Is it ‘PD’ or not ‘PD’?

This condition seems to come with a myriad of different symptoms and pain. It feels like every time I turn around something new hurts. I can’t seem to get a break from it and at times it can be quite demoralizing.

About a month ago – maybe more – I started getting pain in the back of my right knee. I am pretty sure this can be traced to my being at Aquarobics one night, where my knee sort of snapped back. After the event, my knee became sorer and sorer. I went to my doctor and they examined it and sent me for an x-ray to check that I hadn’t somehow broken something. The x-ray came back clear. The knee continued to give me pain and luckily, as I work in a hospital, I was able to get a single crutch to use to get about at work. After about a week, I began to feel better and able to walk – albeit with a bit of a limp still – without the crutch.

I was starting to think about going back to the gym and aquarobics. Then a week or so ago – I lose track of when the various pains in my life start – I was sitting watching television with my husband and had my feet up. All of a sudden, my knee locked and then made a loud popping noise accompanied by pain. It did it three or four times just out of the blue.

My knee continued to ache a bit, but not all that painful really. We had planned a weekend away doing some walking along the beautiful peninsula in Kaikoura. We had agreed that if I had any pain, that we could stop and turn back. I was reasonably confident that I could do the walk if I was careful.

So, we arrived in Kaikoura and checked into our accommodation. We then decided to go for a walk into town for dinner. We had just got round the corner from our B&B and I suddenly felt a sort of ping, like something snapped accompanied by excruciating pain. I could just barely put a tiny bit of weight on my leg and I limped back to the B&B. We got in the car and drove to dinner with me managing to walk in with my crutch. After dinner we went back and watched TV. I got up to go to the toilet and all of a sudden just out of the blue I experienced some of the worst pain I have ever felt. I called out to my husband and he came to help me and I couldn’t put any weight at all on my leg. We managed to make it to the bed and he called the local on-call medical service. I was feeling like I would have to go to hospital, the pain was so severe. About 45 minutes later a lovely doctor arrived – with crutches – to examine me. Her diagnosis is that I have damage to the miniscus in my knee.

I have spent the weekend basically sedentary, while my husband has gone out for walks. There’s no reason he should miss out on doing what he loves. Meanwhile I stayed home and read a book enjoying the beauty of the views out the window.

I have made an appointment to see my own GP on Monday to see what can be done. The doctor I saw said that with miniscus damage, this can ease off of its own accord, but equally it can come back at any time. This is not exactly good news! I know that exercise is a key ingredient in keeping Parkinson’s under control. It seems like every time I try to start an exercise regime, something gets in the way. It is very disheartening and I am concerned that my ability to find an exercise regime that works for me and my Parkinson’s is not working out.

I know that Parkinson’s often comes with pain. What I don’t know is if this miniscus issue is because of my Parkinson’s or whether it is just something that anyone could get as a result of natural aging processes. Is it because I am overweight? Is it a combination of all these things?

If exercise is medicine for those afflicted with Parkinson’s, what is this going to mean for me long-term? Am I going to have to give up any plans of going to the gym? Should I stop going to Aquarobics? Should I just stick with riding my bike? Considering exercise for Parkinson’s is supposed to be something both with an aerobic aspect as well as strength and balance, I wonder if I will ever find something that is both safe and beneficial…

So, in the meantime, I await my appointment with my GP tomorrow. I will hobble my way into work and do my best not to walk too much. Difficult, as I work in a hospital and need to walk up and down to see patients. I will see my GP and see what plan we can come up with. It doesn’t feel acceptable to give up on exercise or to have this miniscus problem waiting in the wings to strike any time.

Perhaps – after I have seen my GP – I should contact my Parkinson’s Nurse and call upon her specialist knowledge to try and get some answers. A discussion with a specialised Parkinson’s Physiotherapist, may also help.

In some ways, I feel like just throwing in the towel and saying that I can’t exercise any more. It just gets too hard to find anything that feels safe or sustainable. But, on the other hand, I don’t want to look back with regret and feel that I didn’t give my best effort to keep this condition at bay.

I think it’s time I got some specialist advice on what to do!

Published by kiwipommysue

I work in health and have been with the same supportive team for over 7 years. They are all aware of my diagnosis and this helps tremendously especially while I get used to the idea of my diagnosis. My parents both had Parkinsons, so I guess my odds were higher than most.

6 thoughts on “Is it ‘PD’ or not ‘PD’?

  1. Hi Sue. I have had a similar type of journey … but for arthritis of the spine.
    My doctors advice was to exercise; but not as aggressively at the gym as I had been for 5 years- particularly pounding on the treadmill at a high level. This gave me Bursitis in both hips and affected most other daily activities.
    I have since reduced 20+kg of weight through moderating what I eat, with smaller servings and a huge focus on a healthy diet.
    Since I have lost weight , over 5 + years, my primary excerise has been walking, counting steps.
    Whilst you have much more complex health issues, I do believe that a focus on shrinking your appetite at 1-2 kilos max per month will be very helpful.
    I had 30 years within an extended family setting where Parkinsons presented. As such I do feel that diet and exercise are two cornerstones of a supportive regime to ensure the best longevity.
    Having a GP and specialist support and guidance is pure gold.

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  2. Hi Brenda. Thanks. I have lost about 5kgs since the end of May, so my GP is pleased with that as they feel a slow and steady loss is better than a rapid weight loss. I am definitely reducing my portions and also drinking a lot less alcohol, which apart from anything else is empty and unnecessary calories. I am definitely going to speak to my specialist Parkinson’s nurse and speak to a Parkinson’s specialist Physiotherapist as well.

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  3. All good things to do. In the States here we refer to a movement disorder specialist. I have taken Cheryl to a physical therapist and we have a friend also a therapist who thinks Cheryl might benefit from the LSVT-Big series of exercises. Overtime Cheryl lost 35 pounds (maybe 15-16 kilos) and does not complain about her knees. Which was the reason we changed living situations 6 years ago – but that is a different story. 🙂 Godspeed to you on your quest for knowledge.

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    1. Hi. I have had a good chat to our Parkinson’s Nurse that works with my Neurologist. A lot of what is happening is apparently part of the aging process. However, I have had an injury and my doctor has got me straight into a Physiotherapist to try to sort things out. He has me on a wrap around pathway including an Orthopaedic Surgeon should they be needed. I did the LSVT Big series and can really recommend it. It helped me and I noticed more arm swing and just felt better in general. I am also able to walk quicker over a time trial we did when I started and when I completed the course and the distance walked was at least double in the time, if not nearly three times! All the best for your journey and thank you for your comments and for following my Blog. I hope you find it helpful. 🙂

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      1. I find most everyone’s story interesting and useful. Cheryl started out with GERD, crappy knees, lower back issues, nerve problems with her neck and then along came PD and old age. 🙄 Evey story is different. Godspeed.

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  4. Yes, every story is different and it is important to remember that. I witnessed both my parents go through this and they were so different to each other. I have to keep reminding myself that I am not my parents and that my journey too will be my own different and unique experience.

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