My mother was diagnosed with Parkinson's 5 days ago. She is 57 years old and her symptoms started around 8 months ago. She lost all the power in her left arm first and could not understand what had caused it. She went to see her GP and was referred for blood tests. The blood tests came back showing her cholestorol was high and she was told to change her diet and given a prescription for Lipitor. She was sent for an x-ray to see what the cause of the problems with her arm were and when the x-ray came back they said that the problems in her arm was casued by a pinched nerve but that something was seen on her brain in the x-ray and it was recommended that she have an MRI scan. After a very frightening wait for results of the MRI they diagnosed cholesterol on the brain. She was still feeling really bad and none of her symptoms were changing. She went on the internet and through looking at websites like this she convinced herself she had Parkinson's. Myself and my family kept telling her it was not Parkinson's because she does not have a tremor. Her symptoms were loss of strength in left arm, feeling like she is dragging her left leg when walking, walking slower than normal and slurring her words when speaking. She also has a cough that causes her to slightly spit. Because she had no tremors I convinced myself she did not have Parkinson's but after seening a Neurologist she was formally diagnosed. It has been a very emotional few days and frightening to think of what the future way hold. She started medication (Sinemet) two days ago and so far there has been no side effects. I have read alot on the internet about Parkinson's but I just wanted to speak to someone dealing with it. Should the medication eliminate the current symptoms? The fact that she does not have tremors, does that mean that she wont get them in the future? What is the average time frame for reaching further stages in the disease? Would Physiotherapy on her arm bring back some of the strength? I would really appreciate any replies. Thank you.
I'm sorry to hear about your mother's diagnosis. My husband has been
dealing with this for around 18 months. He has tremmors which is
controlled by Requip, but the weakness in his left arm is still there.
He's tried doing some exercises, but it doesn't seem to help. Just
3 years ago he could do 25 push ups fast with no problem. Now, he
can't even do one. I wish I had an answer for you. We'll just have
to keep searching. Take care, Rose
Sorry to hear about your mother's PD. I have had PD for about 10 years and I am 64. The symptoms you descrbe for your Mom sounds almost exactly what my experience has been. I do not have a tremor either. Did your mom lose the arm swing when she walked in her weak arm? I had the foot drag, tiredness, balance not so good and so on, like your mom. I had no idea I had PD until I was reading an article about it and it mentioned the lack of arm swing and all the other symptoms like your mom has. I finally went to the Dr. and told him what I thought I had, he sent me to a neurologist and I was diagnosed about 3 years ago. I started taking ReQuip and that didn't do a thing for me. I then started Sinemet and that made all the difference.
It took about a month or so for the Sinemet to start working good, so don't dispair. It will if she has Parkinson's. When I could first tell it was working I felt like it was a miracle. I could walk right and faster, swing my bad arm, not so tired and so on. I don't want to fill up too much space here with everything. The side effects at first were a little nausea (started taking my pill with a glass of juice and a cracker and that helped) I was not hungry for weeks and could hardly force myself to eat at first but that finally went away. Now the pills do not work as well three years later, they don't last as long and I do have some jerky or/and uncontrolled movements, Mornings are the best time to do stuff.
I don't know if I will get tremors in the future, I try not to think about it too much. Every case is unique, I guess, so people get different symptoms.
Have your Mom think back and she can probably pinpoint when she started to have the first small symptoms and she will be able to tell when the PD actually started. For me it was not being able to walk as fast, not keeping up with normal people, limping, foot dragging and my sense of smell started going bad. Things just didn't smell right sometimes and now I can't smell much of anything, which of course affects how you taste food (not much at all). The sense of smell was a big loss to me.
I know adjusting to the diagnosis is very hard - all the different emotions will come up, but in time that will turn into acceptance. Life goes on with Parkinson's and with the right meds, she will be doing much better.
Most importantly, don't zero in on what she will be like as she gets worse. PD is a long term chronic disease and it will get worse as years go by. Do not waste today's good days thinking about the future as it will only depress. Live each day to the fullest and keep a sense of humor about it if you can.
I have found that exercise, especially water aerobics and walking is great. I feel so much better after the class.
Well, I've written enough for now. If you have any more questions for me please feel free to ask on this form. I check it often.
Betty here again. I forgot to mention a couple of points in my earlier (long) note.
Learn as much as you can about Parkinson's and read all the books you can get ahold of. The internet is a good source of info also. I think the more you know, the less scary PD is and the better you can cope.
Be in charge of your medication. Learn all you can about each one, what the side effects are and how they may benefit you. In my opinion, some Dr.s prescribe too many different meds for a person, but that is just my opinion. Only you can decide how they make you feel and if they are right for you.
Do you have any PD support groups you can join? These meetings are a source of helpful information and you can meet other people with PD. Once in awhile a PD specialist (Dr.) comes to my meetings and gives a talk with really helpful info. People can ask questions and get answers.
It is harder on us (people who get the PD at an earlier age (in their 50's) I think because many are still working and have more years to deal with it. I think most people get it in their 70's.
Thanks for your posts Betty. It helps me a LOT to read about this from someone who is actually close to my husband in age and is experiencing it.
My husband just got diagnosed about 2 & 1/2 weeks ago and he's so down-hearted, very much so. He doesn't have noticeable tremor either but slowness and micrographia, lost weight, bad fatigue early in day, and a lot of the classic Parkinson symptoms, posture not as good as it used to be and so forth.
If only I could get him in the same frame of mind you are. When you said not to focus on what might happen in the future not to waste today's good days on worrying about it, it makes so much sense.
Then again, I'm not the one who has PD, so there is no way to put myself in his shoes. I would probably be devastated as well. He certainly still looks good and to a non-medical person he looks and acts entirely normal but slow to get up from a sitting position. He's 62.
He has always had so much spirit I hate to see him feeling so down. I hope with time he will feel better. I didn't know that it took time for the Sinemet to work. He's already had some success with it.. He moves faster, smiles and laughs more, and his face has more expression. He does a lot of things, such as motions, that I haven't seen him do in years, and I had completely forgotten he did those things, just the way he walks, moves and acts. It's like the medicine has peeled away 5 years from his age. But he doesn't always feel good on it. He has times when he feels better than he's felt in years, then he says he has "strange" feelings which last an hour or so, then he comes out of it.
Have you ever heard of that side effect or experienced it? He's slightly more emotional than he used to be, also.