A Parkinson's Analogy


You have been selected to take part in a Cooking show! Hundreds of guests have been invited to attend. You arrive, as do all the other participants. The host leaps onto the stage and reveals the secret food that will be prepared. Cookies! The crowd cheers, who doesn't love cookies!

On the stage kitchen there are dozens and dozens of canisters and bowls holding every ingredient imaginable that could be used in cookies. Nuts, dried fruit, flavorings, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips and anything else you could put in there. Then the host then invites the whole studio audience to the stage to make whatever kind of cookie they want. The skies the limit. Everyone busily loads ingredients into their mixing bowls, stirring till they are all combined . The pans go into the oven. The finished cookies are all unique, not one the same. Some ingredients are consistent like butter, sugar and flour, but not all the cookies even have these "typical" ingredients.

This is like Parkinson's. There are any number of motor and non-motor symptoms found in this movement disorder. Like the ingredients available for cookies. There are some "typical" symptoms like tremors, reduced arm swing while walking, slowness of movement. But not all people with PD have these symptoms. Everyone's PD cookie is different. Take a scoop, dash, or sprinkle of any or all of these symptoms- no one's cookie is just like yours: depression, anxiety, hallucinations, night terrors, freezing gait, stooped posture, loss of sense of smell, constipation, dementia, facial affect, shuffling, sleep disturbances, rigidity, muscle pain, balance issues, vision changes etc.

When you are diagnosed with PD it's a terribly uncertain time. The neurologist will begin working on ways to manage your cookie as best as possible for the most normal life. Seeking out information from google can be exhausting and relatively unproductive. But finding a place where you can interact with a bunch of other cookies, knowing you are not alone can make the journey a bit more managable. While the fighters at The Parkinson's Exercise and Wellness Center are all very different, and have different strengths and struggles one things remains true- They are all Cookies.