The weird world of Parkinson’s

Some of you may have noticed that I carry a backpack with me wherever I go. I use it to carry my medication and my food. I take three types of medications to help control my Parkinson’s symptoms. One of those medications I take every 3 hours throughout the day. To help the medication work better, I try not to eat at least an hour before I take it and a half an hour afterwards. This means that I end up eating on a strict schedule throughout the day and so I have to carry food with me wherever I go. There’s a good reason that it’s a backpack too. I’ve mentioned several times that one of my primary symptoms is “gait disturbance” (aka I have trouble walking). Well, if I carry something in my hand I have even more trouble walking. So I carry everything in a backpack.Ready to have your mind blown?I have less trouble walking if I carry something in BOTH hands, as opposed to one hand. I think this is because carrying things in both hands effectively eliminates arm swing, which simplifies the mechanics of walking. Because Parkinson’s makes walking less automatic, the less complex the movement the easier it us to move. Also, I have less trouble walking when I carry heavy things as opposed to light things. I think this is because carrying heavy objects forces my nervous system to incorporate muscles that are not ordinarily used for walking when carrying light things. And perhaps these “heavy things” muscles are more automatic than my “light things” muscles. This is speculation on my part.Parkinson’s is weird.Before I was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease (YOPD) these symptoms were absolutely driving me crazy. In fact, many Parky’s are driven crazy trying to figure out how to make their bodies work. And no two Parky’s have exactly the same symptoms. Now that I know that these crazy symptoms are due to PD, I’ve learned to accept them. Despite what you might think, you cannot “fight” them. Fighting them really only makes them worse. I spent years fighting them. You have to “manage” them. More on that another time. Again, I’m not writing this to complain (OK, maybe a little) but to give you little glimpses into the life of a Parky!

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