Spring changes (nearly) everything

Maybe it’s the change of weather. Maybe it’s a new stability in my medication regime. But I’ve been enjoying a return of my motivation levels, and with it, a new level of contentment.

Many people who have Parkinson’s have trouble initiating movement. Sometimes this masquerades as depression or apathy. But it is the depletion of dopamine, the defining characteristic of PD, that I think is at the root of the near-total drainage of motivation.

I’ve reduced my total intake of l-dopa in all forms by well over 80 percent since the surgery last November. I had to reduce the level again a couple of weeks ago when a change of diet suddenly cleared out my digestive system. That made my body far more efficient at taking up this key drug. The result was a return of the unwanted muscle movement in my right arm (the arm that is controlled by the stimulator).

The dyskinesia was so pronounced that I thought I had torn a rotator cuff muscle, and undone all of the work treating the tennis elbow that had developed in the forearm. Thankfully, the pain eased as my l-dopa levels dropped another notch. I’m now back to a balance between the two sides: a barely-acceptable level of tremor in my left arm and a barely-acceptable level of dyskinesia in the right arm.

Do I still consider the surgery a success? Absolutely. The elimination of tremor on the right side is a blessing that I am thankful for every day. And to be here after only three programming sessions is incredible. I suppose the only thing I would have done differently, and it’s not a regret, is to have had the right side installed at the same time. It’s only a matter of time until we do the right side. How long til that happens is now largely dependent on how long I can tolerate this balance between the two poles.

Now, it’s time to get outdoors and enjoy the unusually warm and sunny weather!