The Story of One Young Man (Parkinson’s Disease)

My name is Chris McDaniel. I am 27 years old. An alumni of Murray State University. I have Parkinson’s Disease. I have had Young On-Set Parkinson’s Disease for years now. Nine years ago I was assaulted at a party and from everyday after that night, I have had uncontrollable tremors. That is not the only symptom either, just the most recognized. There is slurred speech, stutter, loss of balance, loss of facial expressions, anxiety heightened, loss of energy, instability of posture, and stiffness of the muscles. For three years after the assault I lived my life un-diagnosed. From 2001-2004 I spent my life as a student at Murray State while in and out of clinics and hospitals everywhere from Memphis to Nashville.

The first doctor told me the shaking was a direct result from alcohol withdrawal, since I was at a party then night I was assaulted. The second doctor told me the shaking was caused by post-traumatic stress and will clear up in a few weeks. The next couple of doctors believed it to be a mental disorder of tremendous anxiety, though I felt fine in the mind considering the circumstances. In Vanderbilt, a doctor looked at me for 30 minutes and told me “You have a disability. You must learn to live with your disability. Look at our President. He has a speech impediment and he leads the country”. That cost four hundred dollars.

Within the three years before my diagnosis, I had a few confrontations with some of the fine police officers in Murray. One night, I walked into a gas station to get a fountain drink. There were four police officers hanging around in front of the drink area. I had to stumble and stagger through the middle of the pack and poured a root beer. When I went to pay, I looked up and saw two of the police officers were laughing and saying among themselves “Look how he is shaking”. I couldn’t believe it. The only thing I could say was “I can’t help it”. I went home and called the gas station asking the attendant if I may talk to one of the police officers. They asked who was calling and then said they are not taking any calls. Two similar instances happened between me and a few police officers of Murray and I had no defense.

It is the worst feeling to be led astray by the people that devote their lives helping those in need. I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in the summer of 2004 at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville Florida. Given a prescription for anti-Parkinson’s disease medication and all symptoms vanished within ten minutes of me taking my first pill.

“Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him.” ~Aldous Huxley

I am the first person in my family to have Parkinson’s Disease, except for a nice old man my aunt married. There is a feeling of complete loneliness within my community, my family, and my friends. Luckily, I am a philosophy major. My interest in philosophy is the area of aesthetics- the study of sense experience. Every experience molds and forms who were are. The experience comes just as the sun rises and falls across the sky. We must know ourselves to grow constantly as the experience grows.

“It is the gift that keeps on taking” ~Michael J. Fox (actor affected with Parkinson’s Disease). I have often described having Parkinson’s Disease in a similar way. Life has granted me the gift of living as both the healthy and crippled. Whether the medicine is working on a certain day or not, my life is my experience to love. It is very beautiful to me that I shake because it is my experience and mine alone. This puts me at the mercy of my self rather than the mercy of the disease. Even though my body is breaking, I am at peace with Parkinson’s Disease.

“My life is for itself and not for a spectacle” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson.

What do you think? Is this Parkinson’s Disease?

What would you do in the case?

Can you smell Parkinson’s Disease? One woman can.

It appears “head trauma” could be an initiating factor.

Causes

Parkinson’s disease occurs as the result of insufficient quantities of the neurotransmitter dopamine in a part of the brain called the substantia nigra. The substantia nigra helps in the planning and programming of movement. A neurotransmitter is a chemical substance that is released from the ends of neurones (nerve cells) to communicate with one or several other neurones. Dopamine levels are reduced as the neurones that produce dopamine die. As a result, messages concerning the planning and programming of movement are interrupted.

 

It is not known why this occurs but several possible causes have been studied:

Genetic factors

In approximately 15% of Parkinson’s patients there is a family history. It is not known if this is due to a shared, defective gene, environmental factors, or both. A defective gene has been identified in a rare, early-onset form of Parkinson’s disease.

Environmental toxins

Despite no conclusive evidence that this is a cause, some scientists believe that an internal or external toxin affects the body’s ability to produce dopamine.

Accelerated ageing

One theory is that in some individuals, for some unknown reason, the normal, age-related death of the neurones that produce dopamine is accelerated

Free Radicals

Some researchers believe that the neurones that produce dopamine die due to the activity of free radicals. Free radicals are potentially damaging molecules produced in the body during normal chemical reactions.

 

Apparent risk factors for developing Parkinson’s disease include:

Age
Male gender
Family history of Parkinson’s
Extreme stress
Head trauma
Caucasian ancestry
Herbicide/pesticide exposure
Rural residence
Higher intake of dietary fats

Several factors have also been associated with a decreased risk and include:

Cigarette smoking
Anti-oxidants in diet
Early life measles infection
Southern Cross Medical Library (Parkinson’s disease – symptoms, causes, treatment)

If this is true, and the young man began all the Parkinson’s Symptoms after an assault injury, then perhaps homeopathic remedies addressing “concussion” and “head injury” would alleviate his problems?

 

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