Susan Speicher

Susan Speicher

Editor’s note:  Stories by our members chronicle how we are affected by Parkinson’s disease. Our intent is not to prescribe medical advice about the diagnosis, treatment or other medical aspects of PD but to provide information, news, support and encouragement for women living with this condition. Thanks to Susan Speicher for her story. She wrote an article for us in 2014 when we found her taking charge of a mountain!–DB

The Best Medicine is Exercise for Susan Speicher 

I’m convinced that if you asked twenty people with Parkinson’s to describe their symptoms you’d think they were describing twenty different diseases! I believe the same could be said for what works to alleviate symptoms and what exacerbates them.

Therefore each of us must find our own path down this shaky road. Then again, some people with Parkinson’s don’t shake.

Since my diagnosis five years ago I have slowly increased my medicine from Azilect alone to Azilect and Ropinerole to Azilect with more Ropinerole to Azilect, Ropinerole and a little Carbo/Levodopa. I’ve listened to movement disorder specialists who believe one should take as much medicine as needed to alleviate all symptoms and movement disorder specialists who believe one should take as little medicine as possible to make symptoms tolerable.

In the time span of one month I was told to increase my Ropinerole and decrease my Carbo/Levodopa by one doctor and decrease my Ropinerole and increase my Carbo/Levodopa by another.

All of this leads me to the conclusion that only you know what is the optimal recipe for your particular flavor of Parkinson’s and that periodic supervised experiments are necessary to fine-tune it.

One thing I know for sure is that my best medicine is exercise. For me it relieves stiffness, decreases tremor and lifts my spirits. I pole walk two to three miles per day, take a PWR class once a week, and work with a Pilates instructor once a week. I have converted my garage into a home gym where I work on balance and executive functioning.

I volunteer for clinical trials and studies to keep abreast of new developments but I don’t let Parkinson’s define me.

I am fortunate to have a community of men and women with Parkinson’s who inspire me and give me a sense that this is a just part of who I am now. Life is complicated but glorious and now is the time to enjoy it.

About Parkinson’s Women Support The mission of Parkinson’s Women Support is to offer moral support, encouragement and camaraderie for women who are Parkinson’s Disease patients. Check out our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/parkinsonswomen

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