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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

You've Gotta Learn to Walk This Way

Exercise is a necessity if you have Parkinson's disease and walking is a great way to keep moving. One of the realities of living with Parkinson's disease is that your gait will change. These changes happen so slowly, you may not even notice that your arm no longer swings or that you walk like you have a ten pound weight attached to one ankle. 

Medications can reduce the rigidity, but if you've been walking this way for a long time, it can be difficult for your brain to learn a more normal gait. 

Prior to diagnosis, I had a very distinctive gait. I lurched. Neighbors could tell it was me from four blocks away.  

My right leg was very rigid, my right hand was always clenched into a fist, my right arm didn't swing and my right foot seemed to thud down as I walked. People, including medical folks, thought for sure I had a stroke. 

After diagnosis and medications, my gait slowly changed, and I lurched only when my meds wore off. One of these times, made for a humorous story involving a dance contest

As the disease progressed and I began to take more and more medications, my gait changed again. My movements became slower and my left foot would cramp. Gait changes can cause pain in your knees, hips, feet, back, neck and even shoulders due to postural misalignment and in my case, I had left hip pain that woke me every morning along with occasional charlie horses. Not fun.

Fortunately, the last foot cramp I had was the morning of my DBS surgery and as the settings got optimized and I reduced the amount of medications I was taking, my gait slowly changed again. The charlie horses disappeared but I now added left knee pain in the mornings. I would get out of bed and within ten minutes, I'd be out walking. It seemed the only way to relieve the hip and knee pain.

Sometime in the last year or so, I realized that my left knee and hip had stopped hurting and therefore, I was sleeping longer. Yippee! Hooray! 

However, I began to notice something new a few months back. When I would first get out of bed, the bottom of both feet would hurt for the first three or four steps I'd take. Since walking seemed to relieve the pain, I began walking even longer distances. But each morning, the pain was worse and then, throughout the day, if I sat for more than 15 minutes, the first few steps I took were very painful.

I considered going to a foot doctor, but decided to ask others with Parkinson's first. They came up with a possible answer: Plantar Fasciitis. It seems my gait had changed again and my feet were slapping the ground as I walked instead of rolling normally from heel to toe. The more I walked, the more I aggravated my feet. 

I had my DBS settings adjusted, bought brand new walking shoes, reduced the amount of time I walked and paid close attention to exactly how I took each step. If I get distracted, I begin slapping my feet again, especially my right foot. It's been a few months now, and my feet are slowly getting better, but I am still walking.

Here I am, at age 55, trying to learn how to Walk This Way.


Clicking on the colored words will open a new window and take you to a different story. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Parkinson's Humor Blog gets an Award

When I started this blog almost three years ago, it was a place for me to put down the wacky thoughts and humorous musings of my sleep deprived, Parkinson's prescription drugged up mind. So I was rather surprised when I got an email informing me that my blog was named as one of the Best of 2015.
It all began because I was wide awake and alone with my thoughts at 4 am. There isn't much you can do in the middle of the night, without waking everyone else up. You can't vacuum or wash clothes and there's nothing on TV, so I would go online to find another Parkie to chat with. I would share funny stories with these strangers on the other end of the World Wide Web. I was amazed at how many people from other countries could type in English and somewhat embarrassed that I can barely type English. I learned to say G'day Mate and what "made redundant" & "knackered" meant.

Sometimes they would say, "You should start writing these stories down" so I started this blog. And soon, some of these strangers became friends; comrades in this reluctant war we were all fighting called Parkinson's. Over the years, I've been lucky enough to meet some of them in person. 

Soon people began asking if I could put my stories into book form, so they could share them with relatives or friends. That is how the Parkinson's Humor book got published.

My blog was being viewed by people all over the world and my stories slowly began to change. I began to write about ways to cope with the various symptoms and ways to help get the most out of your Doctor visits. I had the ability to decipher the medical mumbo jumbo and translate it into a language we can all understand.

Then I began my DBS surgery journey and my stories changed again. My life changed as well. I was no longer wide awake at 4 am. I was back to sleeping alongside my Wonderful Husband, until he woke up. I had less time to spend in the chat room and less time to write. I was busy enjoying the new, more active life the DBS surgery gave me.

The chat room where I had spent so many sleepless nights decided to shut down. But Facebook was becoming a global phenomenon, and soon I belonged to dozens of Parkinson's related Facebook groups.  

With the Facebook groups, people could ask a Parkinson's related question and have two dozen answers from around the world in a few hours. I started my own Parkinson's Humor Facebook page and shared links to my blog stories on there.

I don't write as many stories as I used to, but I personally answer emails from people and contribute to the Facebook groups. I run our local Parkinson's support group. I also speak to groups and medical school students about Parkinson's. In other words, I keep busy.  

I was honored and surprised to have this blog voted as one of the top Parkinson's blogs of 2015.

Thank you very much.

Yuma Bev

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Friendship and Fun with Davis Phinney

I've attended several Parkinson's disease conferences and they all have similar formats. Most of the speakers are Doctors, Neuro-surgeons, and Researchers. They have technical slide presentations and use fancy terminology they learned in medical school. They speak way too fast for our dopamine deprived brains to absorb what they have said. Some attempt to add humor, but mostly they forget they are speaking to Patients, many of whom can't recall the name or dosage of their Parkie meds much less understand these type of slides:

The Davis Phinney Victory Summits are different. I've been lucky enough to attend two of them; in Phoenix, Arizona, during a rainy day, in January of 2013 and a few weeks ago, on Feb 7, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The theme of these seminars is Living Well with Parkinson's and most of the speakers give practical advice on how to do just that. Some still have complicated slides and some still speak too fast, but I've not seen anyone fall asleep.

They have planned Movement Breaks in between each speaker and attendees are encouraged to get up and move. The afternoon sessions are divided into smaller groups (Nutrition, Speech Therapy, Fall Prevention, DBS, etc.), so you have a choice of what you want to learn about and can get a more personal discussion going. 

My Las Vegas friend, Kip and I were invited to be part of the DBS session as a panel members and we were more than happy to answer questions regarding our DBS experience. After all, who knows more about DBS from the perspective of the Parkie than a Parkie with DBS? 
YumaBev and Kip discussing DBS 

Because I was a panelist, I was invited to a reception the evening prior and that's when I finally got to meet Jill. She and I met several years ago, in a Parkinson's Chat room in the wee hours, when we were awake and everyone else was asleep. Jill lives in British Columbia, Canada, and we have kept in touch via Facebook ever since. Jill was attending as an Ambassador for the 4th World Parkinson Congress.
YumaBev and Jill 


One of the best parts of the Victory Summit was getting to meet other Parkies. I got to re-connect with some I've met before and I got to meet, in person, some I've only interacted with online, either through this blog, Facebook, Twitter, email or the old Parkinson's Chat Room.


David & YumaBev
YumaBev & Heather 

Carl & YumaBev
Cidney & YumaBev
YumaBev & Michelle
YumaBev & Jill 

If there is a Victory Summit near you, please go. I can almost guarantee that you will leave inspired to Live Well with Parkinson's. And be sure to tell Davis Phinney I said hello.
Davis Phinney

Clicking on the colored words will open a new window and take you to a different story. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A Quarter Million Laughs

My little Parkinson's Humor blog hit a big milestone recently. The number of people who have logged in and looked at my stories is now over 250,000. Most people find my blog stories by doing internet searches, not by following links I have posted on Facebook or Twitter. The United States, United Kingdom and Canada are still the top three places where my reader's hail from. This makes sense as they are all English speaking countries. In the last few months, France, Russia and Ukraine have been very active, so I want to welcome all of them to Club Parkie, the club no one wants to join.

250,002

It has been quite a while since I had a party for this blog. The last one was almost three years ago when I was at 10,000 so I was overdue. We booked the big room at Da Boyz, our favorite Italian restaurant, and then had to change the date/time several times to accommodate my guests weekly events such as Bingo night, Jeeping day, and the Camera Club meeting. We finally settled on Monday at 2 pm.

The guest list was an eclectic group consisting of Parkie friends, current and former neighbors, Camera Club buddies and one or two other friends. We picked up the cake I ordered and headed down to the restaurant to meet everyone for a lunch.



One of the first things to greet me was a florist carrying flowers from one of my Parkie friends who had a bad cold and couldn't be there.


Do you like my Happy Parkie shirt???

Then friends came pouring in, carrying balloons and roses and congratulatory cards. Introductions were made, hugs were exchanged and we settled down and ordered lunch.




My Wonderful Husband made a small speech, several others did, too. I thanked everyone for helping us through that rough period a year or so ago.

Then we did what we do best. We ate and laughed. After lunch, we ate cake and laughed some more.

Then came the big surprise that no one was expecting. We picked up the check for everyone there. It was the least we could do. These friends have been there since before that first blog story, cheering me on, lifting me up, nagging me to walk, making me laugh, giving me much needed hugs, treating me like their favorite sister/daughter/niece. We are truly thankful for each and everyone of them.

And I am truly thankful for each and everyone of YOU who takes time to read my stories. Have a Happy Parkie Day!  


Friday, January 9, 2015

Parkinson's Disease; Fall in Winter

A few weeks ago, my Wonderful Husband and I were sitting on our back patio when we spotted something large and orange in the desert behind our house. We sat there trying to figure out what it was. We came up with some humorous possibilities, such as a discarded prison jumpsuit, or an inflatable Halloween pumpkin or perhaps a child's swimming pool. Whatever it was, we decided to go get it and put it in the trash. 

I was extra careful climbing over our low back wall and my Wonderful Husband held my hand as we negotiated a steep ditch created by runoff water. All that was left was a very shallow secondary ditch. The next thing I know, I was lying in the sand and my glasses were a few feet away. 

The steep ditch
The shallow ditch 

I was okay; I just had some scrapes on my leg and the palm of my hand, but my glasses weren't damaged. I was achy for a few days, but at least I fell in soft sand and not into rocks or on gravel. But why did I fall?

I've been replaying the fall over and over in my head; there was nothing for me to trip over and I was watching what I was doing, so how did I end up in the sand? The answer I have come up with is ... brake failure. 

Yes, brake failure.

It seems that if I get some forward momentum, I can't stop! Since the fall, I've noticed that if I step off a curb, due to the forward momentum, it takes a few extra steps before my gait returns to normal. The same thing happens if I walk down an incline. I have trouble stopping. No brakes! 

So, that's what happened when I tried to navigate the shallow ditch; my brakes didn't work and I fell forward into the sand. Now that I realize my brakes don't work, I adjust how I handle steep driveways, curbs and ditches. 

The large orange thing out in the desert? Yes, we went ahead and got it. It was a section of temporary construction fencing that probably got swept away in a rainstorm. We untangled it and put it in our trash. Just because I took a tumble, didn't mean we shouldn't pick it up, right?

Monday, December 29, 2014

New Songs for People with Parkinson's

I haven't written any new song parodies lately, but I have come up with some very good titles:

Drooling on Myself
Restless Legs
18 Pills and a Dozen Snoozes
I Wear My Mouth Guard at Night
Walk like a Drunk
Moving and Grooving 
Tossing and Turning all Night
A Lesson in Freezin'
Before the Next Time I Fall
Standing Up is Hard to Do
By the Time I take my Next Dose
I Wish I was Dreaming
Are You Ever Gonna Make Up Your Mind
Do You Smell What I Smell
I Can't Stop Tremoring
I've Got that Shaky Feeling
My Feet Keep Sticking to the Floor
Help Me Roll Over in Bed
Shuffling Along
Tiny Footsteps

You can listen to all of my song parodies on my YouTube channel.

Parkinson's Humor on YouTube



Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christmas in My Neighborhood

I live east of Yuma, Arizona in an area known as The Foothills. My neighborhood is called Arroyo de Fortuna, which is the Spanish name for the Fortuna Wash which lies just east of our subdivision. There are 123 homes and our demographics include a couple families with young children, a few middle-age working people and the rest are retirees. Most are in their 60's and 70's and a few are in their 80's or 90's. As far as I know, I am the only one with Parkinson's disease. I would say about 25% stay year round and the rest only come here for the Winter (four to six months). Quite a few are from Canada and the rest come from the Pacific Northwest with an occasional mid-westerner thrown in for good measure. 

When it comes to Holiday decorating, it's an interesting mix. It seems like the Canadians tend to do the most, maybe it's because they enjoy being able to put the Christmas decorations up without having to trudge through snow. The ones who go back North to visit family for Christmas tend to do the least. Almost everyone has something, even if it's just a Poinsettia in a pot or a wreath on their front door.


Poinsettia in a pot

You've got the ones who decorate the cactus. 



The ones who put out the lighted snowmen and Santa.

  


The ones who have a sense of humor.

The minimalists.



The creative ones.
Snowman made from Tumbleweeds

And my favorite, a fellow who lives here year round puts out this one every year.



His next door neighbor happens to live in North Pole, Alaska during the Summer.

As I walked through the neighborhood this Christmas morning, I waved and said Merry Christmas to everyone. And a special Merry Christmas to all of you!


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving...Sleeping In and Eating Way Too Much

When I woke up Thanksgiving morning, at 8 am, I asked my Wonderful Husband to name five things he was thankful for. I had already been thinking of my five before I'd gone to sleep the night before.

YumaBev's list: 
1. I am thankful for my Wonderful Husband. He is my best friend and I cannot imagine life without him.
2. I am thankful for my step-daughter and Grandson. They live 3000 miles away, but we still keep in touch.
3. I am thankful for my neighbors. We spend a lot of time together socially and they accept me just the way I am.
4. I am thankful for all my Twitter and Facebook friends and for all the friendly people I've met over the years.
5. I am thankful that I found good Doctors, who genuinely seem to care about me.

My Wonderful Husband's list:
1. He was thankful that, as of my last mammogram in September, my breast cancer had not returned.
2. He was thankful that, after a very rough year of multiple scalp surgeries, my head healed and the DBS was doing it's job.
3. He was thankful that I found a Doctor who knew my DBS settings could cause depression and how to fix it.
4. He was thankful that it seemed like my Parkinson's had not progressed.
5. He was thankful that his daughter and Grandson were doing well and that we had lots of nice friends.

I was surprised that my health was such a concern, but then again, I shouldn't have been. I remember when HE had some health issues, it was ALL I could think about and I was very thankful when he got well. I will let you in on a secret; every time I wish on a falling star or when we pull apart the wishbone from a turkey or chicken, I always make the same wish. That we both will stay happy and healthy for many years to come.

As I went for my morning walk, I could smell turkeys roasting and pies baking all over our neighborhood. By the time I got back home, I was starving, but since dinner wasn't until 3 pm, I tried to hold off having my breakfast. This lasted until Wonderful Hubby decided to make eggs for his breakfast. The smell wafted back to the computer room, so I sat with him and ate my cereal (he'd have made eggs for me, too, but I prefer cereal.)

Around 2 pm, we walked over to our neighbors, George & Freida's for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. There was turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, corn pudding, cranberry sauce, broccoli salad, rolls and two kinds of homemade pie. It was enough food to feed a dozen or more people and yet, there were only five of us. Another neighbor, Carol, joined us. We all have family, but none are nearby, so we usually spend the Holidays with each other. Needless to say, there were plenty leftovers to take home. 



It was a very nice day and I was thankful we got to spend it with very good friends. Two days later, on Saturday, we were invited to a second Thanksgiving dinner with some other neighbors, Norm & Alayne and their cousins. Once again, there was way more food than nine of us could eat, but we had a great time, lots of laughs and enjoyed meeting some new friends.

I hope everyone had a thankful Thanksgiving and spent it with friends, like we did, or with family.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Let's Talk About Parkinson's Medications

October is "Talk About Your Medicines" month and I was asked to write a blog about my experience with Parkinson's medicines, so here it is.

Since my DBS surgeryI take a lot less Parkinson's disease medications, but I still have people asking me questions about side effects, drug interactions and what particular meds I take or took. Everyone reacts differently, so only you and your Neurologist can figure out what works best for you. 

I am not a Pharmacist or a Doctor, I am just YumaBev, the Happy Parkie, so I will share only my personal experiences. You should ALWAYS consult your own Neurologist or Pharmacist regarding medication dosages and side effects. 

That being said, here are some useful tips I've learned over the years:

1. Use the alarms feature on your watch or cell phone as a reminder to take your meds. In my warped sense of humor, my "drug alarm" ringtone is the song, I Want a New Drug by Huey Lewis. 

2. Never start a new medication (or increase the dosage) on a Thursday or Friday, because if you have a bad reaction over the weekend, you won't be able to get in touch with your Neurologist before Monday.

3. Some side effects, like nausea or sudden sleepiness, may go away within a month or two.
Other side effects, like dyskenisia, edema (swelling of legs, ankles or feet), cognitive problems (some have referred to this as brain fog), insomnia or obsessive or compulsive disorders may take a while to show up or become worse with age or the longer you take a medicine.

4. Ask your Neurologist exactly what times you should take your meds and what other things, including over-the-counter medications, supplements or foods such as proteins, aged cheeses, alcohol, caffeine, etc. you should avoid. Also ask what kinds of over-the-counter cold medications or pain relievers are safe to use. 

5. Make sure your Doctors know EVERY medication you take, including supplements and over the counter meds. Don't lie about how much alcohol you drink or how many pain meds you take. A friend nearly died because he lied to a Doctor about how much prescription pain medication he was taking prior to an outpatient procedure and he had a severe reaction when they gave him anesthesia. If you use cannabis, make sure your Neurologist knows this, too.

6. If you need to be hospitalized, ask the admitting physician to put in writing that you may take your OWN Parkinson's medications while hospitalized. If you can't do this, make sure YOU know exactly WHAT you take and WHEN you take it and tell EVERY medical person you encounter that you NEED your Parkie meds on time. Check with the nurse to make sure they are giving you the CORRECT medication and dosage EACH time. Do not let them substitute unless your Neurologist okays the change. A lot of neurologists won't have hospital privileges, so be careful. 

7. If a medication begins to make you feel worse or the side effects become unbearable, tell your Neurologist as soon as possible. Don't stop taking meds cold turkey, unless you are advised to do so by your Neurologist. Many Parkie meds require weaning off.

8. Some Parkinson's medications (or the disease itself) MAY increase your risk for certain cancers, including melanoma skin cancer, breast cancer (men can get it, too) and prostate cancer, so have regular screenings.



Okay, now here's my medication story. Keep in mind that my reactions to various medications may not happen to you.

Back in 2004, a Neurologist thought I had Essential Tremor, so the very first medication I was ever given was a beta blocker called propranolol. It is used to treat high blood pressure and irregular heartbeats as well as prevent migraines and chest pain (angina). It can also help reduce tremors. It worked fairly well at controlling the action tremor in my right hand, but didn't help anything else. My normal blood pressure is low, and the medicine slowed my heartbeat so much that, over the years, I became winded just walking to our car. The dose was lowered and I could walk without wheezing like a 98-year old man, but the tremors returned. 

In 2007, a different Neurologist figured out I had Parkinson's and I was given carbi/levodopa 25/250 and told to stop the propranolol, unless my tremors got worse. They didn't. I was told to take 1/2 a pill three times a day, so I took them at 8 hour intervals and on an empty stomach. Nausea was an early side effect, mostly when I took my first pill of the day. I found, by accident, that if I took my pills with lemonade instead of water, the nausea disappeared. Then we adjusting the times I took my pills and found, for me, taking them at 8 am, 2 pm and 8 pm worked better at controlling my symptoms and made scheduling meal times a lot easier for my Wonderful Husband. Later on, the nausea disappeared completely. After approximately three months, I began waking very early. The nights of only 4-5 hours of sleep continued until after I had the DBS surgery. 

After about 6 months, my Neurologist tried prescribing Stalevo 100, which is a combination of carbi/levodopa and entacapone. I didn't see any difference and I had the unpleasant side effect of a burning sensation when urinating and my urine was dark yellow, so we went back to the plain carbi/levodopa.
   
Later, he added pramipexole which is a dopamine agonist and I started with the 0.125 mg dose, three times a day. When he upped the dose to 0.25, I made the mistake of starting it on a Thursday. By early Saturday morning, I felt like I had taken a bottle of No-Doze followed with a pot of coffee. My heart was racing and we ended up driving to the local fire station, waking up the EMT who was on duty and having him check my blood pressure. It was sky high as was my heart rate. Needless to say, I stopped taking it and called my Neuro first thing Monday morning. 

I went back on the 0.125 dose and after a few weeks, the sleep attacks began. All of a sudden, I just had to go to sleep. I just could not stay awake. I once fell asleep while eating lunch. Fortunately, that side effect went away and I stayed on the 0.125 mg dose for a couple of years.

Later, I went back on the Stalevo 100, and got used to the burning sensation when urinating, and after a while, I started taking Stalevo 150, still three a day. Later, we tried Stalevo 200, but the dyskenisia was terrible, so we went back to the 150's. We tried the 150's four times a day, but that was too much also. 

Since I couldn't tolerate higher doses of pramipexole, we tried a different agonist, ropinirole. He started me out on a low dose, 1 mg, three times a day and all seemed to be fine. No racing heart and my blood pressure was normal. A few months later, I began spending hours and hours online, mostly in a Parkinson's chat room. This was also the time when I started this blog. I was glued to my computer screen all day and half the night. I had to be dragged away to eat. The worst part was I didn't even realize that I had become obsessed with all things Parkinson's. The only good thing about my obsession, is this blog and the creative song parodies I wrote while on ropinirole. 

Later on, my "off" times were increasing, so he upped the dose of ropinirole to 1.25 mg, still three times a day. All was good for a few months, then my ankles started swelling and the olfactory hallucinations started, so back down to the 1 mg we went. 

As a last result, he prescribed Stalevo 100's five times a day (a lower dose, but more often). My symptoms were better controlled and all was well for a month or so, then my cognitive functions started diminishing. Within a few months, I couldn't even answer simple questions because by the time my muddled brain could formulate an answer, I'd have forgotten the question. This was a very scary time for both myself and my Wonderful Husband. Why the extra doses caused problems is unknown as I had been taking 3 a day for years with no problems, but my Neurologist has had several patients who had the same complaint. 

Finally I'd had enough, I went back on plain carbi/levodopa 25/100's five or six times a day, and told my Neuro maybe it was time to consider DBS. After about two months, most of my "brain fog" was gone and I was able to pass the neuro-psychological testing with flying colors. 

During my overnight hospital stay for my DBS surgery, a nurse tried to give me the wrong medicine, he tried to give me 1 mg of pramipexole instead of ropinirole. Since 0.25 mg had sent my heart rate and blood pressure through the roof, can you imagine what FOUR times that amount would have done? And they had just drilled holes in my head! Their pharmacist had it listed as an equivalent substitute. Before I left, another nurse tried to give me the wrong dose of ropinirole, but I caught that mistake as well and refused to take it. So, you need to know EXACTLY what you take.

Since DBS, I no longer take the agonist ropinirole and I doubt I will ever take it or any other agonist again. I just take plain old carbi/levodopa 25/100 as needed, which is usually half a pill 2 or 3 times a day.

Just because I had the above listed side effects, doesn't mean you will. You should be aware of all the potentially serious side effects of ANY medications, not just Parkie meds



Clicking on the colored words will open a new window and take you to a different story. 


Saturday, October 18, 2014

DBS: Two Years Ago, I Let Them Drill Holes in my Head

Today is October 18, 2014. Two years ago, I was lying in a hospital bed with a headache. My hair was matted with a combination of surgical disinfectant and blood and I was hooked up to so many monitoring wires, I felt like NASA should be in control.


YumaBev Oct 18, 1012

Dr. Norton had just finished drilling holes in my head and inserting the DBS stems for Part One of my DBS surgery. My Wonderful Husband looked relieved; it had been a nerve wracking wait for him. I was hungry, but my stomach was upset, probably a side effect of the anesthesia. I vaguely remember the nurse bringing me some crackers. 

I remember calling Jim Adams and telling him to go ahead and post on Facebook and Twitter that all had gone well. 

Well, here it is, two years later and what are my results now?

I haven't had a foot cramp since right before the surgery two years ago. I take much less Parkinson's medications and the medication related dyskenisia is gone. I sleep a lot longer. My tremors, what little I had, are pretty much gone. The same can be said about the slowness of movement. If I sit for too long, the rigidity comes back, but quickly disappears. In other words, all that was promised by Medtronic has happened.

Fatigue is a major problem and can come on quite suddenly. My speech has been adversely affected, both in volume and clarity. However, I seem to have no problems when I use a microphone, such as when speaking at our local Parkinson's support group. My upper lip still curls into an ugly sneer.

I have noticed that my balance isn't what it used to be. I do okay walking forward, but climbing steps or bending to pick items up can be a little scary and I often have trouble maintaining my balance when I get up from sitting. We have rearranged the bedroom, so that I have something to grab onto when I get out of bed.

My handwriting has gotten much worse, I can't write anything readable. This makes me frustrated, because I can't even make out a grocery list.
Handwriting before DBS
Handwriting after DBS

I am still having some time and memory problems and get easily distracted. I like to laugh and joke and sometimes I come up with a funny story idea for this blog, but by the time I get to the computer, it is gone. I don't spend as much time online anymore. If I sit at the computer too long, it aggravates a neck/shoulder problem from the cancer surgery. On a positive note, my second, post breast cancer mammogram came back negative, so that's good news! 

I am looking forward to speaking to the Medical School students next month and hope to have more chances to speak to people with Parkinson's as well as educating others about this disease. I'm looking forward to friends and neighbors returning to Yuma for the Winter. Have a Happy Parkie Day!