Facing up to P.D.

Revisiting that personal journey.

I deliberately chose that sub-heading because Wednesday’s post is going into the details of a consultation that Jean had with Dr. John Nutt, MD, a neurologist at the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) in Portland, last Monday, 9th July.

Jean wants me to share the details with you because it is quite likely, nay, almost certainly, that some of you dear readers know of someone close to you that has Parkinson’s Disease (P.D.).

The balance of today’s post, to be continued tomorrow, is a reposting of something I published on February 24th, 2016.


 Life is a one-way track.

Those of you who follow this place on a regular basis know that last Friday I published a post under the title of Friday Fondness. You will also know that later that same day I left this comment to that post:

Sue, and everyone else, we returned from seeing Dr. Lee, the neurologist, a little under two hours ago. Dr. Lee’s prognosis is that Jean is showing the very early signs of Parkinson’s disease, and Jean is comfortable with me mentioning this.

Everyone’s love and affection has meant more than you can imagine. I will write more about this next week once we have given the situation a few ‘coatings of thought’.

Jean sends her love to you all!

Thus, as heralded, I am going to write some more.

You would not be surprised to hear that the last few days have been an emotional roller-coaster, for both Jean and me. Including on Monday Jean hearing from our local doctor here in Grants Pass, OR, that a recent urine test has shown that Jean has levels of lead in her bones some three times greater than the recommended maximum. While our doctor is remaining open-minded it remains to be seen whether Jean is exhibiting symptoms of lead poisoning, whether the lead is a possible cause of the Parkinson’s disease (PD), see this paper, or whether it is a separate issue to be dealt with.

However, I want to offer some more from the consultation that Jean had with the neurologist Dr. Eric Lee last Friday. Shared with the full support of Jean who has read the whole of today’s post yesterday evening; as she does with every post published in this place.

But before so doing, please understand that while I was present throughout the complete examination of Jean, what you are about to read carries no more weight than that of any casual onlooker. If you are at all affected by any of the following make an appointment to see your own doctor!

Jean’s examination lasted for about an hour. It consisted of a great number of checks and tests on how her body responded to many different tests and stimulations. At the end of the examination Dr. Lee said that while he wasn’t 100% certain the balance of probability was that Jean was demonstrating the very early signs of PD. For example, showing such signs as walking and not swinging both arms in a normal, balanced manner. Or having a very slow blink rate. Then she was exhibiting some difficulty with rapid finger-to-thumb taps.

However, Dr. Lee did say that Jean was at the very early stages of PD and that we would have to wait another six months to see if the PD indicators were firming up. He also said that he had PD patients who had had the disease for twenty, even thirty years. Some of the general indicators that PD is progressing include a stooped gait, decreasing size of handwriting, and a quieter speaking tone. The NINDS website has more information on this. Here’s a little of what they explain about PD:

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease (PD) belongs to a group of conditions called motor system disorders, which are the result of the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells. The four primary symptoms of PD are tremor, or trembling in hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face; rigidity, or stiffness of the limbs and trunk; bradykinesia, or slowness of movement; and postural instability, or impaired balance and coordination. As these symptoms become more pronounced, patients may have difficulty walking, talking, or completing other simple tasks. PD usually affects people over the age of 60.  Early symptoms of PD are subtle and occur gradually.  In some people the disease progresses more quickly than in others.  As the disease progresses, the shaking, or tremor, which affects the majority of people with PD may begin to interfere with daily activities.  Other symptoms may include depression and other emotional changes; difficulty in swallowing, chewing, and speaking; urinary problems or constipation; skin problems; and sleep disruptions.  There are currently no blood or laboratory tests that have been proven to help in diagnosing sporadic PD.  Therefore the diagnosis is based on medical history and a neurological examination.  The disease can be difficult to diagnose accurately.   Doctors may sometimes request brain scans or laboratory tests in order to rule out other diseases.

But here’s the good news regarding my darling wife – there are three things that Dr. Lee strongly recommends:

  1. Hang on to a positive mental attitude for the body actively produces dopamine when in a positive mental state.
  2. At least 30-minutes of good aerobic exercise three times a week,
  3. And physiotherapy.

In addition, Dr. Lee said to always THINK BIG! Big in voice, big in attitude, big in stature.

Finally, let me share with you what was posted on the Visible Procrastinations blog back in 2009. Reposted with the author’s permission.


That article first seen on Visible Procrastinations will be republished tomorrow. Once more I must stress that I write to you purely as Jean’s husband. I have no medical skills or knowledge at all and if you are at all affected by any of the following make an appointment to see your own doctor!

24 thoughts on “Facing up to P.D.

  1. We are all so full of diseases, we actually end up dying. Some diseases can be treated early, and abated. Not the case of Parkinson Disease (actually growing allergy and ineffectuality against the treatment is a problem with the L Dopa treatment; deep brain stimulation invented in Grenoble, France, is the ultimate treatment). But lead infestation can be treated and should be, right away. Old paint, or bad cooking utensils are obvious causes. (This being said, I was never tested for lead, maybe explaining my dense thinking.)

    Living well means not thinking too much of what could go wrong…. because, in the end, it always will Life is an incurable disease with a fatal issue. For very old people with some types of cancer, it has been suggested that aggressively searching for disease, or even curing it is counterproductive. Another thing I know as a mountain runner, is that neurological reactivity can be boosted up (and has to be when one gets started again; for example right now I have a knee injury, when and if I can run hard again, my neurology will be unable to follow initially, this has happened many times before!)

    Let Jean get well!


    1. Many thanks, Patrice. I should underline that this was a reposting of an item published over two years ago. It’s a ‘lead in’ to my post coming along on Wednesday because so many readers will not have read that. That is not to disagree, in the slightest, with the key points you raise. Thank you!


  2. It is good to share the information Paul. Please thank Jean for allowing publication of her journey through Parkinson’s disease. Her stoic resilience on sharing what can only be described as deeply personal, will benefit anyone experiencing symptoms, and help them to get early diagnosis also.

    Vegan doctor, Michael Greger has published some studies on Parkinson’s, and they may be of help in finding the right diet.


    It is interesting to note Patrice’s comment that we must die of something. True, but we can take measures to make that journey as easy and as comfortable as possible. May Jean’s journey be helped by her huge capacity for love. Certainly, we, your readers, all wish her the best as she moves through her life now.


  3. Dear Colette: Let me try to make my thoughts more encompassing. It’s not just that we must die of something, it’s like, especially as we gain in years, we are all dying of something. Sometimes the best attitude is not to concentrate on it. Moreover, everything indicates that, as people age, they are often TOO delicate with themselves.

    PD is caused by exposition to chemicals (agricultural insecticides, household chemicals, or synthetic drugs). Nothing to do about it…. except compensation by increased activity. More generally, as we age, motor controlled neurology, in all cases, decay. The one and only countermeasure we have is violent neurological activity. As in powerlifting. This has been indicated by research published in 2018… But it was long obvious. So the way to “comfort” is the discomfort of maximum motor-neurological… hmmm… violence. Too much local gentleness doesn’t optimize overall comfort and gentleness… I guess that’s one of my overall philosophical messages… Not one popular with the PC crowd…

    On a more positive note, I just met with an old friend. He recognized my voice. He is going blind, it can’t be fixed, but he can still walk (as long as he doesn’t have to cross a road)… But still he is fighting, even doing climbing with guides… That’s the spirit.


    1. Ah, yes, I understand now Patrice. Thank you for the clarification. I am going through a few of my own personal trials at the moment, not PD, but nevertheless, all opinions are helpful. Getting old is not for the feint hearted. 🙏


    2. Patrice, when you write “This has been indicated by research published in 2018…” do you have some academic papers in mind? And, if so, could you share those details here?


  4. Paul, my best wishes to Jean! Thank her for sharing such personal information about PD. It might be helpful for some of your followers. My hopes and prayers are with you both at this time. 📚 Christine


  5. Sending all the best to you both. The best thing you have going for you is each other and your herd of love. I understand what you are going through like you can’t even imagine. I’ve been following sporadically though a bit more silently these days.


  6. Paul and Jean especially you know you are loved and I send Jean all the best, Thank you for sharing what is happening right now regarding Jeans condition. And for you Jean to be courageous in sharing it with us all.. And hold onto those positives.. I know there are many variations, and my own Dr had to retire due to PD.. Though I did not know too much about the disease,
    Many thanks for keeping us informed.. And I send you my healing thoughts, you are both very special.
    Love and Hugs Sue//
    I will be back later to catch more of your posts, Its time I made tea.. 🙂


      1. We are ALL of us beautiful People, there are just those who sometimes forget just how beautiful they are which makes the rest of us look better.. 🙂 We’re not.. But there has to be opposites in order for us to experience.. So pleased to be among beautiful friends here on WP..


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