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Biography
Name

Vickie Paul

Year of Birth

12/17/1947

Gender

Female

Location

Southeastern PA

Relationship

Patient

Short Bio

Almost 72 year old GiGi (Grandma) with a 10 year old grandson who lives with me and my 77 year old sister.  Six years since diagnosis, fairly mild symptoms but it was almost a relief because Parkinson’s is so weird.

I had the drools if I bent over and opened my mouth. I had eye flutters (tremor of the eyelids). Some tremor of the left hand (I’m left handed), the real world dreams full of  action and dialog. As the years passed I developed gait and balance issues, choking, explosive sneezes. Like I say, weird. So I teased out the best coping skills, told friends to feel free to laugh as I worked out behavior modifications. Drools: keep your mouth shut! Flutters: Sing (I kid you not). Left hand tremor (supposed to affect non-dominant hand but it makes no never mind to me). The midnight movie watching insomniacs would bring popcorn, next day tell me their interpretation of the action though hampered by fuzzy dialog.

Early on my Neurologist warned me to exercise – use it or lose it. So I joined the YMCA, started with yoga, 1 hour 2x/week, TaiChi 1 hour / week, and Feldenkrais 2 hours 2x / week. They call it “Awareness through Movement”, basically finding under utilized neurons sitting around  and see if they could be persuaded to help out in damaged areas, a form of neuroplasticity. Feldenkrais is better known in Europe, but it turns out to have some real applications for Parkinson’s.

When I can follow this weekly program I do pretty well, though freezing is becoming more troublesome. I found out by accident I can walk backwards like crazy, with full balance. One  TaiChi movement called “Repulse the Wild Monkey” has 5 steps back with a lot of hand positioning. Also a short term way to control tremor is to drop hands in front, palms facing, another TaiChi tip.

So much for a short bio. But if we don’t describe the journey, what’s the point? Though there may be a better place to post it. Let me know.

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