Parkinson’s disease (PD) is an illness with an abundance of physical challenges, but I find writing about it to be quite liberating. This is the only poem I've ever written, and I chose to share it because I think it depicts a broad overview of the illness in a lighthearted manner:
A PARKINSON’S POEM
Parkinson’s is a disorder that dwells inside of me,
I will now try to describe it, so that you will plainly see,
What might not be quite visible to the average untrained eye:
The who’s, the what’s, the where’s, the when’s, and the most perplexing why?
The damage and loss of nerve cells in the brain now sets the scene,
The end result of which is decreased levels of dopamine.
Dopamine is a chemical that transmits signals in the brain,
Memory, movement, mood and sleep are just a few, it does sustain.
This lowered dopamine level causes tremors, pain and stiffness,
Which slows my muscles down, so I can’t move with too much quickness.
Sixty is the average age of diagnosis - no two cases are alike,
So, I will do my best to relay to you the daily battles I must fight.
Shaky hands and feet are often seen, but not so much in me,
Instead, I struggle with balance and I fall spontaneously.
My body leans forward while my arms swing less, which distorts my inner balance,
Along with quick, short shuffling steps, I showcase Parkinson’s many talents.
Parkinson’s disease is not partial with the muscles it selects.
Muscles all throughout my body can feel its ill-effects.
Fewer facial movements (called masking) make me think I should play poker.
What you don’t know - and my face can’t show - is that I’m happy and a joker.
My eyes, they too are afflicted by not blinking as they should,
Which leaves them dry and painful, and with sight that’s not so good.
Writing, tying shoes and buttoning shirts are all hard for me to do,
My poor, stiff, weakened hand muscles - how they hurt me through and through.
A medley of pills every three hours is my schedule day to day.
Most of the time they work, sometimes they don’t - I really have no say.
At times my feet “freeze” to the floor and I simply cannot walk.
To get them on the move again, I have to sing and not just talk.
The disease can be hereditary or due to a fluke mutated gene.
In my case, there’s no family history, it just appeared in me.
It has been 23 years for me at this point and though I’m doing fine,
At the time of diagnosis, I was only 29.
This unrelenting malady has been recognized for years,
With doctors from around the world working much as pioneers,
Striving toward a common goal; to find the elusive cure,
To make Parkinson’s a thing of the past, of this I am quite sure.
If you have questions about Parkinson's disease symptoms, call our free Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO (473-4636) from Monday to Friday, 9:00 AM ET to 8:00 PM ET.