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I have a weird leg

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Hi there,

I’m going to be putting a lot into the ether because I need help. I’m 49 and have spent most of the last 22 years homeschooling children and caring for elderly parents. I have very little job history. I have an associates in accounting and finished most of my general ed credits.

I am currently diagnosed with drug-induced Parkinsonism (this might be a temporary diagnosis since I have most of the typical motor and non-motor symptoms so my MDs feels likely it’s idiopathic; she’s monitoring me and I respond well to CL). Over the last eight months I’ve separated from my husband, lost my income and am about to lose my home and (probably) pets. I’ve been hunting for a job and getting discouraged. 

Here is what I would like help with: job ideas. I’m eligible for training and education if only I can get serious about a direction.  Every time I think I know what I want to do, my body does something to make me feel unsure. 

 Usually it’s my weird leg. When I do anything that requires focus and coordination my left leg acts up. Imagine having a bunch of electrodes on your leg and then putting a large plastic bag over it and filling it with bugs. As soon as I start folding the laundry or cutting the meat or typing or using a mouse it’s like the bug start crawling all over my legs and someone starts randomly firing the electrodes.  With strong motivation and all other circumstances being ideal, I can usually hang in there for about 15 to 20 minutes before I want to scream. I’ve given up driving because it’s too distracting. Since starting levodopa that’s been my worst problem. I have a few minor problems with speaking  and my handwriting is terrible.  And I’m not as efficient as I used to be (forgetful). Also I can’t stand still unless I’m leaning against something (I sway as a side effect). Oh and anything emotional (good or bad) makes me cry but since crying makes me laugh, it evens out (a fun little condition). The career counselor I spoke with was overwhelmed, poor dear. I think I need the perspective of someone with Parkinson’s. 

On the useful side I’ve got all those beneficial qualities that come from good character and intelligence 😁.  

I’ve read so many of your posts I don’t feel like I’m talking about myself to strangers. How have you found meaningful employment post Parkinson’s? What helped you succeed going back to school or training? What should I be looking for and thinking about as I make this decision? Is there a relevant thread I’ve overlooked? I know there’s a thought out there that will spark my brain!


Edited by Sherrie

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Hi Sherrie,I am sorry that you are going through all you stated above,but you are not alone,as my symptoms are similar to yours.I am a little above your age but I was diagnosed roughly two years ago,and I have been having symptoms many years before dx.I lost my Job like you, last year,because it was physically demanding and required alot of driving.I have since been considering looking for something more sendentary,like administrative or a work from home type of job.But I have not been successful,probably due to the non motor symptoms like apathy,anxiety,e.t.c.I try to overcome all these with exercises.I think if you can deal with all the non motor symptomes,you should be able to go back to work.Some people take anti-depressants and do psycotherapy to deal with anxiety/depression.Due to the cognitive problem you mentioned,it might be difficult to go back to school.But as you already have an associate in accounting,you could look for something related to that,maybe data entry work from home job.I know there are people with PD on this forum,who were already in school,when they were dxed,and they still graduated.So you can never say never.Everybody's resilience is different.You are not talking to strangers as we all have somethings in common.We are all here to support one another.If you search the thread well,you will find alot of information related to job ideas.Good luck.

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Sherrie, have you considered volunteering at an animal shelter?  Even if you get a job?  It's wonderful.  I think you would enjoy it and would not only be good with the animals, but I think you would be a joy to be around for the other volunteers and potential adopters. 

Just a little something to think about...

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It’s funny you should say that. I have a cat and three rabbits from the shelter in addition to our very old Labrador! A large part of my life is caring for animals.They definitely get me out of bed. I have also joined a lovely group of women in my neighborhood for community service projects once or twice a week. And I read or play cards with the little neighbor boy nearly every day. And even though she’s in high school, I pack a lunch for my daughter on school days. Since my husband moved I have also taken over care of his small garden. With some thought and planning I putter around slowly about four hours a day. 

Doing something nice for someone else every day is the thing that keeps me feeling relevant.  

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