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tremorgrrrl

Parkinson's and Dating

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Hello All

 

After a long marriage which is ending in divorce (attributable, in part, to the Parkinson's diagnosis which really highlighted the emotional distance and communication problems my spouse and I had for years), I am facing the prospect of dating again. I am actually excited by the opportunity to meet someone who will make my heart beat faster!

 

My question is this:

 

When and how do you tell someone you are just getting to know about Parkinson's?

 

I can't imagine telling someone right away because I am fairly asymptomatic when properly medicated, and I am so much more than this condition. Also, I don't want to have my first dates turn into medical school lectures about YOPD, or serious philosophical discourses about the future. At the same time, I want to be honest, I know I will need to mention it at some point (especially as I take meds every four hours or so, I wear a Neupro patch (ugly!), and I am tremor dominant when "off"), and it is a part of my reality and has shaped who I am today.

 

Advice?

 

Any and all thoughts welcome.

 

Thanks,

 

OneWingedVictory

 

PS I am not convinced dating someone else with PD or any other chronic medical condition is the answer. The keys to a successful relationship, IMHO, are openness, honesty, the willingness and ability to communicate and listen, a common goal (ie being and staying in a committed relationship), and actively working at the relationship. Common interests and experiences are wonderful but the other things I mentioned are essential. At least for me.

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That's a good question, and one I hope to never need to ask. I'm sure it's a difficult time for you. I'm glad you're excited at the prospect of meting someone and experiencing those stomach butterflies again.

 

I don't think there's an easy answer. However, I do believe you'll know when it's time. Just be honest from the beginning and you'll find the right person. I can't wait to read your posts! Please share stories with us!

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PD is a chronic disease, much like diabetes, autoimmune disorders, and the list goes on...god knows if your date will be "healthy" himself. and i think that any woman with PD who wants to go out on a first, second etc date, should feel and behave like a woman going out on a date who happens to have PD, not like a woman with PD who happens to go out on a date. be honest about your condition, but don't let it overshadow everything else. it has nothing to do with who you really are as a person, as a woman.

 

my opinion, for what it's worth: if your date asks you about your tremor, tell him the truth. "I have YOPD". end of story. if he asks for details give them to him. if he doesn't ask and you don't feel like telling him, don't say anything. bottom line, do as you feel. you are in no way "obligated" to inform anyone on your medical condition, unless you want it yourself and the relationship is serious enough for you to care.

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Four yrs. ago I started to enter the dating world after losing a wonderful loving man. I took meeting many frog before a prince appeared. When we met he could see I had a left hand tremor...so we talked about it...even read a book called why I shake. His only comment was "if you need help you have to ask...I won't over power you with help...do for yourself as much as possible." Last month when I was going through some rough days and saying why me he said "listen I've accepted your illness but you haven't". So my advice is find the right person...be open...enjoy each day whether good or bad. If someone new comes into your life go with the flow...you never know what joy might be behind the door till you open it.

 

Patricia

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"i think that any woman with PD who wants to go out on a first, second etc date, should feel and behave like a woman going out on a date who happens to have PD, not like a woman with PD who happens to go out on a date"

 

Christie -- Thank you for framing it this way. That is exactly how I feel about PD in general. With that in mind, I think for me the best approach is to see how my date reacts to the PD symptoms or other indicia of PD (meds, patch, etc) and then to take it from there. The bottom line is that if PD is a barrier, that person isn't for me.

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Thanks Patricia, Christie, and Jenette for your support. I hope, Jenette, that you are never in this position, it is not what I ever expected. Christie, thanks for your wisdom. And Patricia, good luck to you.

 

As for me -- this is another of life's adventures. I do not intend to be unhappy; that is the reason I left my marriage. So with that in mind, I will keep you posted on my adventures out there in RomanceLand.

 

Best to all of you and again, thanks.

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Good Morning

 

I thought I would share an anectdote from yesterday's coffee date with someone new:

 

After about an hour of lively conversation, I took a quick peak at my watch and realized I was 15 minutes behind schedule on my meds. I also noticed my date noticing my hand starting to tremble.... So I nonchalantly took out my pill case, took out my dose, and he said, "What's that?" I said, with practiced indifference, "Dopamine." (No need to be technical, he is a university lecturer in history.) He looked at the pills, then me, then looked at the pills again, and with complete seriousness asked, "Can I have some?"

 

And no, he does not have PD.

 

Next...

 

Does anyone have any amusing PD-related dating stories to tell?

 

OneWingedVictory

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So I nonchalantly took out my pill case, took out my dose, and he said, "What's that?" I said, with practiced indifference, "Dopamine." (No need to be technical, he is a university lecturer in history.) He looked at the pills, then me, then looked at the pills again, and with complete seriousness asked, "Can I have some?"

 

Nothing better than a hint of psychosis to make Parkinson's look like...a stomach bug...

 

So I nonchalantly took out my pill case, took out my dose, and he said:

"What's that?"

"Nothing, just a little Thorazine...i get really nervous on first dates. Believe me, i need this pill. At least, that's what my psychiatrist thinks"

"Psychriatrist??"

"Relax, i was just kidding. it's only dopamine for my young onset Parkinson's!"

 

don't forget the "young onset" stuff..makes Parkinson's sound like chickenpox!

 

Onewingedvictory, i'm so glad you got busy already ! Fall in love soon ! And keep us posted.....

Edited by christie
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Christie! That is very funny!

 

And sadly, not so far off the mark.

 

Mr. Pill went on to say that he took a cocktail of medications each day to help manage his bi-polar disorder (the "good" kind of bi-polar, he reassured me, not the "bad" kind, though in all honesty I had no idea what he was talking about at that point). At the end of our two hour date, we went our separate ways, likely not to cross paths again. He told me this morning that he was worried that my PD on-off cycles would not be in sync with his bi-polar cycles. And the lack of rhythmic compatibility could cause problems -- what kind and for whom, he didn't say and I never asked as I had already decided this one was not a keeper....

 

As I said before, next... (!!)

Edited by OneWingedVictory

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Coffee date #2: Vice President of sales at a high tech company and avid nature lover (hiking, biking, fishing, camping).

 

This guy was charming, interesting, smart, funny, and successful. Recently widowed. Seemed perfect. The conversation was lively and fun until we got to this--

 

Date:  Do you like to go hiking?

Me: Yes, I do.  Last week my friend and I did a six mile hike in the foothills. It was a lot of fun though challenging--wet and a lot of downed trees and stumps.

Date:  Do you wear leather?

Me: Always.  I don't think other kinds of boots perform as well in those conditions.

Date: You like boots, then? Leather boots?

Me: Oh yes, they are very practical for all purposes.  

Date: Like kink and BD/SM, you mean?

 

Actually that wasn't what I meant at all. But thank you for clarifying what YOU meant.

 

I guess PD is not the only topic that requires easing into gently....

 

Next...

 

OneWingedVictory

 

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Thank you for sharing your dates with us! It has been such a long time since I last dated that I had truly forgotten how strange those early conversations can become.

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Hello All

 

Last night I had a Friday night pizza date with a professional photographer -- he seemed to be successful, creative, funny, open-minded, candid... I was thinking, hm, he might well merit a second date if this goes as well as expected.

 

And then somehow we got into a discussion of dating faux pas. He mentioned dating a woman who had presented herself in a personals ad (before online dating) as an avid outdoors woman whom he was only to discover, when he met her at a restaurant, used a wheelchair to get around. He said he was startled to see the wheelchair and felt she had been dishonest by not disclosing it in advance of their date. He told me that he had summarily crossed off his list for second dates other women who had "withheld" what he considered relevant health information, including a woman who had not disclosed before their first date having had an STD (though it had been successfully treated), a woman who did not say she had been seeing a psychotherapist for years, and a woman who had not told him she was in remission from cancer.

 

As I listened to all of this, my hand shaking under the table, I couldn't help but think--This guy is a health bigot!

 

Needless to say, I won't be having the Parkinson's talk with Mr Picture-of-Perfect Health now or ever.

 

Next!

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He told me that he had summarily crossed off his list for second dates other women who had "withheld" what he considered relevant health information, including a woman who had not disclosed before their first date having had an STD (though it had been successfully treated), a woman who did not say she had been seeing a psychotherapist for years, and a woman who had not told him she was in remission from cancer.

 

OMG! What a wonderful man ! A real catch!! A little thorazine wouldn't hurt HIM either...Onewingedvictory, where on earth do you find these guys ? some mental health institute catalogue? LOL.. Well, please give me some time to disclose some important first-date-health-relevant information...chicken pox when i was 9. pneumonia 2 years later. stomach flu when i was 19. really bad hemorroids shortly afterwards. did i forget something ? ups...parkinson's.....let me guess....he will fail me, right ? LOL

Edited by christie

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Continuing my pseudo-scientific studies of homo romanorum (the romantic human), this week I had the following exchanges:

 

(Monday)

 

Date: I know we planned to have coffee on Wednesday but I am an Aries, a fire sign, and I need to act when I get inspired, so can you meet for coffee right now?

Me: Now? No, I can't, I'm at work.

Date: What about after work?

Me: No, sorry, I have plans. Can we still meet on Wednesday?

Date: I'm disappointed. But yes.

 

 

(Tuesday)

 

Date: What time is good for you for coffee tomorrow?

Me: Before work, lunchtime, or after work.

Date: You have a very booked schedule! I was hoping you would be more flexible.

Me: It is a work day.

Date: You know, I just don't think this will work out for us. I thought you would be more spontaneous.

Me: Um, well, I have a full-time job....

 

 

Fortunately, there was no need for me to worry about disclosing my PD to Mr Aries. He likely wouldn't have heard much of anything I had to say while he was gazing with contentment at his own reflection in the shop windows....

 

And having saved that 30 minute coffee break, I ended up, quite by accident, bumping into an old friend on the street and arranging to meet on Wednesday for what turned out to be a truly delightful (and spontaneous) dinner. Just two old friends, neither of us fire signs.

Edited by OneWingedVictory
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Well, sometimes there is no choice but to tell the date that you have PD (or YOPD).

 

Tonight I was at dinner with a new date, someone with whom I had been talking for a few weeks. I was a bit nervous as I have truly enjoyed our phone conversations and I did not want this to be another of those bad-news dates (see above!). I think it was the combination of nerves plus insufficient sleep the night before plus a really hectic day at work plus not enough food during the day but before I knew it, I was starting to slur my words -- ALOT. And I could tell my date thought I was absolutely plastered! (I wasn't -- though at that precise moment I was so annoyed with my motor functioning that I could well imagine getting very very drunk!) When my date wasn't looking, I popped a dose of sinemet, but as its effects are not instantaneous, I knew I was going to have to do some explaining.

 

So, I apologized for my incoherence; said I was not, in fact, drunk; mentioned that I had YOPD; talked a little about what it was and was not; and what kinds of symptoms or effects it causes; and then dropped it. Later the topic came up again when my date asked me to talk about my medications and their side effects. By then I hope I looked and sounded normal again. It was, however, really freaky having a sudden onset of "drunkmouth" right smack in the middle of a first date. I don't recall anything like that ever happening before.

 

Will I see Mr Sober again? I don't know. He looked a bit stunned by the drunkmouth episode (frankly, who wouldn't -- it bothered even me!) but he also commented later that overall I seemed to be well-managed. So...???

 

Stay tuned....

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I think that most of the times we are much more aware of our own symptoms than other people. In the initial stages of PD and when our symptoms are well controlled, we look close to normal.

 

I suspect that your slurring episode was not as bad as you think...

 

I also think, no, correction, i KNOW, that your beauty and your stunning smile -and NOT your slurring- is all that Mr Sober will remember from your first date !

 

So glad you had a date with someone you liked ! And stay away from those lunatics (...previous dates)! LOL!

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Here's wishing you the best! People in sobriety are often more compassionate and understanding of others' problems or illnesses because of dealing their own. I would guess he went home and Googled YOPD to see just what he might be facing. He will see for himself that you told the truth. Did you know that you can get a wallet card from this website that says, "I am not drunk, I have Parkinson's Disease."? It is to hand to a policeman in case you get pulled over in the same condition, but it might work with a sober alcoholic first date as well!

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If you need a card to 'explain' to an officer that has pulled you over about your symptoms showing, maybe you have no business behind the steering wheel. As for informing new dates of your illness, as a normal PWP bachelor once upon a time 17+ years ago, I think I'd still prefer predate voluntary disclosure of all baggage. Back then a PWP strugging to eat a restaurant meal was an object of my fear, pity....loathing maybe. Once I became more like that person and overtime exceeded his/her condition/handicap, only then did I begin seeing the courage, worth, indeed their profound beauty. Today I seek such people out. Interesting thread though. More later. Thanks for posting.

Edited by Rogerstar1
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Thanks, Christie for your kind words and humor! And Beau's Mom for your optimism -- I know your path hasn't been easy of late. And thanks for your thoughts, Roger. I'm not sure I'm all that courageous yet-- I can still "pass" as normal most of the time.

 

I have decided to approach the dating process somewhat like a treasure hunt. There are loads of clues that can send the adventurer down the wrong path but just one true map that will lead to the chest of gold. I just need to find the right map, follow the directions, and hope the treasure chest is still there and really filled with gold.

 

In the meantime, lots of adventures to be had along the way.... Onward!

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I am beginning to wonder if my friends think I am truly desperate --

 

Sunday I had a lunch date with a homeless man. Or rather, I should say, Sunday I bought lunch for a homeless man.

 

"Nuff said.

 

Ugh.

 

(Looking on the bright side, he at least lives in his car...)

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Dear One Winged Victory,

 

I used to work with newly recovering female addicts. My predecessor, Miss Vickye, had rules for starting a new relationship:

 

1) He has to have a job.

2) He has to have a car.

3) He has to have a place to live.

4) His place to live cannot be his car.

 

This was in Texas, where public transportation is spotty, things are far apart, and a car is important. I understand you aren't planning to start a relationship with this man. Your comment just reminded me of Miss Vickye's rules, which always make me smile. Female addicts generally set their sites pretty low! Love that you bought him lunch!

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Beau's Mom--

 

I love this advice! I will remind my friends that these are non-negotiables next time they try to set me up with someone! LOL!

 

It turns out that Mr Car is a musician who recently lost his apartment when the building caught on fire. So he is, I hope, temporarily homeless. But temporary or permanent, this situation raised not just red flags, but a big SOS!

 

So... Onward!

 

 

 

 

 

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By the way--

 

Mr Sober called today. He said that he wasn't afraid of medical conditions and that if PD didn't bother me, it didn't bother him. If it bothered me later, we'd see how it was later.

 

That absolutely works for me!

 

 

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