, wheat/grains, processed foods, junk food, fast foods, sugar, artificial sweeteners and trans fats like margarine.
My daily menu on the high fat [Ketogenic Diet]:
- Breakfast … fat smoothie (1/2 – 1 avocado, 2 – 4 tbsp coconut oil, brazil nuts, walnuts, sunflower seeds, shredded coconut, cacao, olive oil, 1-3 raw eggs, 1/2 tspn cinnamon, 1/4 tspn baking soda, water to desired thickness).
- Dinner…sauerkraut, steamed or lightly sauteed veggies, organic avocado, buckwheat/quinoa, small piece of meat/fish and two tbsp of coconut oil.
- Light lunch… half fat smoothie, nuts & seeds, organic olives and or cucumber and humus.
- Snacks…nuts & seeds, organic olives.
- I’m still drinking a lot of spring water
- I also have buckwheat pancakes 3 or 4 times a week
This diet keeps me feeling full and I have put on some weight.
All food is organic where possible.
- Vit D3 … 8,000 IU
- Magnesium malate (morning), mag citrate (dinner and bedtime)
- Vit C … 8,000 mg
- Vit B12 … 5,000 mcg
- Adrenal support
- Iodine [for thyroid]
- 80 mg per day
My average daily diet from January to September 2013:
- Breakfast…protein drink (3-4 raw eggs, spinach, walnuts,banana, organic avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, cinnamon, hemp or brown rice protein powder & water) as well as 3 cooked eggs with some veggies and fish or brown rice porridge with honey and berries.
- Dinner…organic meat, brown rice or potatoes or sweet potatoes, steamed or lightly cooked veggies and protein drink.
- After karate meal…cucumber with hummus, or stew or soup, protein drink
- Snacks…nuts & seeds, a mixture of sunflower butter, nuts & seeds & raw honey.
I did a lot of stews and I used a lot of basil, cloves and turmeric in them. Both spices have plenty of health benefits. Stews are easy to prepare and I can do 3 or 4 meals in advance. Because I teach in the evenings, I typically have a late breakfast and early dinner, so I eat something light when I get home from karate.
This diet is quite healthy, but I don’t believe it wasn’t doing enough to alkaline my body (due to the amount of protein and starches). If you want to try it, cut back on the eggs, meat, potatoes & rice, and eliminate the protein powder. Replace with more avocado, coconut/olive oil, nuts and seeds, especially brazil nuts and walnuts.
In September 2013, based on some learnings at that time with regards to alkalining the body, declogging the lymph system (the body’s sewer system), detoxifying the kidneys and strengthening the adrenal glands, I made some significant changes to my diet, adding more low-acidifying fruit, as well as quinoa and buckwheat, while reducing or eliminating bananas, honey, brown rice, eggs, meat and protein powder, all of which were acidifying my body more than I realized. I am also no longer cheating with the occasional beer, glass of wine or chunk of cheese. (If you want to know more about why I’m doing this, check out this blog.)
My daily diet looked like this:
- Breakfast … fruit smoothie or fruit salad (Goji berries, 1 – 2 bananas/peach/apple/grapes). or watermelon/honey dew melon (melons are best eaten in isolation).
- Lunch…steamed or lightly sauteed veggies, organic avocado, , two tbsp of coconut oil.
- Dinner…quinoa and or buckwheat with honey, 1 -2 tbsp of coconut oil, walnuts, sunflower seeds
- After karate meal…fruit or veggies or quinoa/buckwheat or cucumber with home made hummus.
- Snacks…nuts & seeds, Gogi berries or veggies.
- I was also drinking a lot of water with fresh squeezed lemon (lemons are great alkaliners)
This might be a good detoxing diet, but I lost a lot of weight (I was already quite thin), I was hungry and cold all the time and I felt terrible, so in May ’14, I switched back to the Ketogenic Diet diet permanently.
I anticipate the healing process to go like this:
- Step 1: detox and alkaline the body (heal the gastrointestinal tract, strengthen the immune system, unclog the lymphatic system and eliminate inflammation
- Step 2: diffuse and release anger and fear
- Step 3: correct the neurotransmitter imbalance
- Step 4: eliminate the symptoms
As I become aware of different healing strategies… whether specific to Parkinson’s or not … and health conditions that are implicated in the development of the disease, I will incorporate them into my program and report on my progress, otherwise, this is my basic program.
I am the proud and jubilant author of four books:
- The History Teacher
- The History Teacher 2.0
- The History Teacher: Adventure in Estonia
- The Christmas Choice