Through the Eyes of Parkinson’s

claire

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As some of you may know, my grandmothers both suffer from Parkinson’s disease. This makes April a very meaningful month for our One Stitch at a Time campaign. The sad thing is that one out of every 100 people over the age of 60 is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. It can even be diagnosed as young as 18! In an effort to understand this disease from a true perspective, we have really tried to dig deep into the feelings both physically and mentally that go along with this disease.

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Carey and her husband celebrate their 35th anniversary in Cabo!

A Ridge’s Stitches customer really touched our heart last year but did it once again this year. She found out about Ridge’s Stitches through a Michael J. Fox Foundation blog post. Her name is Carey and she is a 58-year-old woman who also suffers from Parkinson’s disease. She was diagnosed at the age of 56, a few years younger than the more common age of 60. But her positive attitude has kept her determined to find ways to cope with this disease. For those of you who do not know, Parkinson’s is very chronic degenerative neurological disorder. There is no objective test for determining if an individual indeed suffers from Parkinson’s and the symptoms vary based on the individual. Researchers aren’t sure that Parkinson’s disease is hereditary but a few rare cases have found a mutation in the LRRK2 gene passed from one generation to the next. Carey’s father had it and so did her father’s maternal grandfather.

Sleep and food seem to play a role for some. The less sleep my grandmother gets, the more shaky she feels the following day. Fried and processed food also brings up unwanted symptoms. Carey finds that the adrenaline released from singing makes her hand shake. But she is so passionate about singing that she finds ways to keep her right hand active while belting her heart out.

Medication can be helpful for easing symptoms but there are many side effects such as drowsiness. One thing we know for certain is that it is extremely important to stay active, physically and mentally. “Move it or lose it” they often say. Yoga, cardio, and meditation are just a few ways Carey has found ease in her symptoms. One of my grandmothers mentioned as she stands she starts to lose balance unless she is moving. My other grandmother sat in a car for a bit longer than usual and felt extremely dizzy for two hours after getting out of the car. Her symptoms did not subside for almost two weeks! Carey finds that her left knee gets stiff if she doesn’t move it for hours. A remarkable technique Carey discovered is falling into a deep meditation. She finds her shaking completely stops. When she was diagnosed in 2013, she was not as strong as she is now. She attributes her incredible strength to “staying active physically, socially, and emotionally.” We can only hope others will do the same. Please help us donate to our Parkinson’s campaigns this month: Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research and the Connecticut Parkinson’s Working Group! Order yours today and help us mend the world one stitch at a time!


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