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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Doctor Notes | Eastern Medicine Kind of Girl

To prepare for my appointment with Dr. Georgette Varga, a movement specialist and neurologist in Austin, Texas, I wrote the following note and emailed it to her a couple of days ahead of my appointment.

Current Symptoms

Memory problems
 Weakness in both arms, L worse concentration
 Afraid of falling
 Dizzy spells: happen when sitting/standing up
 Weight change: lost 20 pounds since November
 Vision changes
 Pain level consistently between six and eight out of 10
Leg movements when going to sleep: slow movement has been happening since birth
Rocking since birth
 Chronic Constipation
 Cramping in left and right arms, both shoulders and neck
Pain in left arm/chest
Feel like difficult to stop, difficult to start. Ex: projects

Things to Note:
Grandfather was a Korean vet who had diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, prostate cancer and Alzheimer's.
Father died of mass tumor in his body that caused surgeons to remove pancreas and part of his stomach. Died of septic shock and stroke.
 I was born in North Dakota where the Parkinson's test rate is higher than that of the rest of the country. 2, 4– D was sprayed on the field near the Minot Air Force Base where I was born.
 I've had symptoms since 2009. I've been off antipsychotics since 2011.
I am still progressing.

Research I'm sharing:
North Dakota Parkinson’s Death Rate :http://www.worldlifeexpectancy.com/usa/north-dakota-parkinsons-diseaseNorth Dakota County Map: http://www.ezilon.com/maps/images/usa/north-dakota-county-map.gifNutrients, Suspended Sediment, and Pesticides in Water of of the Red River of the North Basin, Minnesota and North Dakota, 1990-2004: http://pubs.usgs.gov/sir/2007/5065/Center for Food Safety’s Parkinson’s Disease and 2, 4-D: A Summary of the Evidence, May 2013-14: http://dow-watch.org/cms/assets/uploads/2014/01/24-D-and-Parkinsons-Disease-Summary-FINAL1.pdfPesticides Trigger Parkinson’s Disease: http://www.beyondpesticides.org/gateway/health%20effects/parkinson's%20cited.pdf
Agent Orange Use During the Vietnam War: http://covvha.net/vietnam-war-agent-orange/Veterans Exposed to Agent Orange in Vietnam & Korea: http://www.benefits.va.gov/compensation/claims-postservice-agent_orange.asp
Veterans’ Diseases Associated with Agent Orange: http://www.publichealth.va.gov/PUBLICHEALTH/exposures/agentorange/conditions/index.aspSymptom-relieving and neuroprotective effects of the phytocannabinoid THCV in animal models of Parkinson’s Disease: http://www.publichealth.va.gov/PUBLICHEALTH/exposures/agentorange/conditions/index.asp

We ran late to the appointment. It was not my intention to be late, but the universe had other plans. I'm trying to go with the flow, but I raced up the walk way because I hate to be late. 

That morning as I was dressing I had to remember that I was dressing not just for my doctor's appointment, but for a day in Austin which included dinner with friends later. I gazed lovingly at my heels and I felt disappointment because I knew that with my dizzy and falling spells that I should not be wearing heels. I expressed my woe to my spouse and he told me that he would be next to me at all times, not to worry. I smiled at him, delighted he understood. Giving up my heels would be a last ditch effort. I wasn't giving up just yet!

It was my high wedges that the doctor's assistant remarked upon when he saw me. I smiled, said nothing. Then the doctor came in. She asked me how I was doing and I blurted out that I was progressing. It had gotten worse. 

She asked about my arm and if I had changed my mind into having carpal tunnel surgery. I said nothing as she rambled on about how I could lose the use of my arm. 

I piped up in anger, "What difference does it make if it ruins the right arm? We have to know the cause. We can't just go and do more damage to the body by doing surgery."

She pursed her lips. I could see that I was frustrating her. I had become a belligerent patient. Oh my. Was I in for it!

She would not look at my research and insisted that I did not have Parkinson's. She wouldn't examine me either to notice my progression. I persisted in telling her what I had learned in my research about pesticides and Parkinson's. I held up my hand to get her to listen to me when she tried to bowl me over. I told her that my estranged sister had just contacted me and told me that she has the very same symptoms. The very same. From the cramping and tremors, to the storms, and to the severe cognitive dysfunction when it came to memory.

She responded that I don't have tardive dyskinesia and I don't have Parkinson's. When I persisted in asking her what I did have, she responded, "You should get a second opinion. I don't know."

Aha! We got to the root of the problem, didn't we? She doesn't know. No doctor knows. There are too many diseases that are unknown. Until medical science has advanced enough to readily be able to diagnose what I have I will kindly stay away from all western medicine. I'm an eastern medicine kind of girl, I guess.

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