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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Parkinson's is a Little Disease

In my bio, I reference Parkinson's as a little disease and even though Parkinson's disease has a HUGE impact on the lives of those affected by it, it is, in many ways a "little" disease. Let me explain. 

Parkinson's disease is caused by the death of little neurons in the little kidney bean sized areas of our brains called the substantia nigra. Neurons are little, very little; it would take hundreds to form the period at the end of this sentence. 
See how little the area is?

With Parkinson's, you tend to get little. Your handwriting gets little, your steps get little, your movements get little and even your voice gets little.

You don't wake up one morning with full-blown Parkinson's disease; it sneaks up on you a little at a time. Michael J. Fox, probably the world's most famous Parkie, noticed that his little finger twitched a little, not a whole bunch, just a little.

Parkinson's makes it difficult to do little things, like button buttons, thread a needle or shave your underarms. 

If you ask the experts, and they give you an honest answer, they will say little is known about Parkinson's. I asked my primary care physician how much he learned about Parkinson's in medical school, and his answer was, "Very little."

Every EMT and paramedic knows the signs of Heart Attack and Stroke, but most know little or nothing about Parkinson's. Heck, even hospitals know so little about Parkinson's that the National Parkinson Foundation created an Aware in Care kit to educate them.

Holding my Aware in Care kit

When I went for the consultation for DBS surgery, the Doctor said, "We will drill two little holes in your head and insert little leads, which will be connected to a little generator."

When I started writing these little stories, I had no idea they would be read by so many people on this little old planet in the middle of a huge universe. So, I promise not to let this little disease take away my big sense of humor.


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