My Parkinson’s Disease Diagnosis – Parkinson’s Chronicles

The Symptoms

Doctor’s Appointment for PD

For about a year, I had a slight tremor in my right hand. But when I saw my internist for my annual physical, my hand was as calm as could be.

After my wife confirmed that my hand did indeed shake at times, my internist referred me to a neurologist.

My Visit with the Neurologist

My visit with the neurologist followed what I later discovered was a typical diagnostic pattern for Parkinson’s Disease.

  • Initial exam to determine if Parkinsonism is a possibility.
  • Lab work and brain scans to narrow down diagnosis.
  • Follow up visit to confirm diagnosis and establish a treatment plan.

Initial Exam

Although my hand would not shake for the neurologist, he had other tests that helped him form a preliminary diagnosis.

He had me write my signature. This revealed a Parkinson’s condition I later learned was called micrographia. My signature started okay, but quickly dwindled to an undecipherable scrawl.

Next, he had me walk down the hallway and back. I walked okay, but my right arm didn’t swing.

These indications, plus a few cognitive tests, made him suspect Parkinson’s Disease. But, there were also other known movement disorders that mimicked PD. These could be confirmed or ruled out by brain scans.

The doctor scheduled all the tests for me, and we set up a second appointment for 3 months.

Research While Waiting

In the meantime, we decided to research Parkinson’s Disease so we could be well informed for my followup visit.

About 20 years prior, we had hands on experience with  PD in a family member. His advanced stage PD had been very concerning, and his treatment with sinemet seemed unsatisfactory.

We knew we wanted better treatment for me, if possible. After all, it was 20 years later. Surely, advancements had been made.

I stumbled across a new local Functional Medicine group that offered a new approach to treating PD. Their approach involved treating the “brain gut axis”, a ketogenic paleo diet, and taking food supplements as medicine. Their goal was to treat the cause of PD, not the symptoms. To us, this was a radical new idea.

Here’s the video that introduced us to this approach.

Exercise is another key component to treating PD. Fortunately, I had been on a dedicated program of daily lengthy walks and reduced calorie intake to lose weight. So, except for the diet, I felt optimistic that I was already headed in the right direction for implementing this functional medicine approach. All I needed was an initial appointment with the functional medicine doctor.

 Follow Up Visit

My neurologist explained, in my subsequent visit, that the MRI scans showed no abnormalities, which led him to a diagnosis pf Parkinson’s Disease. He began to discuss medicines when I informed him of my research and my preferred line of attack. He understood, and said he was there to keep us out of trouble if needed.

Thus I began life with PD and a functional medicine treatment plan.

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