One of the most frequent questions I am asked, is how to get off medication. Be it PD meds, anxiety meds or both, there is a genuine desire to be medication free, and thus, free of side-effects and the inevitable loss of efficacy of the medication … it is well-known that over time PD meds lose their efficacy, eventually becoming completely ineffective, the outcome of which is quite grim. Moreover, for the vast majority of people experiencing the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, and who believe recovery is possible, recovery will involve coming off medication at some point, and this too quite frankly can be a disconcerting prospect. It is akin to a drug addict going through withdrawal.
It has been two months since my last post on my journey experiencing the symptoms of Parkinson’s. Since that post, my journey has taken an abrupt turn!
When I was diagnosed with PD in 2008, I made the decision at that time to deal with it naturally. The neurologist who diagnosed me explained that the only way to treat PD was with medication. I said, no thank you. I felt confident that I could overcome the condition by healing the emotional root cause … the same way I had overcome food sensitivities and migraine headaches.
In a recent conversation, Mari and I agreed that the state of our bodies is largely a reflection of the quality of our thoughts. Yes, nutrition plays a role, as does chemical toxicity, exercise, stretching, relaxation and correcting physical trauma, but more than anything else, it’s our thoughts that determine whether our bodies are going to be in a stressed [fight or flight] state or a relaxed state, and thus, in good health or not.
In 1983, I joined a market research company. A few months into the job, I did a presentation to a client accompanied by my account senior and group manager. It wasn’t my first presentation. Every time I looked up during the presentation, my manager was feverishly writing notes, which I took to mean he didn’t like what he was seeing and I started to become unglued. It got so bad that at one point, the Eastern regional sales manager asked me to explain the numbers on a chart, and my response was, “I don’t know, that’s just the way they came out of the computer.” The moment I uttered the words, I knew I had blown it and the presentation went downhill from there. By the end of it, I was a total mess! Afterwards, neither my account senior or manager said anything, but on the way out of the building I declared to myself that I would never let that happen again. And for the next 23 years, I didn’t!
I recently made a similar declaration as it relates to my experience with the symptoms of Parkinson’s.
Let me explain.
What is Parkinson’s disease, really? The medical community, the Michael J Fox foundation and the various Parkinson’s societies would have us believe that it is an incurable, progressive, degenerative condition, resulting from the magical die-off of dopamine producing cells in the substantia nigra portion of the brain. They would have us believe that there is no known cause, although they speculate it could be genetic, hereditary or the result of overexposure to chemicals. They would also have us believe that there is no known cure and that the best way to treat the condition [in fact, the only way] is with medication.
A few years ago [I don’t recall exactly when], I noticed that driving intensified my symptoms. Not long after that, I noticed that my symptoms got worse even when I was a passenger in the car.
Last week, I took a rather long driving trip to visit family and friends, including my mentally handicapped brother who is in declining health. Every day involved a significant amount of time in the car, including nine hours on day one and six hours on the last day.
To quote a well-used cliche, “I’m not gonna lie to you,” yesterday was a challenging day! I’m not quite sure how to describe it except to say, I was a mess … and I’m not much better today! My voice was very raspy [almost inaudible at times] making it very difficult for me to use speech recognition. My entire body was very tense. There was considerably more trembling in my hands and much more loss of balance and freezing. I was also feeling very irritable and my patience was really put to the test!
Let me begin by saying, even though I’m writing a post about anxiety, I thankfully, do not experience a lot of it. The situations that cause me to experience anxiety include speaking in front of a crowd, packing for a trip or being late for something. These situations are infrequent.
I am presently in the midst of an intense healing period. I’m grateful to say that a few blog readers are doing the same protocol and we are sharing our experience. I’m so happy not to be doing this alone. The healing we’re doing is based on a protocol developed by Janice Walton-Hadlock of pdrecovery.org. Walton-Hadlock believes that Parkinson’s disease is not the result of being in a chronic fight-or-flight state of fear, but rather, it is from being in a chronic “pause” state of fear or from being in a chronic “disassociative” state of fear.
I started using medical marijuana a few months ago [which I wrote about in an earlier post] and I would have to say that my experience thus far has been … interesting.
First, I discovered that using marijuana for medical purposes is not an exact science. You have to figure out for yourself the appropriate formula [THC:CBD ratio] and ideal daily dosage. I have yet to figure this out!
I sourced my marijuana oil from a Health Canada approved dispensary. I started with 1.0 ml of a 1:20 THC:CBD formula then switched to 0.5 ml of a 10:10 formula. I took this amount once during the day and again at bedtime. Then I switched the daytime dosage to 1.0 ml of a 4:8: ratio.
So far, there has been no noticeable change in any of my symptoms. I have, however, experienced a considerable amount of anxiety and panic, especially at bedtime and in the middle of the night. Based on comments from others, this appears to be a common reaction. My assumption on this, is that marijuana brings to the surface the fear that is at the root of this health condition … which, as unpleasant as the experience is, makes it a good thing because it allows us to acknowledge the fear and dissolve it!
I’m taking a temporary break from using marijuana because I’m going on a fishing trip. When I return I plan to continue with it because I truly believe in it’s healing potential. I’m only going to use the 4:8: formula and I’m going to start with a much smaller dosage in order to build up a tolerance and minimize the intensity of the anxiety and fear. I will keep you updated on my progress.