Dancing in the Rain: Lessons Learned on my Personal Journey with PD (more at www.PDPlan4Life.com) Copyright 2013-16 Sheryl Jedlinski
Living with Parkinson’s disease for almost 15 years has provided me with enough life experience credits to qualify for an MD without ever stepping foot into a bricks and mortar medical school. I know firsthand that every part of our bodies is interconnected, from the toe bone to the foot bone to the ankle bone to the leg bone to the thigh bone to the hip bone to the back bone to the shoulder bone to the neck bone to the head bone. How do I know this? I know this because every time I develop a new symptom and go to a doctor to find out what is causing it, the cause is never just one thing.
Most recently, a routine visit to my podiatrist to be measured for new orthotics turned up another new diagnosis… adult acquired flat foot, or “fallen arch,” which pushes the foot to point outwards. This can be the result of injuries, illnesses, or wear-and-tear associated with age. Most people can be helped with orthotics and braces, but some require surgery to effectively ease the pain and correct the deformity, my doctor told me.
This was the last thing I wanted to hear. Having undergone two total knee replacement surgeries and completed 34 PT sessions this past summer and fall, is it too much to expect even a short respite from pain and additional medical issues? Apparently, it is.
While my knees feel great, my sciatica pain has returned and I also am retaining water in my feet, ankles, and legs. My internist isn’t sure what is causing the latter and is relying on a trial-and-error process to figure it out. This has included prescribing a diuretic and an antibiotic, several blood tests, and another Doppler ultrasound to rule out blood clots. Meanwhile, I now have to have take potassium pills to counteract the potassium-depleting nature of the diuretic. Whether potassium levels are high or low, they lead to further medical issues if left unchecked, meaning I now have to have frequent blood tests to closely monitor these levels.
“Whatever is wrong with me now, we are going to fix it right away,” I told my internist. “I did not get my knees replaced just to trade one problem for another.”