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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

How do I explain Parkinson's Disease to a ............. Cat ?

Cat is a beautiful young lady from West Virginia, USA, who contacted me through Twitter and asked if I could answer some questions about Parkinson's Disease.  I said yes and the emails began, but there was just one problem, Cat is blind, she has been since birth, so describing Parkinson's Disease became a challenge. 

Cat and I have some things in common:  We both have a wicked sense of humor, she wants a T-shirt that says "Don't stare at me, I can't stare back" and I want one that says "What's shaking? besides me?".  We both like Michael J. Fox and would like to meet him someday.  She refers to him as Mr. Fox, because her parents taught her manners and I refer to him as Michael J, because I am older than him. 

We have our differences as well:  She is shy and self-conscious about her looks and I am definitely not shy and don't give a hoot what people think about me, but that comes with age.  I am old enough to be her Mother.
Cat "reads" what's on her computer by using software that vocalizes what is on the screen, kind of like Books on Tape.  She read some of my early blog stories and her question was about tremors, were they caused by the Parkinson's or the medicines we take and what is the difference between tremors and dyskinesia?  (There's that really big word, again) 

The first part of the question was easy, tremors are caused by the Parkinson's.  Describing the difference was going to be harder.  This is what I came up with:  

Tremors are like when your hands shake because you are nervous or scared and can be similar to shivering or having the chills when you get a fever.  Shaking hands or fingers can be stopped by sitting on them or if someone else holds them still.

Dyskinesia or The Wiggles, as I call them, are caused by the medicines we take to stop the tremors and are sort of like trying to hold on to a squirming child that does NOT want to be held.  You can't stop it!  If my wonderful husband grabs my moving hand and holds it still, the movement goes to my arm and if he holds both my arm and hand still, the movement goes to my upper body.  Your body is going to move, usually in a rhythmic fashion, almost like rocking, so I just go with it.  Fortunately, it doesn't last long, at least not for me.

A pretty good explanation, right? 

You can find both of us on Twitter, I am @YumaBev and Cat is @song_bird1987.  Give us a Tweet, but be sure to mention this story, so we know how you found us.

By the way,  if any of you know Mr. Michael J. Fox personally, please tell him we said Hello.

PS Cat says that she thinks she prefers blindness over Parkinson's.

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. Great story!
    Robyn Michele Levy

  2. Marlene Miller your great one to lift us all up with your good sence of humor. never stop.

  3. That is a great way to explain the difference. My sister said that my dyskinesia looks like a potty dance, my husband noticed that my left hand goes behind my back and moves in a figure 8. Parkinson's is a weird and fascinating disease. Aren't you glad we get to explain it to the world? OK - that was sarcasm, but also reality. I've been coping with this disease much better since I accepted it as my new normal and decided to exploit it for fame and fortune! Ok, that sounded sarcastic too. How about, use the extra time that I no longer spend working or doing housework and use it for writing, with a little bit of fame and a smidgen of fortune.

  4. An interesting PS. It opened my eyes (pun intended) about how Parkinson's is always different in its speed and its symptoms. Blindness, once you incorporate it into your routine, remains fixed. I wish Cat had neither, but she has wonderful attitude.

  5. Perfect explanation. Thank you. Most of the time when I experience dyskinesia (usually evenings) I have had people ask me what drugs are you taking because you look high as a kite!