Health Update For our Prayer Partners
First, let me say, thank you to all of you who continue to struggle in prayer for Harriet and myself. Your loving, prayer support makes a huge difference in our lives. We will not know, this side of eternity, how much and in what way, your prayers have empowered us to keep on keeping on
December update on David –
Last night Sunday, December 5th, I was watching a video from Cleaveland Clinic, in which the speaker was talking about whether or not Forced Exercise, or exercise in general, would slow down the progression of Parkinson’s disease. Scientists have been conducting tests in which they do something to the brains of mice and rats to cause them to be in a Parkinson’s like condition. The mice were then put on a treadmill or exercise wheel. The poor mice wouldn’t do anything but sit there. If the scientists started the wheel, using a motor, the mice would fall off. Some Mad Scientist, decided to force the mice to move by making a treadmill which, they could not get out of, and if they didn’t move, they would be given electric shocks to their feet. The electric shocks are why this is called, Forced Exercise. The study has been inconclusive, plus it would not necessarily, be the same for mice and humans.
However, I found the part about the inability of the mice to get on with life, enlightening. I have been so hard on myself because I don’t accomplish much. It doesn’t matter whether you are talking about building cupboards, writing, finishing projects, reading or anything that I used to love to do, I don’t seem to be able to get on with life
I am in a totally new and different place in my life. I am seventy-two and, before Parkinson’s, have never been sick in my life. I have always had a lot of energy and could do anything I wanted to. As a person with unlimited energy, I could never understand people who needed eight hours sleep with occasional naps in the afternoon. However, since Parkinson’s Disease has come into the picture, all of that has changed BIG TIME.
Today, any plans that we make are tentative. Which is one reason I have dropped out of the Knights of Columbus, and anything else that requires me to be in a certain place at a certain time with duties and obligations to fulfill. The Knights of Columbus were having a Tootsie Roll Drive. I was assigned the One O’clock in the afternoon slot, at the lobby of the TLC Community Credit Union. What could be easier than passing out free candy and taking donations from anyone who wanted to give one? I had spent the morning with Bill, who was going to drop me off at my house to pick up my car. We were almost to my house when I realized that I had hit the wall.
For me, hitting the wall is like your car running out of gas, or your phone battery suddenly going dead. Unlike a marathon runner, there is no extra energy tank just waiting for me to push through the wall. The only way I know to refill the tank is a nap. This napping is fine when I’m at home, but when you’re at a party, or in the Credit Union lobby, it’s a little embarrassing. Fortunately, on that particular afternoon, Bill was able to pass out Tootsie Rolls for me.
Hitting the wall happens because of a lack of Dopamine in my brain. The Carbidopa/Levodopa that I take five times a day, is supposed to take care of this. However, if I eat something too soon before or after taking it, the medication will bind itself to the protean and go out in the stool. (There are probably other reasons why it doesn’t work that I am not aware of.) Because of this, I have Good and Bad days.
A bad day is one in which I have absolutely no energy. I will read something, but not finish because I cannot concentrate. If you send me a message or text, I might read it, but typing takes so much energy, that I will probably not respond. I will sit there and berate myself for not finishing a project. In my mind I will know exactly what needs to be done, and say, “Let’s get it Done.” Sadly, on a bad day, that’s as far as anything will be taken.
A good day is one in which I will have periods of energy and be able to accomplish something. I have learned to pace myself because, just like in the Tootsie Roll example above, I know a nap is coming. Many times, a twenty – or thirty minute nap will take care of the exhaustion. On other days, I never do recover and become like those mice just sitting and watching television. (In case you wonder, the Mice do not actually watch television.)
Because of a fall and injury last July, I got out of the habit of daily therapy and/or exercise. I realize that these will extend my life, and yet,I haven’t been able to return to a regular, daily exercise/therapy. In consequence, I am less able to speak clearly, I am falling more, and having more difficulty with driving. (I ran two stop<signs last week.) I am not sure how much longer I will be able to drive.
It turns out that I have diabetes which has caused diabetic neuropathy in my legs. I am on the Mayo Clinic Diet, and my weight has gone from 240 to 227. Pray that I will be able to get to the target weight of 190.
Finally, other than an occasional prostrate infection, prostrate cancer continues to sit there. Of course, since infection is one of the top ten killers for people with Parkinson’s, I must be diligent. I am on an antibiotic right now because of this. Please pray that my PSA numbers return to normal.
PRAYER REQUEST –
Please pray that I will take my medication at the right time and not eat anything too soon before or afterwards.
Both Harriet and I struggle with insomnia. I (David) never had any difficulty sleeping until this disease came along. In fact, I was always a morning person who loved getting up with the sun. Harriet was always a night owl who enjoyed sleeping in. (She always hoped that the Eater Sunrise service would be held around eleven o’clock.) Sleep has become a frustrating thing in our lives. The Bible says, “God gives sleep to His beloved.” Since the sleep might not come until sometime between five and eight in the morning, we are now on a flexible schedule. That means, unless it is impossible, we will not make any appointments before one O’clock in the afternoon. It also means that every alarm gets set from the time we fall asleep. If Harriet doesn’t fall asleep until Seven AM, she will not set her alarm before Two PM, seven hours later. In a separate post, I will tell you everything we’ve tried.
PRAYER REQUEST- That the Lord will give us sleep.
DECEMBER Update on Harriet.
You might recall that in September 2019, Harriet was put on Arecept, and Father Fain prayed for her to be healed as he took a pilgrimage across Europe. The result was an almost 100% restoration.
Sadly, Arecept only works for 3-5 years. The disease continues to destroy the patients brain, and eventually, the medication can not cover up the damage.
Harriet is having some trouble with planning and memory. The question is, is this because of sleep deprivation, or is Arecept no longer working?
PRAYER REQUEST: that Harriet’s neurologist will have a correct diagnosis and understanding of how to proceed.