Author Archives: Dr. C

Loud Emotions Can Be Risky. Here’s How to Change Course

They all stood and watched the dog run through my gardens, trampling the newly transplanted iris and hostas. Neighbors called for their poorly trained dog to come. It did not. It continued in its role as a canine tank. I love my gardens. I put a lot of sweat into…

Overwhelmed and Immobile: What to Do When Motivation Vanishes

Looking frantic, Neo, my brain’s imaginary neocortex, sighs. “I can’t handle all of this,” he says. “Tips on how to live better with a chronic disease, tips on managing chronic pain, tips on depression and putting on a new face. I get overwhelmed just thinking about it…

Putting Your Best Face Forward

The image of Parkinson’s disease I called a caricature in a previous column about depression does not match how I see the illness, nor does it match what most people experience. We need a new face for the disease that reflects how people experience it, and that offers possibility…

A Fresh Look at Depression and Chronic Illness

When everything was at its worst, the darkness engulfed me. I yell out, “I hate my life.” In 2017, an estimated 7.1% of all U.S. adults had been diagnosed with depression at some point in their lives. It is much worse for those with a chronic…

Let’s Face It: Mindful Mouth Movements Are Needed

I bit my tongue hard enough to draw blood, releasing that unique rusty-iron taste. This wasn’t the first time. When I have had multiple teeth removed (leaving open spaces for a few weeks while artificial teeth were being made), my mouth muscles had difficulty adjusting. The consequences are quite painful.

10 Tips for Dealing with Chronic Pain

My previous columns about pain and chronic pain seem to have fallen a bit short for my liking. So, following are some commonsense tips that I use when medically appropriate. I hope they help you as they’ve helped me. Tip 1: I exercise. It may seem counterintuitive…

Rewiring the Brain: Taking a Fresh Look at Chronic Pain

For 15 years, I have been a failure at managing my chronic pain. I was prescribed oxycodone with gabapentin, and after my Parkinson’s diagnosis, I was put on levodopa. This decreased my pain to the point where oxycodone was no longer needed. I also tried alcohol and marijuana in a…

Rethinking Exercise With Parkinson’s

I hate facing the effort it takes to start daily exercise. I hate the way I feel the next day — like I have been pummeled with nunchuks. But ever since my Marine Corps training I have enjoyed the benefits of exercise. I know it is hard to get…

A Crack in the Wellness Shield

Sirens, flashing red and blue hazard lights, and Dr. C slumped in a gray felt recliner with the pallor to match. A greatly worried Neo (the neocortex of Dr. C’s brain mentioned in previous columns) exclaims, “What is going on here?” Mrs. Dr. C pokes her head out from around…

Beginning the Journey Back to Health

Hell on earth, that’s what it was. I was shocked by becoming legally blind in addition to worsening Parkinson’s symptoms, including what I call SEM (surges of exaggerated mood) attacks, chronic pain, and fatigue. People used to say, “You don’t look like you have Parkinson’s.” But recent…