Friday, September 18, 2009

To Medicate or Not to Medicate; That is the Question

When I was first diagnosed with Parkinson's, my neurologist and I discussed the various medication options. To my surprise, one of the options was no medication at all. That hadn't occurred to me. Why would you NOT want medication for a condition that was interfering with your life? Well, I've since discovered that some people (and some doctors) feel that the first 5 or 6 years that you're on medication are considered the "honeymoon" years, when the drugs work really well. They feel that you might want to wait until your symptoms are severe before you start this "honeymoon" period, and not waste it when you're feeling relatively well. Also, the sooner you take levadopa (which pretty much all PD patients will eventually), the sooner you will experience side effects like dyskinesias; those uncontrollable writhing motions that we've all seen Michael J. Fox and others exhibit.

I've thought about this a lot, and I know it's a very individual decision, and there are pros and cons either way, but personally, I am SOOO glad I opted to get medication right away. After all, what am I saving the experience of feeling better for; a rainy day? It's raining NOW. Why wait until I'm older and less capable of doing the things I want to do anyway? Why not NOW? Maybe I'll end up with dyskinesias a few years earlier, but who cares? Right now, I'm working full time, I walk every day, I take ballroom dancing lessons every week, and I was able to dance until past midnight at my brother's wedding. I'm more fit than I have been in ten years or so, and I feel better than I have in at least 5 years. For me, it was the right decision. We put things off and say to ourselves "Someday, I'm going to.....". Then we run out of "somedays".

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About Me

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I'm a lucky lady. I have a wonderful husband of 27 years, a fantastic 25 year old son (I'm so proud of him!) a loving and supportive family, the best friends in the world, a job that I love, and... Parkinson's Disease. I was diagnosed in September 2006. That was a jolt, but I'm learning to deal with it.