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Geminichild

Does She Have It?

7 posts in this topic

I apologize if I am intruding or posting in the wrong place, but I thought where else can I get a better answer.

Six years ago, my Mom had a mini-stroke (Or at least what we believe to be a mini-stroke) and a few days after she found it hard to move one of her legs. To say it effected her emotionally has been an understatement since we are talking about someone who used to run almost every day. She had been to see a neurologist who said that she had Parkinson's but she has since changed to a new one partly because of the way he has been towards her but also because of this. Unfortunately, my father, who is a dentist, believes that diagnosis completely and has basically said such things to her face such as 'You are getting worse' and 'You've lost brain cells' among other things. However, out of the two of us I have been around her the most since the incident (I have been struggling off and on with finding permanent full time work so I have been helping her get to doctor and physical therapy appointments in the meantime) and this is what I have seen.

Tremors=She has had none.

Posture=She always stands up straight while walking

Stiffness=The only limb she has had problems with is her right leg. She said it feels stiff and it is hard to get the muscles to relax sometimes, especially after she has been to the gym (She still goes 4-5 times a week) She can move her other legs, arms, neck etc as well as she did before without any problems.

Balance=In the first year after the incident, she did have problems with balance, partly due to the fact she put all of her weight on her good leg so she was half-moving half-dragging the other one  although she has never fallen. However, now she can put weight equally on both legs and keeps her arms at her sides like one normally does when they walk when she used to hold them out to keep herself balanced in the past. She does use me for support from time to time but only when she is tired or to keep people from asking her if she needs help. 

Face=She can move her facial muscles fine. She has been on Dopamine but she says it really has not helped her much and if she takes more than half a pill, her eyes get extremely sensitive to light so she has to squint

Voice=She can express emotion normally in her voice with normal tone. The quality has come off strained or a little hoarse sometimes, but the intensity of that varies from day to day and I guess may be linked to age (She is in her early 60s)

Speed=After my Dad first said to her she was getting slower, I timed how long it took her to get from getting her stuff at the gym to meeting me at a certain point in the building. Over the past 3 months, 99% of the time it took her 3-5 minutes to reach me with most of that being around 4-4.5 minutes. Even before i specifically timed her, I never seen her take more than 5-5.5 minutes to reach me unless she stopped on the way to use the bathroom or talk to someone.

Mind=She has always been a little scatterbrained and goes off on tangents but she is very intelligent and is still 'herself' and continues to teach Biology twice a week at a local university. The only thing that has been affected has been her confidence thanks to this and what my father says to her.

I am not a neurologist so I know I do not know everything when it comes to Parkinsons and there may be a chance she has this but it also may be she has someone else such as Vascular Parkinsonism. With the help of a medical advocate and a relative of a friend of hers,she has set up an appointment with a new neurologist. My dad is insisting to come with her and I am as well because I am worried my dad might try to influence (Consciously or otherwise) this neurologist's view on things and in turn effect her diagnosis. I just want to make sure I am prepared not only with the evidence I have but knowledge as well because I can come off honest and observant even if I say something my mom may not want to hear. From what I know of Parkinsons, patients usually get worse over time and my mom has Plateaued at where she is at now, partially due to all of the hard work she has put in.

Thanks in advance and I apologize again for being a possible bother. 

 

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Also something I wanted to add to Balance is when she first began working out in the Gym, she would try using a Precor but because of her uneven weight distribution, she had her bad leg completely off the place where her foot needed to be, but now she can use the precor and has both of her feet firmly in the right place to do so, albeit slowly.

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She has a complex syndrome with a history of a stroke and I definitely think seeing a Parkinson or movement specialized neurologist is the right next move.  Also, keep in mind one potential failure is to keep titrating the dose of Sinemet up high enough to see an effect (often people give only 1 tablet three times a day to start and for many people this will not be enough).

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Thank you responding Dr. Okun. The new neurologist that she is seeing does specialize in movement, I believe, but I will have to double check. Regardless, I know getting a second opinion is definitely the right move for her. Also, Is Sinemet the same as Dopamine? If so right now she takes half a pill twice a day but at one point she was taking two pills 2-3 times a day 

Edited by Geminichild

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Yes Sinemet is dopamine; 1/2 tablet of the 25/100 formulation is very low (in general).

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I also know she takes 3 tablets of Ropinrole first thing in the morning and I believe her Dopamine is at standard dosage level. Also, one of the things my dad would claim to prove my mom has Parkinsons is that he will say she can't smell as well as she used to. However, this is something she has had for as long as I can remember and is something I inherited (Both us can smell very strong scents or scents that are really close to our nose but that is it.) Since my sense of smell has always been like this, does this mean that I could develop Parkinsons at some point? 

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Problems with smell can be associated with PD but just because you don't have great smell does not equal PD.

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