Hi, my names Benjamin and in 2011/11/07 I was diagnosed with Y.O.P.D ( Young Onset Parkinson’s disease ). You’d think that’s where my story would begin. Truly I wish it was but this story starts about a year and a half earlier.
I was a retail guy, I’d been in mid-executive level management since I was 17. I was pretty good at it but then things started to change for no apparent reason. Little did I know at the time but the disease had already started to effect my cognitive abilities as well as my physical status too. I started to miss deadlines, conference calls and emails. My body, neck,back,hips and knees started to ache and at times cause me unbearable amounts of pain. In 2009 my home life started to fail as my decision making and physical abilities started to change. I started sleep on the sofa.
Then one morning after doing back to back retail store inventories it hit me, I woke in more pain and stiffness than I’ve ever been in my life… I was scared. I was 39 just, and I this new sensation I could tell was different. This new pain was deep, deep in my body and brain. Then came the realization that every “guy” who hates taking pills and going to the doctor does… I admitted defeat and started the journey of figureing out what was happening to me.
So go figure the guy who has been active all his life, never liked taking pills and is a HUGE baby when in pain gets a “Pain Dr” two of them actually. A GP ( family doctor ) who is a great man but has no clue what to do for me besides make referrals and we can’t fail to mention the medical system that’s controlled by the big pharmacies….. Well you can imagine what the next year and a half has in store for me. Dr visits, massive amounts of weird random neuro-pills as they start the process of elimination…. See PD ( Parkinson’s disease ) has no test besides a genetics test to solidify it’s DX so the doctors basically have to eliminate everything else before they cross into the land of the neurological disorders. So 8 MRI’s countless x-rays and blood tests later in November of 2011 I’m diagnosed with PD by a very experienced neurologist here in my home town. A month later I get my second opinion from our regions top specialist. I have young onset Parkinson’s disease. Then thins get scary.
Im given my first dose of “Sinemet” or carbidopa/levadopa a compound made to increase the bodies ability to more effectively use the dopamine that the body naturally produces. Imagine that the dopamine in your body as the stuff that takes the information in your body to the places it needs it. Like “swing your arms” or “take a step” well the less dopamine in our brains the more Likely that “take a step” message won’t get where it needs to go. It may come out as a leg twitch or a very large exaggerated step, maybe and most often that misplaced message will simply not come and the leg (mine) will just not move and the momentum of walking will make me stumble or become off balance.
Well that’s enough about Parkinson’s, I also happen to paint. It’s something I’ve done on and off since I was 6 when my father first gave a real canvas. Surprisingly this very same canvas was in my dad’s stuff when he passed in 07 and now thankfully it’s in mine.
Well I’ve said more than I intended yet nowhere near enough. I look forward to sharing this new adventure in life, love and art with all of you.
“A life in progress”