Who’s Up First in Your Team?

Samantha Felder avatar

by Samantha Felder |

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Spring is finally here, and when I think spring, I think baseball. Just like in baseball, where each team has a roster of players, Parkinson’s patients have their own teams of professionals in their lineup. Let me tell you about my team and its batting order.

For my team, the Shakers, leading off is yours truly. Remember, as the patient, you are the most important player on this team. You are the one dealing with the day-to-day symptoms, and it’s imperative that you speak up at appointments and any treatment decision points.

Batting second are the caregivers. These are generally your family, but companies can also provide caregiving services for a fee. I have two sets of caregivers — my husband and my parents. They communicate with each other, often sharing their observations about my condition.

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In the third spot is Dr. Ramon Gil, my movement disorder specialist (MDS). How are MDSs different from traditional neurologists? Traditional neurologists specialize in all areas of the nervous system, including the brain, the spinal cord, and the nerves. While an MDS has received that same training, they have also gotten additional training specifically in movement disorders, such as Parkinson’s.

Batting fourth through sixth, all wearing number 3, are Amy, Bill, and Cody. They are specialists in, respectively, speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. These therapists help inform and educate you, as well as the rest of your team, to help you make accommodations and become familiar with new Parkinson disease (PD) therapies on the market. Two PD therapies that all of these individuals are familiar with are the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT) Big and Loud programs, which help recalibrate movement and voice, respectively.

Batting in the seventh spot is my counselor. Two PD symptoms that many patients face are anxiety and depression. One of the best decisions I have made since being diagnosed is going to see a counselor. They are able to come in with an unbiased view of the situation and give you some tools to help control your symptoms in your everyday life.

In the eighth spot, wearing number 200, is the Parkinson’s Foundation. The people who work at this nonprofit organization are a wealth of knowledge related to the field. They will help you get connected with other patients through support groups, as well as inform you about upcoming events in the area that might interest you.

Batting ninth is Shikha Shrestha, my primary doctor. While you should see your MDS regularly, your primary is also important in your care. They’ll be able to keep in check any other underlying health conditions. Many PD patients have secondary conditions on top of PD. In my case, it’s neurologic orthostatic hypotension (extremely low blood pressure).

It’s important to have the right people in place to ensure that you get the best care possible. Do you have the right match of players on your team, or do you need to go back and rework your lineup?

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.


Mike avatar


Very insightful article Samantha. It is incredibly important that we have great health teams. I really love my On-Line LSVT program. My MDS Dr. Sphrecher has been very important to both me and my wife.

Also critical to me are my Pals who share this diagnosis. Though not trained professional these 2 guys give me honest opinions as they share my journey. I have begun acupuncture which seems to help. Linda is my massage therapist , Carol and Rachel are my new physical therapists. The truth is I can have a ton of specialist around me but if I am not willing to do the work required their is not much they can tell me.
There is no ‘Magic Bullet’. Samantha I am sure that you do the work. Writing is very special work. Blessings, Mike


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