David Chedester, a 2001 graduate of Middlesboro High School visited and spoke with students last week while signing copies of his book, “Shakin Not Stirred: Finding Perseverance Through Parkinson’s”. David described the book as a “long, gut wrenching downward spiral about how Parkinson’s and a lot of things in my life were leading me in the wrong direction, but I woke up one day and saw Parkinson’s as a second chance at a positive life and it’s worked for me so far.
He continued, “I actually began writing the book last February after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s at age 27. I started writing it because I had been drinking a lot and my life was sort of going in the wrong direction. My neurologist advised me to get out pen and paper and start a journal or get behind a laptop and start typing about how I was feeling. One day’s journal turned into a chapter and that led to another couple of chapters and before I knew it, I had 290 pages of writing. I ended up sending it to an editor who read over it and said he saw a book there. Editors do what they do and so he took 290 pages and turned it into 140 when he sent it back to me, and it worked out really well. We sent the manuscript to AuthorHouse Publishing Company and they picked it up, and they’ve been great ever since.”
David says many different people will find his book interesting. “When I first published “Shakin’ Not Stirred”, I began to wonder what audience I was trying to target. The book really took off in Roanoke, Virginia where I currently live. A lot of people there have read it and it has gotten great reviews. There’s only about 1,000,000 people in the United States that have Parkinson’s. That’s a very limited group. The book can really target anybody that either themselves or a family member is dealing with cancer, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, diabetes or anything that is devastating to hear. I think anyone can relate to what the book is about because everyone goes through tough times and hopefully people can find a way to persevere, which is what the book is about.”
David explained Parkinson’s Disease by saying “Parkinson’s is a neurological disorder. By the time you’re diagnosed about 80 percent of your dopamine cells are gone. Dopamine is a chemical the brain uses to send signals to nerve cells in order to control your body. In most Parkinson’s patients you’ll see tremors and their hands will shake. A lot of them have a hard time walking, and difficulty speaking. The two most famous people with the disease are Muhammad Ali and Michael J. Fox. Muhammad Ali is probably the first one people think about simply because his condition has progressed so fast. He has what is called the “Parkinson’s Mask Face”, where he basically can’t talk. Both he and Michael J. Fox have become icons for Parkinson’s disease and have raised millions and millions of dollars for research. Right now there is medicine to treat the symptoms, but there’s yet no medicine to actually treat the disease and prevent it from progressing. The main drug that people take is Levodopa. It came out 40 years ago and is still the gold standard, and still works alleviating the symptoms. It allows me to work, exercise and so on, but unless there is more money raised for a cure there’s no telling what the next 10 or 15 years will be like.”
There was refreshments set up in the Middlesboro High School Library where David spoke in front of a nice gathering of friends and family.
Several members of David’s family joined him for the recent book signing at Middlesboro High School, including his brother Clint who drove all the way from Northern New Jersey to Middlesboro. Left to right: Clint Chedester (brother), Susan Chedester (mom), Robert Chedester (dad), Cherry Stamper (aunt), and Melody Stamper (cousin)
2001 Middlesboro High School graduate and author of “Shakin’ Not Stirred: Finding Perseverance Through Parkinson’s” is shown above at a recent book signing held at MHS.