Front Row Mom with Cupcakes (Yup that's my Mom ;)

Yep, that’s me…from the day I gave birth to my first child at age 20 right up to my current age 70. These past few weeks I’ve been con-soul-ing my daughter as needed when her anxiety skyrockets. Sleeping occasionally at her apartment on what I fondly call “my blanket fort” on her brand-new red IKEA sofa. 

Blanket forts: little havens of darkened softness, privacy and pretend independence. When I deconstructed my grandmother Meadows’ couch and built a fort with the six large brocade cushions, I was purposefully building my very own sanctuary. Her home was a sanctuary in itself…an escape from the frightening chaos of my own home. I didn’t know the words alcoholism or abuse at age 5, but I instinctively felt fears gradually leave my body as I packed my red hatbox-sized suitcase with toothbrush, pajamas, favorite clothes, and dolls.

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The Pharmacy by Hilda B.

This is only a small part of my story but like others, I've found stories have chapters and this is just one of mine. 
Who do you go to for your drug and supplement information? If you are like me chances are good you talk with your doctor. But did you know there is someone else even more qualified to answer those questions? Yuppers, it’s your local pharmacist. It’s their job after all to know all the ins and outs of our prescriptions, OTC meds and even what we eat and drink that may interact with them & when timing matters. 

Some good information I got from my own pharmacist these past several weeks:

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Parkinson's Disease by Timothy J

About 5 years ago I started noticing things were not "quite right" with my health​, I was having moments where my thoughts were cloudy, I was anxious and had moments of depression.

I was also experiencing problems finding the right words in conversation, which although embarrassing, did have its funny side...sort of.

Then over a period of time I also noticed that it was becoming difficult to work as a tremor had developed in my right hand, plus an overwhelming feeling of not being well...a sense of heaviness in my body and slowness of movements etc....I coped by "working around" all of these problems, and trying not stressing too much.

Stress and worry made things much, much worse.

In mid 2017 my symptoms worsened, the tremor in my hand was more persistent and I had moments of 'freezing' (of being unable to walk),

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The Scream (and Artwork) By Julie L

I feel the inevitable 4 Th hourly, slow creep of invasion, witchy pain fingers beckoning . The cackling I imagine calling me back for punishment. My proud, strong , capable bOdy shutting down. Grinding to a near halt. Vertebra shouting revolt at the familiarity that will dictate the level of discomfort or what the common, non discomfort enduring soul would call .. agony. 

But it is a slippery slope , an ever down wards spiral if I allowed THAT word to take root in my psyche. Similarly the reverberations of the word PAIN. Well meaning paramedics have requested disclosure and naming the rogue let loose. I am asked to score IT, 1 to 10. I WILL NOT!

The devil cannot be honoured with a name, gender nor evaluation. 

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When you're down and out... by Mark E.

A friend of mine was going through a bad time and I posted a response. Many people commented on my response how much it helped them. So I thought, why not share what I said to everyone in case someone else might find solace. Disclaimer.... one of the most difficult things I do is struggle to heed my own words! Here you go, I hope this helps anyone searching.

“When we are down life loves to come along and kick us further to the curb! What life does not realize is just how strong we are! I know everything seems very dark right now. In this darkness you are not alone. Just extend your hand and another hand will instantly grab hold. Then another and another.

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KNIT ONE, PULL ONE. By Julie L.

Once there was a girl. Let us call her Julie
She grew up in an enchanted land. THE CWA (country women's association) created one and all from scraps of wool, knitted, knotted or crocheted together into multicolored wonders. The creations were strange BUT each with their very own UNIQUE patterns. Some had fluffy heads, others WERE made of pom poms.
Julie’s grandmother, Great Aunt Hilda, Aunt Rhonda, Aunt Delphine, mother Verlie (a famous knitting pattern, were founding members and Julie’s creation was given much thought, fine wool and yarn, sensible colours and definitely, NO POM POMS.
Unfortunately, or not , as we shall see in HINDSIGHT, the ladies spent so much time oohing and aahing over their creation that they forgot to firmly knot the final stitch and left a thread hanging.

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Don't Judge a Book... By Natalie L

If you’ve been scrolling past my Parkinson’s awareness posts, that’s okay. But please consider reading this last one. This one is less clinical and a little more personal. Having PD has taught me many things, but I think the most important is how I was spontaneously and unwittingly judging other people. Or making assumptions. I don’t mean about someone I’ve known for a while, but rather just a face I may pass on the street or in a store. Body language says a lot to us and PD can distort the first impression that is presented to people. Masking, where a PWP (person with Parkinson’s) experiences immobility of facial muscles, can put an emotionless expression on the face which often gets interpreted as uncaring or angry. Tightness of muscles and a shaky voice can give the impression of nervousness or anxiety. The way PD (and other diseases) can twist up the body and cause speech difficulties can give the impression of mental challenges.

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Dave A's PD Story

I was diagnosed at age 46, in April of 2017, smack in the middle of Parkinson's Awareness Week. I can’t decide if that is ironic, or fitting.

It’s hard to say when the Parkinson’s actually really began. I had symptoms for several years prior, but they were always dismissed as something else. Neck and shoulder pain and stiffness were said to be caused by a previous injury. Olfactory hallucinations (phantom smells) and loss of smell were blamed on sinus issues. Extreme fatigue was blamed on depression/allergies/laziness. Issues like anxiety, apathy, and mild cognitive issues were hidden by me and so slow to arise that they didn’t cause alarm

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"Parkingson's"... by Virginia W.

This guy at the is coffee house tried to flirt with me. I took of my ring earlier that day, because I was cooking and didn’t want to get the ring dirty. So of course, he didn’t realize I was taken. Not his fault. I was trying to ignore him, but then he started to rant about people who didn’t look disabled, and park in disabled parking spot, even though they have placards. He didn’t realize he was talking to one of his said people. He finally got my attention and I said “I have Parkinson’s and I get dizzy getting out and standing out of my vehicle, and sometimes my meds are off, and I have trouble walking when my meds are not working properly, and my next dose is hours away. I try not to park in handicap spots when I can, but sometimes I just can’t help it. Have you tried to find a close parking spot when you can’t walk right. Boy is that hard at times.”

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University of Alabama Grad student needs your help! PD Nutrition Study

Hello! My name is Christine Ferguson, and I am a Nutrition graduate student in the Department of Human Nutrition and Hospitality Management at the University of Alabama. I am currently doing my thesis on current dietary supplement use of individuals with Parkinson’s disease. I would like to invite anyone age 18 or older with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease to participate in this study. Participation involves answering questions on an online survey. They survey questions will likely take ~5-10 minutes of your time to complete. Your participation is voluntary and anonymous. Those with Parkinson’s disease may receive assistance to complete this survey if needed. If you are interested in participating, please access the link below to review the informed consent for this study and to access the survey questions.

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Mo OnstadComment
Rocky C.

What if something damaged the dopamine producers in a person's brain? Surely, they would eventually be diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease.

In this case, injecting some type of dopamine (or synthetic dopamine) directly into their brain would help the problem, but these injections would need to be on a continual basis, probably every few hours. This is not feasible, so let's try ingesting that same substance every few hours. Sounds good, except that the stomach and intestines would digest the substance, and it would never reach the brain, where it's needed. Ok, now let's add a drug to this substance that would stop the digestive system from absorbing the dopamine. Good idea. The dopamine can now get into the bloodstream and make it to the brain, where it's needed. It's my understanding that this is exactly what Carbidopa and Levodopa are designed to do. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

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Mo OnstadComment