I’m impressed, and I’m not easily impressed.
Some have criticized me for being unrealistic. Others have said that my expectations are too high and that I should lower them.
But today, I was impressed with myself. I did a hand stand at my yoga class. Mind you, it was a hand stand with my legs against the wall, but it was a hand stand nevertheless. For a 57 year old woman with Parkinson’s Disease for eleven years, this was a major feat. Many of the able-bodied in the class didn’t even attempt it. I wondered if I would have tried a hand stand last week, and if I would have been successful.
I had another impressive experience this past Monday when I had my first programming session with a Deep Brain Stimulation specialist who I affectionately call Dr. Olga. I’ve had a half dozen sessions in the past, but this was the first programming session with her.
I was convinced that the programming on my neurostimulator (similar to a pacemaker to the brain) was not optimally set. Within 20 minutes, Dr. Olga figured out the problem. The setting that affected the right side of my body was much too high and caused dyskinesia (involuntary writhing and flailing of arms and legs and head-rolling movements). The setting that affected the left side of my body was much too low and caused rigidity and stiffness. When Dr. Olga tested the results of her adjustments, she asked me to perform exercises such as the hand movements of the chicken dance, wave like the queen and tap the heel of one foot as high and fast as possible.
Dr. Olga, my husband Tom and I couldn't believe the dramatic improvement in my left side with the new settings. All three of us spontaneously said in unison, "It's amazing. It's amazing."
Dr. Olga kept the meds at the same level (with the goal of eventually reducing them), but now I take them every five hours instead of every three hours. I felt like a prisoner who was released from jail with this newly found freedom. Previously I was on a short leash, needing to be home every three hours, in case my Parkinson’s symptoms kicked in.
Dr. Olga was impressive, and I was grateful. I have reason to celebrate. I’ll let you know when I do cartwheels.