Saturday, March 10, 2012

A day with Parkinson's Disease

Over the past 6 months, many people have asked me what it's like for me to live on a day to day basis - especially since people see me smiling all the time. Friends have asked me over and over again how I can maintain such a positive attitude, even while battling PD every day and every moment. So for today, I thought I would give everyone a taste of what my routine day is like: I usually wake up around 6:45, maybe 7, and since I'm a guy, obviously the first thing I do know.....go #1 lol. Immediately I walk to the kitchen to take 2 pills (Sinemet - for Parkinsons, and Diovan - for blood pressure). The next 30 minutes consist of typical things like showering, shaving, and drinking a cup of tea. I know....really....tea....but coffee really has an effect on my symptoms, so my Dad introduced me to this tea from Argentina that is supposed to work better for patients with PD. I hate tea, so I add a ton of hazelnut creamer to make it taste good. Dressing isn't much of a problem, but every morning consist of me walking into a room and being confused as to why I'm in there. This happens to just be a progressive sign of PD, and it's about the only thing that frustrates me from time to time. But, I don't dwell on it, so I just keep smiling. Before I leave, my medicine needs some food in my stomach to help the artifical dopamine (Sinemet) to work it's way to my brain. So, either some toast or oatmeal is my breakfast of choice. After that, I have to take another pill (Mirapex ER) which helps the dopamine stay in my system longer. After all that, it's off to work. The only trouble I have before leaving is locking my door, which you all will get to read about in my book. Since I am in medical sales, my day is a lot of driving and sitting in doctor's offices. This is the one thing that has really kept me motivated in my life, doing my job and being able to talk to all kinds of different people everyday. The first few hours in the morning are the best I have, because my medicine is working great, and the tea has helped get me going. However, as lunch time rolls around, yet another symptom of PD is making it's way to my body: chronic fatigue. This is probably the worst of all the symptoms. I am tired 24/7. There isn't 1 second of any day that I'm not tired. For some reason, around lunch time, it's extremely difficult to stay awake. Since I have a full time job, it's all I can do to not go home and take a nap. During the weekend however, the 12 o'clock nap is a must. During the week, it's a strong will to not give in to PD that keeps me going. Mind over matter, right? However, lunch time also means more medicine. And take a wild guess what oen of the side effects of my PD medicine is: FATIGUE AND DROWSINESS! Yippee for me! So, first I swallow my Sinemet, which is shortly followed by lunch, and then my Mirapex ER afterwards. For the next few hours, battling exhaustion is tough, but driving and talking to people in the offices helps me through. Once my work day is done, usually around 5:15 or so, its off to the gym. Most patients with Parkinson's aren't able to exercise regularly, but I continue to do it everyday so that I can feel like a "normal person" again. I either kickbox, lift weights, or go for long runs. Shockingly, the only time I have energy during the day is when I workout, somehow for those 45 minutes to an hour, the chronic fatigue is nonexistent. Once I'm done, I usually get home around 6:30. At this point, I'm starving, but instead of eating first, I have to take my Sinemet again. One little problem happens around this time though. The exercise coincides with my medicine, so once I'm home, my tremors and balance are very bad. Infact, opening my medicine bottles are extremely difficult in the evening. The only example I can give is that it mimics the same result as if you've drank about 10 cups of coffee and you've got the shakes really bad. This is usually the only time where my tremors are bad. I don't mind it though, because my two dogs are the only two that see me this way, and they don't mind it at all.....I wait about 10 minutes for the Sinemet to work its way into my body and then eat a light snack so that it will really kick in. Afterwards, I will eat a light dinner, then take my last Mirapex ER for the evening. By this time it's around 7:30 and I just now get a chance to relax on my couch and catch an episode of Seinfeld. For anyone that knows me, I am only able to stay awake until about 9 before my chronic fatigue tells me that my body has got to go to bed. What's ironic about this is that I lay down in bed, dead tired, but can't ever fall asleep. How is that possible? I'm awake for 14 hours - extremely exhausted for every second of them, but when it's bedtime, I can't ever fall asleep. I usually toss and turn for hours, until my brain and body finally shut off and I fall into a deep sleep. However, there is one thing I do enjoy about this down time in bed. Since my brain isn't trying to think or perform a duty, I'm completely symptom free. I actually sit and stare at my hands for a few minutes and see them completely still. I smile because I used to rely on alcohol at night to do this. Now, since I've stopped drinking like I did before, I allow my body to just act as it may. Now looking at this screen, I'm just realizing how long this was lol. I hope you all will read it in its entirety. So, that's it.......just a normal day for me. If anyone out there ever sees me without a smile on my face, please don't hesitate to remind me. Afterall, life's pretty good. I usually fall asleep with a smile on my face, knowing that when I wake up, I get to do it all over again :)


  1. God bless you David and you are an inspiration! I really look forward to reading your book...

  2. I love you David you keep hanging in there and always remember God is on your side.
    I can't wait for the book to come out!

    Love Ya,
    Aunt Cherry Lynn

  3. David u are an inspiration to ppl and I too wanna read your book, my grandfather who past away 3 years ago and might I say was more like my father, also had parkinson,I read up on this and talked with his doctors, but never until now did I know the extent of his symptoms, or what a day for him must have been like....Thank u for sharing these blogs and I will continue to read them...What's ironic is I always loved Michael J Fox, and once he came forward and told the world that he had PD it only made me love him more and want to keep up with him...I don't wanna say my heart breaks for u, because u don't seem like that's what u want, but either way u have to be an amazing man!!! God bless u...

  4. What a day. God bless are a inspiration!