While we are used to hearing doctors frequently classify a diagnosis of cancer by stages, “you have stage 4 colon cancer”, or something similar, it is not often that we hear Parkinson’s described by stages. However, there are published stages that are loosely defined.
While going through my husband’s medical notes this past week, I found that he had researched the stages of Parkinson’s very soon after he was diagnosed. He wanted to see where he was on the spectrum of the seriousness of the disease. By taking a short test at the end of the article, he realized he was in “Stage One”. I think it gave him some comfort, some hope, and I think it helped him realize that he should not give up. Sometimes patients would rather not know, but for those who are interested, there are many scales available online.
Looking back, my husband had 19 very productive years with Parkinson’s, and for that I am so thankful. I hope even this fact will encourage both patients and caregivers alike by knowing that Parkinson’s is not a death sentence. It just means everyday life becomes inconvenient and each act becomes intentional.
Another thing I found in Carlton’s myriad of papers this week is an article he wrote in 2015. That means he was 15 years into Parkinson’s by this time. It is in 9 small parts, so here is part one.
|Nine Wise Sayings That Help Us Cope With Parkinson’s Disease|
Everyone can use a word of encouragement from time to time. I wrote this article specifically to encourage others with Parkinson’s disease and offer some real-world suggestions for coping with PD. I’m not yet 70, but I was diagnosed with PD 15 years ago. My case is as ordinary as anyone’s, but I’ve tried to stay ahead of the game by composing music and writing articles like this one. It is my wish that these Nine Wise Sayings will help bring to mind some handy ideas to help PD patients manage their symptoms in the same way they’ve helped me manage mine.
Sometimes we “PDers” become fixated on a task or destination and suddenly “freeze” mid-step. Here is a handy and successful imagery trick I often use to unfreeze. I choose my “X” spot by locating an obvious blemish or feature on the floor, like a curly knot in the hardwood strips or an uneven joint (or seam), even that old wine stain on the carpet that never went away will work. The ideal “X” spot should be—depending on the length of your stride—8 to 12 inches (or whatever is comfortable) ahead of your feet. Now, having chosen my “X” spot as the target for my foot to aim for, I look down and concentrate on the selected spot. Once my foot has acquired a specific target, my brain sends a “Go” message to my leg and it breaks my freeze and enables me to make progress forward or sideways, as the case may be.
I hope today’s post was encouraging to all who are caregivers and to those of our loved ones with Parkinson’s Disease or some other chronic or degenerative disease. That is my goal. That is my prayer.