This post is the fifth of the 18 things you need to know about living with the symptoms of PD. It might have been more aptly titled, “Eliminate fear, stress, worry and anxiety, and you will, in all probability, recover your health!”
This is the third in the series of 18 things we need to know in order to live with successfully … and hopefully, overcome … the symptoms of PD.
There is a notion in society today that says we can abuse ourselves with poor diets, excessive alcohol consumption. drug use, lack of exercise, workaholism, overexposure to stress and emotional trauma, and then when we experience a health crisis, we simply turn the responsibilty for our health over to our doctor, take a pill to mask the symptoms and do nothing to address the underlying cause of the health condition.
I would like to share with you what I think you need to know in order to live effectively, and if all goes well, overcome the symptoms of PD and restore your health. In determining an appropriate title for this post, I was hesitant to include the number, 18. It’s not a round number, like 10, and it’s big number. I was concerned that it might be overwhelming. But the reality is, PD is a complex condition requiring a comprehensive protocol. You can’t simply treat it with a pill.
As a person experiencing the symptoms of PD, I have learned through direct experience that it is extremely important to continually stimulate the body and the mind upon waking and throughout the day!
I’m happy to be back blogging after a short hiatus during which my attention was mainly focused on writing my latest book [The Kid] which I am very excited about and which is still a ways from completion.
Living with the symptoms of Parkinson’s, there is never a dull moment, although, quite frankly, I wouldn’t mind a little mundane, same-old, same-old … as opposed to the constant flow of challenges that seem to come my way. Lately, these challenges have had much to do with the medication I’m taking. As Homer Simpson might say, “stupid medication!”
I started taking medication [Sinemet] in December 2018, this after experiencing the symptoms of PD for sixteen years, medication free. For the first ten months … taking five tablets a day [2 at 9 AM, 1.5 at 3 PM and 1.5 at 10 PM] … I did not experience an ‘on-off’ cycle. Then abruptly, in the first week of November last year, I suddenly started experiencing it.
I suspect the change was triggered by a very stressful week at the end of October during which I was in a constant state of worry and anxiety.
At first, the change was barely noticeable … but it was noticeable. Gradually, over time it became more noticeable and more intense, particularly during the wearing-off period. During this period, I quite often felt extremely jittery … and still do.
I take my morning dosage at 9 AM. It kicks in around 9:30 AM and lasts until between noon and 1 PM. I take my afternoon dosage at 3 PM, which kicks in around 3:30 PM and lasts until 5 PM to 6 PM. My nighttime dosage which I take at 10 PM, usually kicks in after I go to bed at 11 PM and wears off sometime during the night.
During the off times, my symptoms are considerably worse, particularly balance, freezing and stiff gate. At times I can be very unsteady on my feet. I also have much greater difficulty focusing. I can literally re-watch a movie and half of it is new to me.
In order to deal with the situation, I considered three options:
Option #1, take Sinemet more frequently [four or five times a day] at the same or an increased daily dosage. The downside of this, is that it leaves me more prone to side-effects, particularly dyskinesia, and it makes me more dependent on the meds, at a time when I’m trying to reduce my dependency [my goal is still to get off meds altogether]. It would also make eating a challenge as it is best to take the meds at least a half an hour before eating and an hour and a half after eating, particularly if the meal contains protein.
Option #2, start taking a ‘bridge’ medication [a separate medication taken during the ‘off’ periods]. The downside of this is pretty much the same as the downside of Option 1. It increases my risk of experiencing side-effects while making me more dependent on medication.
Option #3, deal with the ‘off’ periods, naturally [by meditating, exercising, practicing qigong, spending time in the forest and taking CBD oil].
I have been opposed to taking medication since receiving my diagnosis in 2008 and even though I am currently taking Sinemet, my goal is still to get off medication entirely and recover my health using a natural protocol, so Options 1 and 2 are not really viable options.
This leaves me with Option 3 … the natural approach! Of the three options, this is certainly the one I prefer, but quite frankly, at this point, I cannot say with certainty that it helps with my ‘off’ time symptoms. It seems to, but in order to quantify it, I would have to do nothing for several days, then implement my protocol for several days and see if there is a difference. What I can tell you at this point is that when I am meditating, when I’m practicing qigong, when I’m in the forest and when I’m doing certain vigorous exercises, I feel better during ‘off’ times, but the feeling only lasts while I’m doing it … which is better than nothing. It’s quite possible that doing these natural protocols is keeping things from getting worse, but again, at this point I’m not certain and not sure if I can quantify it.
For now, I’m going to focus on the bigger picture, which is to stay positive and upbeat, while doing everything I can to eliminate the fear, worry and anxiety, and dissolve the detrimental beliefs that are keeping me stuck in this health condition … which means diligently completing the elements of my daily regimen, remaining optimistic and accepting the situation. I will also cherish, appreciate and take advantage of the period of time, twice daily, when the medication is ‘on.’
For me, the best approach to anything, is to keep it simple! In this regard, the moment I awake in the morning I place my attention on stimulating dopamine, seratonin, oxytocin and endorphin production … naturally. I don’t need to think about recovering my health or even returning my body to homeostasis, I just need to focus on the thoughts and activities that will initiate the release of the feel-good neurotransmitters and hormones.
If you are not familiar with Bianca Molle’s recovery story, it is well worth checking out! I spoke with Bianca a couple of years ago and I believe her to be genuine! Her recovery protocol centered around qigong!
There are still countless people who believe PD is incurable, and on the surface, this is understandable! Medical science has not … after over 200 years of trying … discovered a cure or developed a protocol that will lead to a cure.
However, this does not mean PD is incurable! If it is incurable then why are we spending so much money trying to develop a cure?
Medical community lack of success aside, I and many others unwaveringly believe it is possible for us to recover our health … for two reasons.
It was a year ago that I found myself hospitalized, scared, deep in a prolonged state of panic and unable to move my legs. Seven days after being admitted, I walked out of the hospital, went home and shoveled snow! What led to this dramatic change, was quite simply, medication! There was also a change in outlook, but it came later!
After several consultations with a doctor at the hospital, I agreed to give levodopa and sertraline a try [this after seventeen years of being medication free]! It worked!
Loss of balance continues to be one of the three biggest challenges I face [along with anxiety and freezing]. In the past few months I have placed much more emphasis on balance exercises and it is paying off.
Loss of balance occurs when the mind and body are in a chronic state of stress and fear for an extended period of time. This ongoing fight or flight state results in the continual overproduction of stress hormones and neurotransmitters, particularly adrenaline and cortisol, and the corresponding underproduction [or non-production] of the tranquility-inducing, feel-good, muscle-control neurotransmitters, especially dopamine and serotonin.