A Diagnosis is Just a Label for Your Symptoms


I really enjoy watching the You Tube contributions of Dr. Sarah King, PT, DPT, who is a Parkinson’s physical therapist (and owner of Invigorate Physical Therapy and Wellness). She wrote a letter called Things I Wish I Could Have Told You the Day You Were Diagnosed with Parkinson’s – the letter is here; the video here. I recommend it for everyone – it could have been written for anyone recently diagnosed with “aging.”

To believe we are not broken, that a future is still ours to create, and that we can get where we want to go with small changes applied with urgency is important for everyone.


A Turn of Phrase

I like the way Chris Ballard wrote about the basketball great, Brian Grant, in this 5/2/18 article on SI.com:

“the disease is both everywhere and nowhere, because while 60,000 people are diagnosed every year, and roughly 10 million live with Parkinson’s worldwide, most do their best to hide it. Until they can’t. Then they hide themselves.”

Doctors on Video [updated]

I have been watching a lot of online videos of doctors lately.

I’m trying to learn more about the ketogenic diet, its impact on health, and how to take the diet further. But I have to say the whole alternative, or functional, medicine field has a bit of a strange tinge to it. I’d like to recommend something to a friend of mine who has a serious autoimmune disease, but not a single video I have seen since I started researching the link between diet and health has the overview information plus the professionalism I’d like to see.

It might be the bravado of an I’m-wildly-successful-and-right-about-everything-with-a-southern-California-gold-necklace kind of expert.  Or it might be the former-hippie-turned-M.D.-lecturing-the-camera-without-collecting-his-thoughts-first-or-presenting-this-information-in-any-kind-of-systemic-way type. It could be the making-a shake-in-my-kitchen-with-so-many-supplements-that-you-probably-can’t-afford-to-replicate doctor.

I believe these doctors are on the front edge of nothing less than a medical revolution. But sometimes they come across as if they are shilling in an infomercial. There is a certain amount of faith I have mustered to trust their research plus the anecdotal evidence they cite. I do not yet have a functional medicine health practitioner, so I will need to make their arguments to my medical doctors, who are trained in the allopathic approach to health. I can see the eye rolling now, as soon as I mention “I researched this on the internet.”

My Life, My Health

Zen stone beside a river of raked sand

One obvious truth I am realizing as I learn more about health is this: I’m in charge here.

I spend all day in this body. I’m not powerless, in any way, and I have to believe that I CAN guide myself to greater health. It takes continual learning and experimenting. It takes tuning out the naysayers who think I am merely on a weight loss diet or that the changes I make are temporary. It takes the realization that no one else can, or will, push me forward, and that there are no miracle easy fixes, like a new drug or medical procedure, on the horizon.

The work is mine to do. Or not. The outcomes are mine.

So if I want to take a passive approach to the chronic disease I have been diagnosed with, that is an option. But if I want to learn about metabolic biochemistry, the impact of insulin and too much protein, about mitochondria function and mTOR metabolic signaling, I can do that too.

It’s a choice. About my life.

Parkinson’s Research Project

I’m really excited to learn about this new research project from Dr Terry Wahls. Basically this team will survey all participants every six months for five years, and try to identify what impact alternative treatments might be having on the course of their Parkinson’s Disease. I am working on both my mitochondrial health through diet and lifestyle, and my brain’s neuroplasticity through learning and movement. It is my hope that I can model how to slow or halt this disease. I’d urge anyone with a Parkinson’s diagnosis to participate; it took me about 30 minutes to answer the first survey.