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Parkinson’s not a joke

Wednesday November 22, 2006

Sarah Johnson

November 17, 2006(Ledger Dispatch) - If only our Parkinson’s symptoms weren’t real!

Anyone suffering from a progressive, degenerative neurological disease knows the heartbreak of recognizing how the disease robs us of our abilities sometimes slowly over time, sometimes quickly.

Those of us who are afflicted with Parkinson’s Disease face untold pain and loss as Parkinson’s Disease runs its course in each of us. Usually, we start with our movements slowing down, tremors shake one side of our body, our muscles become rigid, frequently an arm hangs useless and we drag one leg. Our handwriting gets smaller and smaller until it is unreadable. Our balance is off and we begin to fall. In fact, before treatment, many of us appear to have had a stroke.

Parkinson’s is a difficult disease to diagnose and even more difficult to treat. Parkinson’s Disease does not go into remission and currently has no cure. For many people, the symptoms disappear with medication, but for many others, the medications will cease to become effective at some point. The shaking, the violent twisting of the body, the frantic flailing of arms is not controllable in those whose medications have quit working. Is it any wonder that Parkinson’s patients don’t want to leave their homes? Who wants to be stared at and made fun of? Especially by a so-called media professional!

I wish it were possible to wish away my symptoms! I wish everyone who has this dreaded disease could have their movements controlled by medications. I wish those in the media who have suggested that we are "acting" would be taken off the air, taken out of print and be forbidden to speak again!