Healing Parkinson’s Disease Naturally – A Journey of Love #48 … Coping with the Medication ‘on-off’ Cycle!

roller coasterI’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.’

Healing Parkinson’s Disease Naturally – A Journey of Love #31 … What I learned from my crisis!

victoryIt 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!

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Healing Parkinson’s Disease Naturally – A Journey of Love #30 … Minimize Anxiety and Other Symptoms by Changing Your State of Mind!

homerWhenever I find myself dwelling on the symptoms I am experiencing and wanting them to go away … which happens more often than I care to admit … I remind myself to take a different approach.  I remind myself … compassionately … to place my mind in the state I want to be in … joyful, excited, enthusiastic, contented!

Fake it til you make it, as they say!

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Healing Parkinson’s Disease Naturally – A Journey of Love #29 … Minimizing Freezing!

reliefAs I mentioned in a recent post, freezing is one of the three most challenging symptoms for me. It occurs frequently when I’m off meds, particularly when I’m feeling anxious … in a fight or flight state. It can be particularly exhilarating when freezing and loss of balance occur simultaneously! When the medication I’m taking [Sinemet] is fully on I experience very little freezing.

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Healing Parkinson’s Disease Naturally – A Journey of Love #23 … Overcoming Anxiety … Counting to Ten!

countingAs part of my Recovery Protocol and daily regimen, which are intended to return my body too homeostasis, I am learning to count to 10 in various languages. I am also learning a new language … Estonian [Mari is Estonian, so I have ample motivation].

My primary objective in undertaking this endeavor is to neutralize and dissolve anxiety, which is my biggest challenge these days!

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Healing Parkinson’s Disease Naturally – A Journey of Love #16 … Worry!

tranquilityWorry! In my experience, it is the most challenging issue we face in living with, managing and overcoming the symptoms of PD … and many other conditions, I suspect!

Apathy and depression are also conditions faced by many and it’s quite possible, if not probable, that worry plays a role here, as well.

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Healing Parkinson’s Disease Naturally – A Journey of Love #14 … The Perils of Sugar!

sugarI discovered on my own, somewhat by accident, over twenty years before I started developing the symptoms of PD, that I had an intolerance to sugar. This intolerance seems to have worsened since going on levodopa/carbidopa this past December.

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Healing Parkinson’s Disease Naturally – A Journey of Love #13 …The exhilaration of cycling!

bikeYesterday I got my mountain bike out of winter storage, inflated the tires, and went for a ride! It was exhilarating! No doubt, my brain was in dopamine and serotonin producing mode!

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Healing Parkinson’s Disease Naturally – A Journey of Love #8 … I can sing again!

singingLet me state for the record, right up front, when it comes to singing, I’m no Freddy Mercury! Somebody did tell me one time that I sing like Bob Dylan, but not as good as Bob! I’m pretty sure that wasn’t meant to be a compliment!

There, that out of the way, I am thrilled to report that I can sing again! I realized recently when I decided to belt out Hasn’t Hit Me Yet by Blue Rodeo that my voice was back, pretty much 100%. And the only thing I can attribute it to, is chiropractic!

One of my favorite pasttimes up until 2013, was playing the guitar and jamming with friends. By 2013, my symptoms had progressed to the point where I had to give it up. I lacked the dexterity to fret the strings and the coordination to strum.

I have played very little since.

Whether playing by myself or jamming, I also enjoyed singing, but along the way, I also lost my voice. I couldn’t carry a tune or sing in key!

But since resuming chiropractic treatments in January, which includes the release of tension in my neck muscles, my voice has returned.  Perhaps this release of tension has freed up my vocal chords. Whatever the reason, I am excited and grateful for it!

If you have had a similar experience, please share!

Wishing you many blessings!

Healing Parkinson’s Disease Naturally – A Journey of Love #6 … How to get off meds and return the body to homeostasis!

miracleOne 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.

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