Monday, October 01, 2007

Please, no

What is Parkinson's disease?

Parkinson's disease is a movement disorder that is chronic and progressive, meaning that symptoms continue and worsen over time. As many as one million Americans suffer from Parkinson's disease. While approximately 15 percent of people with Parkinson's are diagnosed before the age of 50, incidence increases with age. The cause is unknown, and although there is presently no cure, there are many treatment options such as medication and surgery to manage the symptoms. (For more statistics on Parkinson's disease, read our fact sheet, General Facts on Parkinson's Disease).

Parkinson's disease occurs when a group of cells in an area of the brain called the substantia nigra begin to malfunction and die. These cells in the substantia nigra produce a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter, or chemical messenger, that sends information to the parts of the brain that control movement and coordination. When a person has Parkinson's disease, their dopamine-producing cells begin to die and the amount of dopamine produced in the brain decreases. Messages from the brain telling the body how and when to move are therefore delivered more slowly, leaving a person incapable of initiating and controlling movements in a normal way.

Parkinson's disease can also cause several different symptoms. The specific group of symptoms that an individual experiences varies from person to person. Some of the most common symptoms of Parkinson's disease are:

  • tremor of the hands, arms, legs, jaw and face

  • rigidity or stiffness of the limbs and trunk

  • bradykinesia or slowness of movement

  • postural instability or impaired balance and coordination


Please let my leg tremors not be this. The tremors began on Labor Day, so it's been a month. One or both legs shake almost constantly. I shake when I am standing still. The only reprieve has been as I awaken. The past three mornings, the tremors didn't begin for half an hour after I got up. I have been doing EEG on myself to help, but I don't know if it has.

I also have clawlike stiffness in my right thumb and forefinger sometimes. I find my balance waning as well. My eye blink is more pronounced sometimes.

Last month during the EEG workshop, they found odd brain patterns, but tried to minimize it. Now I realize these tremors are not just nerves, as the GP claimed. As of yesterday, I have an appointment with a neurologist on Oct 19. On Friday, I will have my regular appt with my psychiatrist. I hope she can be more helpful than at my last visit.

I am scared and worried, but keeping it together, waiting for the official.

I can't help but to wonder... How can I raise a son like this? Who on earth will care for me? I have nobody who fills that need. I have so many questions.

My first thought: I'll never get laid again.


brite69 said...

Wow. I sincerely hope it's nothing even remotely close to Parkinson's. I wanted to suggest Restless Leg Syndrom since the TV has been trying to drown me with those ads for, like, the last 6 months, but with the mention of the claw like stiffness, it seems like a pretty silly suggestion.

You'll be in my thoughts.

DD said...

You'll have to wait until the 19th to even see someone?! That's not right. Is it too much to hope you're drinking too much coffee and arthritis is sneaking up on you? Let us know as soon as you can, OK?

Shinny said...

I really hope you don't have it.

But just think, if you are getting laid and he really sucks, the tremors will help you fake it so you don't have to work so hard at that. ;) You know I couldn't help myself, you set it up way too well. Hope you get a smile from my lamea** attempt at humor.

Keep us posted on how things go, wishing for good news for you.

Anonymous said...

I hope you don't have it, too. Can you think back to any family member that in retrospect might have had it? Has anything in your daily routines changed in the past month, any new chemicals or 'weird stuff' besides the legs?

And yeah, I was thinking RLS too.

Cricket said...

I don't think anything is sneaking up on me. In fact, I've gone down on any meds that could cause jitteriness.

There are several Parkinson's like syndromes that it could be. What makes me fear PD is that it stops when I lift my foot whereas others get worse under exertion.

Mostly, I am unsuccessfully trying not to think of it. Getting the appt Oct 19 was a miracle. Every place else only had openings in Nov.

h2o girl said...

Hey babe,
I'm thinking of you and hoping your appointment gives you some answers. And I hope the answer isn't Parkinson's.

Cheesy cyber-hug for you:

Anonymous said...

So sorry you have to wait that long for an appointment, that's not right. I hope it isn't what you fear and that it's fixable, and soon. I'll be thinking of you.

Anonymous said...

Cricket for infomation on Parkinsons, google the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Disease. Which he had suffered from for a long time now.
I have had a few friends and family have it. It can be different for everyone. It seems to take quite awhile for the tremors to become bad, but I am hoping that is not what you have now.
I realize your first thoughts are your son, because you are a great momma.
Lets all pray this is just something else they find a name for.
Much love to you~

Anonymous said...

Hi Cricket, I hope this turns out to be nothing, really hoping that. I know nothing about Parkinsons but now will go do some research, wanted to delurk (very bad reader) to say I'm thinking about you. And also beautiful artwork lately. Ugh. the 19th, that is a long time. Too long.

Well-heeled mom said...

Sincerely hoping the best for you!