“All in good time, the bad times will be gone, ” -Ron Sexsmith
By the summer of 2014, this was the state of my mental and physical condition. My tremor was still constant; it had not decreased or slowed down. Indeed my hand shock as much as it ever did. My movements were slower because I was more conscious of the way I moved. I could think now to pick up my feet, move my arms, and walk erect. But as you can imagine I felt awkward and looked the same. To walk and have to constantly be mindful of it; like remembering to breathe… stop and the outcome is not so good. Stop being mindful of my movements and down I go.
So with my improved cognition, I became more mindful and aware of everything in my immediate surroundings. I kept my walking routine of 3 to 4 miles a day. Yet physically I still had a way to go. Yes, I know for the rest of my life mindfulness shall be my mantra in the way I walk, talk, and think and everything in between. However, I sensed that I needed something to bring all the parts of me together. I felt shattered; my mind attentive to a thousand different things. It seemed that these concerns pointed to my trembling hand for answers. Why did my tremor not improve?
At this time, I started volunteering for clinical trials. I was a good candidate since my prescriptions were still minimal, all the better to try new medications and procedures. I’ll write more about clinical trials in another chapter.
I had just finished a week’s stay at a research center testing an enhanced levodopa, altered for fewer side effects. Set for the following week, my annual neurologist appointment. My doctor, upon seeing my rapid tremor; sensing it was really getting worse physically and for me mentally, prescribed Pramipexole.
Pramipexole is a dopamine agonist that directly stimulates the receptors in the nerves of the brain thus helping to lessen uncontrollable movements such as tremors. These receptors should normally be stimulated by dopamine but since 70 to 80% of my dopamine is gone, I need the extra help. Pramipexole is different from levodopa which transforms to dopamine. So I am waging war on two fronts, one drug converts to dopamine and the other acts as a replacement.
From this point everything changed, my tremors reduced, I felt like my body and mind were working together; flowing at an even keel. And the biggest test of all, friends and relatives noticed. Some thought I might have found a miracle cure or may be misdiagnosed.
I am still receiving positive results from this cocktail of medications at this time. This shall not last; a consensus of five years is given for the life of this set of drugs. Then we change partners and the testing starts over again.
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