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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Parkinson's disease Drug Side Effects

I am different than most Young Onset Parkinson's disease patients and that difference may explain my sense of humor.  I went eight years without a diagnosis or any medicines to relieve my symptoms and as I got worse and the Doctors kept saying "I don't know," I was still optimistic.  Just before diagnosis, my symptoms were very similar to Muhammad Ali, I was almost frozen like a statue (Liberty, Venus, David?), but I was still alive, whatever I had wasn't fatal, so what was there to be sad about?

Yes, it's a coffin.
Most Parkies take drugs early on, when a tremor is their only symptom and some don't realize they are getting worse, and therefore, don't appreciate how much the medicines are working.  Some even say "I'd have to quit taking them to tell if there is any difference."  I know, absolutely, that mine are helping me AND causing some of my problems.

They help my stiffness and shakes, but cause my sleepless nights and 2 really aggravating things: dyskinesia and dystonia, big words that are hard to spell and even harder to pronounce. (Parkinson's Vocabulary)

Dyskinesia is a dopamine side effect and is a jerky, dance-like movement of the arms, legs and or head.  In other words, I wiggle around like Michael J Fox.  I call it doing the "Parkie Disco" and I do a good job of timing the movements to music.

Foot cramp
Dystonia is severe muscle contractions and are also a medication side effect.  In other words, severe cramps that cause your foot to try to turn itself inside out and tend to happen while crossing a busy street!  These have been helped recently by eating bananas and doing stretches, advice I got from a Physical Therapist who took time to visit a Parkinson's Chat Room and answer questions we had (Thanks Barbara G). 

I was going to write a song parody about dystonia, to the tune of My Sharona, but haven't gotten around to it.  Sorry, now you have that song in your head, don't you?  You see, the whole trick is to figure out how to relieve some symptoms without causing worse ones and it's like standing on someone's shoulders as they ride a bike across a tightrope.  It ain't easy!  But it can be done!

Little Bev with watering can
I am lucky, so far, I have not showed any signs of the obsessive /compulsive disorders that plague many who take the medicines (Mayo Clinic - Parkinson's disease and OCD).  Unless, making people laugh is my OCD........nope, been doing that all my life!  So, Don't Worry, Be Happy!  Now you have this song stuck in your head instead!!

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

Thank you for reading this story, I hope you enjoyed it. This is just one of a hundred stories in my book, Parkinson's Humor - Funny Stories about My Life with Parkinson's Disease. Please consider purchasing a copy from or your favorite online book seller. Thank you and have a Happy Parkie Day!


  1. Hey Bev I'm right there with you. I call mine doing the dyskinesia Disco lol
    Bill Heiser

  2. wow, i just posted the same thing yesterday, and discovered your blog today.
    I will keep visiting, and here's my blog/website.

  3. Thanks for sharing Bev. All true, and explained with your expertise. What yougot, I got, and I identify with all of it.

  4. Your writing is so wonderful! It's like a cross between stand-up comedy and a coversation over coffee!

  5. I love your site..I will be on here daily, some of the things you blog about happen to me, no sleep,leg cramps, and so on and so on....thanks so much for your humor, I don't live to far away either...Bullhead City AZ., in fact just down the Colorado River from you, been to Yuma several times, my daughter attended Western AZ College, see you on the blog!!!

  6. Watch out for those OCD times. They can sneak up on you; they're insidious. I didn't "notice them" until I weaned myself OFF of one drug in particular, and I mean 100% OFF IT - to the last 1/2 pill (because I couldn't afford it. It starts with a "M" & is notorious!) My family said the difference in me was day and night. They had the return of their wife and mother (ME) and it was a sigh of relief for them. I honestly didn't see it - still don't, really. That's what I mean by insidious side effects -- they can be so sneaky.

    My nurse could write a book about the differences her patients have described to her. The Poker champion of our state was on "M" and the day he quit it, he never picked up another card. Absolutely no interest. I had one (an OCD), too, a heart-breaker, one I still can hardly fathom about myself. Another story for another time...

    Keep your sense of humor and watch out for OCDs. (I take Amantadine for my Parky Dance and I'm never sick with the "bugs that go around." = a good side effect) I also have had DBS since 1999. My PD started at age 30 and I am 59.5 now.

    God Bless you and keep sharing the sunny side of your street!!

    1. What is the "M" OCD please?
      Not going to take it, just would like to know.
      Santa Cruz, Ca

    2. The "M" Carole is referring to is Mirapex (pramipexole). Google it.

  7. Bev does it again!

  8. have severe mood swings and cramps, and not being able to sleep!!!
    M R

  9. doobie doobie doop-deep-doop-deep-doop-deep; MAHHHHH SHARONA!

  10. Is it Parkinson's or a side effect that's causing me to want to go fishing all the time? Or is it just I like catching and releasing most of the fish I catch? But I do keep a few to eat, gotta keep the ones that get hurt but they probably all hurt having a fish hook in them. Have a great day everyone!

  11. Fabulous! I was trying to explain dystonia to another pwp in my NIA for parkies class and he said, I'm from Latvia, isn't that near dystonia? haha

  12. Hi Bev You just answered 2 questions w/o my even having to ask; 01. my swaying. 02. the twisting/cramping of my left foot.

    P.S. I miss going to the pd meetings in Yuma.

  13. Thanks for posting, my dad has Parkinson's disease and reading post like yours I'm learning more about it. My mom post sites and I been reading them and I'm starting understand what my dad is going thought. You right Bev, have a sense of humor is good way to deal with Parkinson's disease . Thanks

  14. Do the parkie dance, the parkie dance, my dystonia
    People see me thrash, see me thrash, my dystonia.

    How's. That for a start. Your NY fan Alex

  15. I love you, Bev. Such an easy person to love. You make me laugh though i want to cry. Being a parkie is not so bad with you. Thank you.