Parkinson’s Progression Leaves My Sister Increasingly Frustrated
As I write this, I am feeling impatient, frustrated, anxious, and a bit concerned. The source of my anxiety and concern relates to my sister Bev and her Parkinson’s disease (PD).
Bev was diagnosed in 2017 and currently has stage 3 Parkinson’s. I’m concerned because she thinks her disease may be progressing. Among the current symptoms of her possible Parkinson’s progression are increased difficulty with gait and balance, increased short-term memory issues, and chronic fatigue. I definitely have noticed her decreasing cognitive function when speaking with her on the phone.
Bev is still able to carry out daily activities, including dressing, bathing, cooking, and baking, but she struggles with memory, concentration, verbalization, and certain tasks.
“I am forgetful, have poor memory with names and numbers, and it is difficult to remember and focus on things,” she told me. “This is not only frustrating for me, but also for my family.”
Bev’s neurologist has ordered an MRI and cognitive testing in early June to evaluate her symptoms and the degree of Parkinson’s progression.
One cause of cognitive issues in PD is a decreased level of dopamine. According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, “Other brain changes are likely also involved in cognitive decline in PD. Scientists are looking at changes in two other chemical messengers — acetylcholine and norepinephrine — as possible additional causes of memory and executive function loss in Parkinson’s.”
Of all these PD challenges, I asked Bev which frustrated her the most these days. “Trouble walking, not being able to remember things, or being unable to think of the right word,” she responded. “When I think about how I used to be able to do things by myself, it sometimes makes me mad and a little depressed. I feel like I have lost my independence and am losing myself.”
Fellow Parkinson’s News Today columnist Jean Mellano relates this beautifully in a column titled “For Parkinson’s Patients, the Sense of Loss Is Relentless.” Mellano writes: “Parkinson’s disease is a disease of loss. It chips away one’s ability to perform seemingly mindless tasks.”
Bev says that she also becomes frustrated with feeling tired all the time. She says that sometimes she feels that she could sleep forever. The smallest task exhausts her.
There is no definitive cause for the fatigue associated with PD, but according to the American Parkinson Disease Association, “It is likely a combination of interacting causes, only some of which we understand and can modify.” Some fatigue may be related to medications or aging, the association noted.
Bev presses on despite the possible effects of Parkinson’s progression. She says, “I will keep on doing what I can, when I can, to the best of my ability.”
Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.