What were your symptoms?

In short, the majority were: stiff legs, stiff neck, poor sleep (difficulty turning over, frequently waking up), leg/feet cramps, shoulder locking, rigidity in my right arm, cog-wheel (ratchet-like) movements of right arm, awkward gait (limping walk with short steps), decrease in facial expressions (including decreased blinking, decreased emotions), vocal changes (not speaking loud enough, sometimes having slurred speech when fatigued), balance issues, swallowing difficulties and increase in acid reflux (this could be also related to my gluten intolerance but persisted after I cut out gluten), dexterity issues (not calibrated hand/finger movements, dropping things, and difficulty writing/typing), some executive function issues (fumbling for words, stuttering, increased difficulty multitasking) and finally tremor.  There may be more symptoms that I am not thinking of, but these are the main ones.

 What is your outlook about it?

My outlook is positive and optimistic, what other way is there?

 Are you going to die?

Yes, we all are going to die someday.  I don’t know if I will have a shorter life span or what the future will hold.  I would rather focus on living while I am still around.

 What caused your Parkinson’s Disease?

I have no clue what caused it.  Doing years of martial arts with potential head injuries may have been a contributing factor.  Notice that I said “contributing factor” and not “cause” because many people who have participated in martial arts, boxing, and contact sports have not went on to develop Parkinson’s Disease.  I wouldn’t have traded all my years of martial arts for nothing anyway – as that was part of my passion for living.

 How do you expect to be treated by others?

I do not require, nor do I expect sympathy.  I also do not need to hear how someone’s family member supposedly cured their illness by drinking green smoothies or by taking vitamins (I do both anyway).  I would rather everyone treat me as they ordinarily would have.  If I physically can’t do something, and you happen to be around me to help, then yes, I do appreciate assistance.  I do not want to hear how someone feels sorry for me because they have seen someone with this disease suffer and/or die – that is not denial on my part, but it is just my need to keep focused on what matters right now. 

If you know me or are close to me, just be aware that I may go through some undesirable changes.  Also be aware that – in the early stages, my disease may not be apparent every second, as there may be moments when I can do something and other times (maybe even during the same day or hour) when I can not.  At the times that I can’t, I am not faking it, these are what PWP’s (people with Parkinson’s) refer to as “on” and “off” periods, which can be due to medication levels in my body or due to the illness itself.