Seeing as we all experience Parkinson’s disease (PD) in a way that is unique to us, we are like little snowflakes…. no two of us are alike. This is also true with what we find important about PD, our current knowledge of the disease, how we cope with our challenges and how we learn about our illness. So what I found to be important at The World Parkinson’s Congress (WPC) might vary from other snowflakes. So as I describe my experience of going to Montreal for the Parkinson’s Congress, I found it easier just to post all my tids and bits of info that I got from my trip into one blog. Here is 25 things I took from my week in Montreal:
1. Traveling is difficult with PD. To time when to take medications and when to eat in a different time zone can be tricky.
2. Over 3,150 people attended the Congress. Neurologists, Scientists, Researchers, Students, Parkies, Families, Physical Therapists and various other medical professionals were all rubbing elbows for three days.
3. There was Chocolate, Cheese, Wine and Pastries available everyday. Yum!
4. Every speaker agreed that daily exercise is just as important as a pill.
5. Caffeine and Sugar helps your medication…. Can you say Stimulation?
6. The number one pain that Parkies get is Musculoskeletal, due to Rigidity.
7. Depression and Anxiety can impact up to 40% of Parkies.
8. All your favorite candy bars come in a French version.
9. The emotional issues come from a chemical imbalance in the brain due to the loss of Dopamine.
10. The hotel I stayed at had the best blow dryer I had ever used…. We are talking 5 minutes = Dry Hair. Confession: I did think about stealing it.
11. Parkies and their families are some of the most kind and generous people I have ever met.
12. There is an amazing play written by a man who was diagnosed with Young Onset PD called “The Alan Parkinson Project”.
13. There are service dogs trained to help those with Parkinson’s disease. Woof!
14. My dog was not happy with me being gone for a week, even though I explained to him that it was a wonderful experience, he didn’t agree.
15. The World Parkinson’s Congress happens every 3 years. In 2016, it will be held in Portland, Oregon.
16. There are other Young Onset Parkies out there…I am not alone!
17. Akathisia means restlessness, intolerance of remaining still.
18. Parkies have a lower threshold to pain than those without Parkinson’s.
19. Davis Phinney Foundation put out a new exercise DVD, which has an awesome woman on the cover doing the most astonishing yoga pose. Spoiler alert…. it is me! To get your free copy call: 855-346-7564.
20. Some flight attendants, more specifically Nincompoop, should review their customer service protocol again.
21. Lack of facial expressions is a major problem of maintaining intimacy in couples challenged by Parkinson’s.
22. Some compulsive/impulsive behavior could come from the disease alone, not only induced by dopamine agonist medications.
23. The affects of surgical anesthesia can cause delirium, memory problems, or hallucinations on Parkies for up to a year after the initial procedure.
24. Everything sounds better in French, even the phrase “You have a chronic degenerative neurological disease.”
25. I am proud to be a member of the Parkinson’s disease community.