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« Is it time to opt out of the culture of speed? | Main | We owe a lot to the bicycle »
Monday
Aug202018

My Parkinson’s

Two years ago I noticed a slight tremor in my right arm, at the end of 2016 I went to a neurologist who diagnosed me with Parkinson’s disease. When you go to go to a mainstream doctor or neurologist they will tell you there is no cure for Parkinson’s, but take this medication and it will control the symptoms, in other words the tremor. That is what they told me.

The problem is the medication cures nothing and the side effects are horrible. The long term side effects are even worse. Take it for three to five years and it will eventually stop working and then you are completely screwed, and worse off than ever. I should also mention the medication costs $300 for a one month supply. (30 tablets.)

I had noticed when I rode my bike there was no tremor, and I remembered seeing a video on YouTube of a man with Parkinson’s so bad he couldn’t walk. In fact when he tried to walk he fell over.  They put him on a bicycle and he pedaled around a parking lot in normal fashion.  You can view that video here.

In searching for that video, it brought up many more videos of people who are controlling Parkinson’s with diet and exercise. I was already exercising (Riding my bike.) and I also noticed if I walked at a brisk pace, swinging my arms, there was no tremor. In fact if I stand still and swing my arms, there is also no tremor.

Parkinson’s affects subconscious movement, which is why if allowed to progress it will affect the ability to walk. Walking is a subconscious movement. We don’t think about it, because we’ve done it all our life. One has to turn the subconscious into conscious movement.

The same thing if my right arm hangs loosely at my side, the hand will start to tremor. (A resting tremor.) But make a conscious movement like touch my thumb to a fingertip and the tremor stops.  Or better yet, I have a little rubber exercise ball that I roll around between my fingertips, and that keeps the tremors at bay.

I can carry a full glass of wine, or a full cup of coffee in my right hand and not spill any, because it is a conscious movement or action. But pick up a glass to drink and my hand will shake because it is a subconscious movement. I tend to use my left hand to pick up a cup or glass to drink. I still have my motor skills, I can thread a needle for example. Again this is a conscious movement.

The other thing I am doing is following a strict diet. I quit eating meat a year ago. Not because I believe meat is bad in itself, but the way it is produced and what the animals are fed, I thought it best to quit eating it altogether. I eat eggs and fish as a source of protein.

I have also cut out most dairy, bread, sugar and no processed food of course. I eat organic fruits and vegetables, oatmeal and brown rice. It really has not been that hard, and I do feel so much better. I am not advocating that everyone do this, but if you are fighting something as serious as Parkinson’s, then give your body a fighting chance to repair itself.

I have found a doctor who is an MD, but opted out of the mainstream and big pharma fifteen years ago. He has done extensive blood work and tells me I am in great shape, apart from having Parkinson’s. He is now testing for toxic metals that may be in my body.

Why am I revealing this now? I have two daughters living in England, and today I called them and told them of my condition. I figured it was time to tell everyone. Please, I am not looking for sympathy, thoughts or prayers. but I will take encouragement, thank you.

I want to beat this, so I can tell others there is hope. Right now my condition is an annoyance rather than a disability. The fact that it has not progressed beyond that in two years is proof to me that I am on the right track.  And remember, I've done it so far without medication.

Stick with me, it’s going to be an interesting journey.

 

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Reader Comments (19)

Good to hear that your symptoms haven't progressed Dave. You're on much the same diet I've been on this past 25 years too.

August 20, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterStephen McAteer

My Father also had Park, and he also found that building small active routines helped suppress the tremors. He kept doing woodworking.
He didn't really start to have trouble until it began interfering with his ability to swallow. That is when he needed the meds and in the end that is what shortened his life.

August 20, 2018 | Unregistered Commenteredstainless

Imagine using your own immune system to control, and maybe defeat cancers.
It’s in multiple early trial stages, called immunotherapy.

To take it further…

Wow, imagine using your own brain as a coach in training. Or, using that same organ for learning a trade. Or defeating addictions. Or, using it to enjoying life.
It would send many institutions reeling, and bust our current economy.

Is that called "Doctor, heal thyself"?

Would it be worth it?

August 20, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSteve

Dave, the movie "MAMIL" featured a rider who was diagnosed with Parkinson's and uses cycling to control it. Not sure whether the movie is available yet on Netflix.

You might also want to take a look at the book "How Not To Die". It has a chapter on Parkinsons. The book itself is a series of chapters relating to how what you eat impacts illness. As a warning, the book advocates a plant-based diet, which you seem to be pretty much on anyway. I'd suggest that you don't eat eggs (egg chickens are fed the same type of diet butchered poultry eat) and fish... most is farm raised, so not pure either. Just some thoughts.

August 20, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Tonetti

By the way Dave, if you're mostly cutting out dairy you need to make sure you're getting enough calcium. You can get it from some vegetables and / or fortified foods like tofu (Check the label for added calcium).

August 20, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterStephen McAteer

Dave, thanks for this post; it is inspiring (and fascinating)!

It puts me in mind of the fact that many people who have stutters, have no problem singing. Seems like perhaps another instance of the conscious/unconscious distinction? I have no idea if the neurological conditions behind stuttering or parkinson's are in any way related or similar.

August 20, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRubeRad

Dave - I worked as a researcher in small and big pharmaceutical companies for quite a while. It's amazing how many of my co-workers agreed with me that medicine is not always the answer. We all knew that a healthier lifestyle, better diet, exercise and lower stress usually helped a lot with a lot of chronic illnesses.

In my own family there are people who look for a pill to cure their ills. When I mention that they could probably help themselves along by adjusting their lifestyle I usually get an answer like, "But that's not medicine." It's like beating my head up against a wall sometimes.

Your approach is a healthy one. The medication for Parkinson's is a stop-gap at best and holding off for as long as possible is a good idea. Your lifestyle changes may help, and even if they have no therapeutic effect you'll at least feel better for having made them. I will follow your progress with interest.

August 20, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterYohann M

Dave, I know you will win, as you always have. I agree about meds, too many take too many and there is always a better way out. In fact, I have high blood pres, per my Dr. He wanted me to take pills, I told him the reason I have Hight B/P is YOU and my distaste of going to the Drs or Dentist. I am now 85 ride 40 plus miles a day (3200 so far this year) on a 23-pound steel bike, up bloody hills that many chaps on C/F bike's walk up and I have high blood Pres??? Like the old song, we played in my band "Whatever will be, will be". HUH!!! Like my cycling jersey, say's on the back "Just ride the bloody bike"

August 21, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterjohn crump

One more thought Dave. Your comments, about NOT wanting, sympathy, thoughts or prayers, shows that you have a good attitude and you are confident in yourself to overcome YOUR problems. I think one saying covers all problems. "IT IS WHAT IT IS" No matter how much sympathy, thoughts OR prayers, No one will solve this but YOU and YOUR attitude. Faith, in yourself, is all that counts. WOW, I can't believe I said that!!!!

August 21, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterjohn crump

Dave, I applaud your keeping control of your life. You are a very intelligent man, and are eminently capable of deciding what is best for you. I agree with John above that you have a great attitude!

August 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterLee K

You can beat it!

August 22, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterChris from California

Dave, Your attitude and fortitude give much encouragement. The power of positive thinking has contributed to your success in overcoming the effects of Parkinson's. Thank you for the inspiring thoughts.Food for thought for many. Thanks for the inspiring article. Marcia Crump

August 23, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterjohn crump

Thanks for sharing Dave, it's a map for us all. As we say in London, " f&*k it! get on wiv it"

Sticking wiv ya mate.

August 25, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterKeith

Good luck, Dave! Thinking of you and hoping you keep having fun.

August 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMoz in Oz

Dave, here is an athlete with Parkinsons who was featured on the show American Ninja Warrior and he discusses how exercise was critical for managing the symptoms. http://video.foxnews.com/v/5825922579001/?#sp=show-clips

August 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJim

“Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food” Hippocrates

It's been true for thousands of years, but it's pretty hard to find a modern MD who knows and practices it.

You can beat this.

August 26, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJulio

thank you, Dave!
best regards from Bucharest, Romania!
Mircea (39 years old)

August 28, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMircea Andrei Ghinea

Inspirational, persevere and best of luck in remaining healthy and active Dave.

September 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJack

I'm sorry to hear this, Dave. I know diagnosis like this can be frightening. My mother was diagnosed with Parkinson's a few years ago.

Like you, she found that exercise (yoga in her case) helps quite a bit.

Keep attacking this from all angles. Best of luck.

September 1, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEric Hancock

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