3 and a half years ago I noticed a twitch in my right toe which I didn’t pay much attention to it and blame it to stress. Few months went by and then was my whole right foot trembling that is when I decided to visit my doctor who attributed it to stress/anxiety and since, training was no longer part of my daily routine stress was not getting buffered out through exercise.
Then, things started to get worse the tremor climbed to my right arm and hand very noticeable and embarrassing especially, when speaking in public, during work meetings or under some type of interaction that needed from me lots of concentration and energy to deliver a clear message.
A week ago, on March 29, I got devastating news for my family and friends I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease a condition farfetched for an Olympic athlete who competed in the Sochi Olympics a year before the first visible symptoms started.
Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder that is caused by degeneration of nerve cells in the part of the brain called the substantia nigra, which controls movement. These nerve cells die or become impaired, losing the ability to produce an important chemical called dopamine.
The tremors started in 2015 but I trace symptoms and countless (and diagnose-free) visits to the doctors back to 2009. My main symptoms are unilateral tremors (right-side leg and hand) and bradykinesia (slowness of movements) the prognosis is unclear since, this is a progressive neurological disorder however, it is not fatal.
Medicine has been prescribed to help with motor symptoms. Also, I’m working on upgrading my lifestyle namely: exercising, diet, meditation, etc. The goal is to find the right formula to try to slow down the progression of this devastating illness that affects more than 10 million people worldwide.
I have always believed that there is a bright side behind any negative given event and this one is not an exception. My main goal right now is to work with my doctors to slow down the progression but also, help to support the existing Parkinson’s Disease research and awareness efforts through The Roberto Carcelen Foundation. This is the right thing to do. I have also started a blog and can be found here for the sole purpose to document my journey through this new chapter in life and report how I’m dealing with it in a holistic approach through lifestyle, diet, exercise, community, work and family support. My intent is to tackle Parkinson’s from the beginning, share and inspire other PD sufferers.