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    • #20294
      Mary Beth Skylis
      Moderator

       

      My Dad (diagnosed in 2013) commonly tells me that stress seems to exacerbate his symptoms. If he runs into a financial predicament, or something doesn’t go according to plan, he often experiences worsened tremors. One way that he’s learned to mitigate these changes is through diet and exercise. How do you minimize the stress in your life? And what are some of your favorite ways to manage stress?

    • #20325
      Garrett McAuliffe
      Participant

      Reducing stress  is a major effort of mine. After plowing through 10 years of Parkinsons while working, I am about to retire. That takes away one stress. Also, any concentration type of thinking increases my tremors and other symptoms. I often lie or sit down and do mindful meditation in between any tasks. I tend not to socialize as much as I once did. But I don’t want to give up my connections to other people either. So I have a zoom call with friends who I grew up with once a week and even though it’s tremor increasing, it’s worth it. So even. good stress like excitement and conversation increase my symptoms as does work stress. One challenge is trying to help around the house and do things with my wife does not have Parkinson’s. I used to do lots of house tasks and gardening but I just have to do what I can.  Finally, I have my rule of “one thing in a row. “That means that I’ll do one thing socially or cooking or raking leaves or using the computer and have a liedown time in between any stressful events. Again, the challenge is to remain sociable enough when socializing causes Parkinson’s symptoms to be exacerbated. Ironically, I’m not looking forward to the end of the pandemic for the sake of the increase in social events like dinners and visits.

      • #22938
        Alan M
        Participant

        I can really relate to many of your stressors, Garrett.  I’ve been a therapist for the past 15 years… which took me into tutoring at a local college and many sessions of Psyc Ed.  I can’t do these things as well anymore.  But I have  little choice, really.  I’m glad to see you have options — like retiring.  I’m  66 and have three teenage boys still at home.  They need to be fed, housed and the youngest provided for.  So here it is — “Hi ho, hi ho, if off to work I go!”

        I find remaining sociable as a therapist in a smaller city quite challenging.  I guess, if the truth be told, I’ve never been very sociable throughout my lifetime.  I think I might start Tai chi, and “Counterpunch” boxing this year; which should allow me to meet others in these groups.  Good luck with your PD life transitions.  They can take us places we might never have suspected before the diagnosis.  Cheers, Alan.

    • #20332
      Jeffery Hill
      Participant

      My symptoms are similar to your Dad’s.  When I experience stress, my tremor amplifies big time.  So stress avoidance is a key solution, and among other tactics I chose to retire early to get that whole work stress thing out of my life.  I also exercise frequently, although the closure of gyms due to COVID has caused a wrinkle in that plan.

    • #20340
      Garrett McAuliffe
      Participant

      I have retired after 32 years at the university as a professor and 18 previous years being a teacher and a counselor. So at 72, I’ve called it quits because it is way too stressful in my 11 years since diagnosis to have any pressures like that. I too experience my increasing tremor when I have to do financial thinking or tasks that pile on together. I may have responded to this before but I try to take every task one at a time and then take a break. Task, break, task, break. We walk the dogs I come home and rest. I work in the garden and pick rest. I’m doing some work on the computer I break in between. That is unlikely Type A that I’ve always been so it is a learning process. I have to explain this to my spouse, As it could be seen as being lazy and I contribute. Instead of multitasking, I heard someone describe it as semi-tasking – Doing half as much and being OK with it.

    • #22945
      John Citron
      Participant

      Similarly, this is the same for me as well. I mentioned this to my doctor at my last visit. For a big part of my adult life, I lived and worked under stress. It wasn’t until 2018 when the very famous you know what came to an end and my symptoms did too.

      During this time, I was working fulltime, attending evening classes online as I was finishing up my BS IT degree and trying to do the other stuff at home. If the work stress wasn’t bad enough, coming home to the rest only added to it because there was such high tension from what was going on there as well. I had a failing elder parent along with abusive siblings. One who threatened to push me down the stairs. Work ultimately came to a sudden halt in September 2012 and there was a sense of loss, but relief too but that didn’t last for long.

      In my technical support occupation, I was responsible for 700 employees, 680 in-house and 20 in the field plus training new teammates, inventory, security clearances, and other tasks. After nearly falling at work, I was put on probation and told to get my act together because I wasn’t keeping up with the team. It didn’t matter that I was closing 350 tickets a month. My boss was going to terminate me because I had 50 tickets open in my queue. It didn’t matter that I received 3 awards for excellent performance and support. He was young at 22 and didn’t have a clue. It was then that I sought out disability because staying on top of things mentally and physically was becoming a challenge more than I could bare.

      During this time, I would go home and could barely get out of my car. I couldn’t stand up. I was tremulous, lacked coordination, had vertigo, and lots of rigidity and stiffness. My medication too had been increased more and more to a point where I was taking a whopping 18 Sinemet daily plus Amantadine, and something else. These left me lightheaded, and nauseas, and didn’t do much at all. My doctor and I did a reevaluation and we cut back a lot with the introduction of Azilect and later Seligiline due to the cost of the Azilect. This worked a lot at first, but then I was back into more symptoms again.

      Finally, it was in 2018 after my mum passed away, did I feel some relief. It was as if I had reached the end of a tumultuous journey and arrived at a quiet cabin. Today, I’m on a minimal amount of medication. I need a bit more now than I did a couple of years ago, but the stress isn’t there.

      When I am stressed, I tremor right off. I look like my grandfather who had Parkinson Disease with the tremors. I also become stiff, and nothing feels right, and I become outright fatigued.

      Like Garrett, I too can only deal with one thing at a time. If I go food shopping, that’ll be it for the day. The same with a doctor’s appointment at the clinic. After the stressful drive, arriving, parking, and everything else, I’m exhausted and feel that way for a day or so afterwards. Sure, I’m “old” having turned 60 last May, but that’s no excuse. I’m kidding here and it’s a bit of a joke I have with my cousin whose 6 months younger. I’m far from old, yet I am.

      In the past, relieving stress was done by bike riding. I had a route that had a nice ice cream stand located next to the railroad where I would sit and watch the trains pass by. I always managed to time it right to get a good show. Other times, I would walk the trails in the nearby reservations. The spring and fall were my favorite times with the odor of spicy leaves and earth especially in the autumn. Where I live today, this isn’t so much of an option due to the lousy roads and hill I live on, but I’ll take a ride with my brother when he goes metal detecting. The walk is great exercise and the only thing I have to watch out for is poison ivy. When it’s winter or bad weather, I’ll focus on my other hobbies and escape into my virtual railroad world as I work on my routes and sessions. We need that escape from the rotten things to recover and rebuild.

       

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