Parkinson's Disease and Me
In early 2008 or 2009, while cutting timber on my property, I was bending forward with chain saw in hand, I bent over to start trimming the fallen tree. The only problem was that I couldn't stop falling. Once bent over was all it took. I threw the chain saw behind me just seconds before I hit the ground. Unbeknownst to me, that was my first sign of PD.
Military service and Parkinson's
As the year went by, more subtle symptoms appeared, muscle twitching, poor writing skills. Having had three previous neck surgeries, my first inclination was that my neck was acting up again. So I scheduled an appointment with my neurologist. Had nerve conduction study tests went through the CT Scan, MRI and referred back to he VA. All of this has taken a lot of time, but finally I was scheduled for surgery. There are other factors involved which fall into a separate category.
Even after surgery I had considerable problems, writing, reading, jerky movement, tremors inside and out. My neurologist worked so close with me. And on day he asked the fateful question. "Joe," he said, "didn't you tell me that you served in Vietnam? What did you do?" Well I was a Navy 840 Fleet Marine Force Corpsman, and it was my responsibility to keep everybody healthy, no infections, no jungle rot of the feet, patch up the ones that can still fight, sent for MedEVac Choppers for those hurt too bad, and the DOA; for three years I traveled the country side of Danang, Phubai, Chulai. The kind of names you never want to remember, but can't forget.
The Doc listened to my stories and when we were through, he said "Joe, I believe you have developed PD from Dioxin exposure."
I almost fell laughing so hard. But fate was sealed. I miss him very much; he had to retire early due to health reasons.
Here I am
That is when I started remembering helicopters flying over us, spraying something over the foliage we were in. Well we ate, slept, and lived in those contaminated ares for years.
The VA concurred with my doctor and here I am. Me in all my glory.
If review team doesn't mind, I would like to add another section to my life a little later on. Thank You in advance.
Do you think there is enough awareness of Parkinson's disease?