30 Days of Parkinson’s: My Parkinson’s Journey

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30 Days of Parkinson's

Photo courtesy of Marcia Drost

Day 6 of 30

This is Marcia Drost’s story:

My name is Marcia Drost, and I have Parkinson’s. I am a wife, mother, grandmother, and educator. Once while teaching a summer school class, I introduced the syllabus, and then the room seem to swim before my eyes. I told the class I needed a break and then passed out cold on the floor. EMTs were called and I was tested. They found nothing. 

It was suggested I see my primary care physician, who ran three tests and referred me to a local neurologist. During my visit, I was informed I had Parkinson’s. Waiting in his lobby for 20 minutes before being seen, I had my first introduction to what advanced Parkinson’s looked like, and it was scary. I immediately started looking for information and found our local Parkinson’s support group. 

I was put on Sinemet within months and found it very helpful, although over time my dosage increased to 10 pills a day. At that time DBS, or deep brain stimulation, was recommended. I had the implant in 2015, and a battery replacement in 2019. What a difference it made! My shakiness is totally under control and regular visits to my neurologist allow them to tweak the stimulator to optimum efficiency. 

During a visit in December 2017, I told the doc my symptoms were progressing quite rapidly. They checked my DBS unit. It had been turned off for months. It was then I found out about monitors at various stores that could catch “thieves” but they could also inadvertently turn off my DBS unit.       

Because of swallowing problems, I have had an esophageal dilation done multiple times. Early after my diagnosis, the Big and Loud Program was recommended and I went through that, which my husband described as restoring my teacher’s voice. Since then, in different physical therapy sessions, I have had modified lessons in Big and Loud concerning movement, whereas the first time it was concentrated on voice projection. 

To manage my symptoms, I have resorted to heavy dependence on the following: assistive technology, my service dog, mind games, exercise, and a great physical therapist!  

Keep a positive attitude, and remember that laughter is always the best medicine. 

Parkinson’s News Today’s 30 Days of Parkinson’s campaign will publish one story per day for Parkinson’s Awareness Month in April. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this, using the hashtag #30DaysofPAR, or go here to see the full series.