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Do You Really Want to Know What Your Future Holds? 

future, progressed, sleep, soft voice, wish, fires, silent symptoms, marriage, tasks, bucket lists, forgetfulness

“My dad’s neurologist is transparent and compassionate. He is thorough and truthful. If yours is not, I highly suggest finding one who is.”

In the introductory sentences, the caregiver says that her dad has a great neurologist. She then recommends that you find another neurologist if yours is lacking. This was a response to a question posed that went something like: “Did your neurologist tell you how bad this disease would get? Did they tell you how debilitating it could be?”

Some will answer “yes” with as many others answering “no.” The biggest problem in finding an exceptional neurologist is that there aren’t many around. To make matters more difficult, what we really need as Parkinson’s patients is a movement disorder specialist and they are even more difficult to come by.

When I first began my Parkinson’s disease journey, I had the best neurologist I could have hoped for. But times change. After 14 years my doctor moved on, and it was time for me to let go and move on myself. 

Looking at the question posed above, I would have to answer “no.” My first neurologist, who happened to be a movement disorder specialist, didn’t tell me how debilitating Parkinson’s disease could be. Neither did my second, third, fourth, or fifth neurologist/movement disorder specialist. They all were focused on the present — what was going on now, not what might take place. I am not so sure that I would have wanted them to tell me. 

For one, my thoughts were already taking my fears to a whole other realm. I didn’t need my neurologist to assist me further into the deep dark, thank you very much. I was doing quite well getting there on my own. 

Secondly, and maybe more importantly, doctors aren’t gods. They have no magical powers. They don’t have the ability to tell your future. They personally can’t tell you, with 100 percent certainty, how far down the road your disease will take you. They can make guesstimates based on their experience treating other patients. We think we want them to tell us what our future holds. Or do we?

In some cases it might be good to know how debilitating this disease can be or how bad we may get. However, I cannot think of one reason why I need to know, other than that it may enable me to “prepare.”

Why give news about something that potentially may not come to pass? We don’t all end up in a wheelchair, nor do we all have tremors or lose our balance. Some of us will, but then again, some of us won’t. We don’t know which of us will have to deal with what, so why borrow trouble from tomorrow when today has enough troubles of its own? 

It is good to prepare for the future but not get carried away with where it might take you. Be in the here and now, enjoying each moment of each day, and begin with today.

Some may say I have my head in the sand. I don’t think so. I know very well what could come my way and probably will come my way. But I choose to live hopefully, one day at a time, for I would rather be hopeful than hopeless.

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Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

The post Do You Really Want to Know What Your Future Holds?  appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Noticing the Signs of Parkinson’s Disease in a Loved One

Sherri Journeying Through

This is written for loved ones who might have a sense that something isn’t quite right with the one they care about. It is a list of early signs you may notice before your spouse, friend, child, or parent does and how you might help them.

Most people notice the tremors as the first symptom of Parkinson’s disease (PD) in someone they know. However, did you know that there are other signs that are a clue that someone may have PD? Clues that are often overlooked, even by medical doctors?

On one of my earlier visits to my neurologist, I learned one of the first signs of PD can be depression. Looking back, it was true for me. There was no reason for me to feel down or anxious, but I did. I talked to my general practitioner about it, and she was the one who first put me on an antidepressant. There are many other reasons a person can feel depressed, so don’t jump to conclusions that the one you’re concerned about has PD. For a diagnosis to be confirmed, several symptoms must be present. A diagnosis of PD isn’t made solely because a person is depressed.

So, what if they have tremors and seem down? Again, there is a list of symptoms your neurologist will look for in making a correct diagnosis of PD. Adding tremors to the mix with depression will not necessarily mean Parkinson’s disease.

Is your mate having a hard time sleeping? Restless? Tired during the day from lack of a good night’s rest? Having vivid dreams? Nightmares? Acting out while dreaming? All on a regular basis? If you are married and find yourself wanting to go to the guest room frequently because your spouse is, how shall I put this, too active in bed? It may be a cause for concern. Sleep disorders can be evidence that something may be going on.

Parkinson’s can snitch your sniffer, so your loved one may not smell things as well or at all. The ability to smell may return for the short-term at random times, though.

PD can also cause a person to drag their foot or have a slight shuffle when they walk.

No one likes people to enter the room and ask, “What’s wrong with you?” But that can happen when early signs of PD show — such as the masked face. What is “masked” face? When the muscles in the face have tightened. Because of this, people with PD have a harder time smiling or showing facial emotion. It’s also been called a stone face — showing no expression. You’ve heard the saying, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Well, in PD we say, “Don’t judge the mood by the face.” OK, maybe only I have said that. But it’s true.

Another symptom I struggle(d) with is a soft voice. I have a soft voice to begin with, and getting softer only served to aggravate those around me. It also makes for lousy conversation on the part of the person with PD, as no one hears you participating in the conversation, so you end up being constantly interrupted, never able to finish your sentences. Plus, well, you just don’t feel like talking at all.

It takes several signs/symptoms to make a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease, and it should be done by a neurologist or a movement disorder specialist. It’s important to remember that everyone lives with PD differently. Some are affected more by tremors, some by stiffness, some by pain, and some deal with it all. And some may have some of the signs, but don’t actually have PD. Don’t make your diagnosis. Ask questions until you are satisfied with the answers, and don’t give up. We’re in this together.

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Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

The post Noticing the Signs of Parkinson’s Disease in a Loved One appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Source: Parkinson's News Today