3 April 2021: This family decided to sell the house they live in, to operate on their mother. What would cause a family to take such a drastic measure? Parkinson’s Disease! After 10 years of Parkinson’s Disease Dorys could not control her body. She trembled violently. Without graphic footage this story brings the reality and ugliness of Parkinson’s Disease and its effect on one family. It is an amazing story of suffering, sacrifice and love.
The month of April is Parkinson’s disease awareness month. Parkinson’s Disease is a chronic progressive neurodegenerative movement disorder and is one of the Neurological disorders which are the leading causes of disability globally (GBD Parkinson’s Collaborators 2016), Parkinson’s disease, discovered more than 200 years ago, is the fastest growing neurological disease in the world. There is still no cure. We urgently need a cure for this disease and better treatment for people like Dorys.
This story aims to demonstrate the reality of the disease for people who live in lower and middle income countries and the west too in some cases. The story is from Peru and is made by Christine Jeyachandran, amatuer youtuber. Christine, an Australian, was diagnosed with young onset Parkinson’s disease diagnosis at the age of 37 and lives in Peru. The deficit of services for Peruvians breaks her heart. She writes “Well, within minutes I was blown away by the family’s story. Despite not having my camera with me, I returned early from the beach to film the full story”
Christine started an association to help educate her community about Parkinson’s disease but she has contact with people all around Peru with the disease.
Please don’t let Dorys story be invisible. Her life and the life of her family matter and we need to let others know just how this. We need to END PARKINSON’S!
Christine Jeyachandran – Parkinson’s World Congress Ambassador 2022 & Founder of Activate Liga Contra el Parkinson (Peru)
Over a 100 people attended the visit of Dr Karlo Lizarraga. He was so genuinely interested to meet people and hear and answer their questions. He is from Arequipa but lives in the US.
More than 60% of the attendees were new contacts for Activate and we now have doubled the number of people with parkinson’s we have with 80 with almost 60 on the whatsapp group and new calls coming in everyday.
I was thankful for all the people with Parkinson’s (PWP), friends and family of Activate who helped out. We also couldn’t have done it without Dr Isabelle Carmago organising a huge auditorium in the hospital. Volunteers did registration, drinks table and brought gifts.
I didn’t want to talk too much so Elizabeth shared beautifully her story. Juan brought tears to my eyes as he shared that he has new hope for the future. Juan kinda took over the show and isn’t that what every leader wants, people empowered to step up and take things on.
Another friend who helped with the projection – at last minute she went out of her way to go and borrow a projector and set it up. Then the video wouldn’t play. So we struggled and finally got it going but without sound. Thankfully my friend Favi who kindly took the photos of the event noticed the problem and corrected the sound and we restarted with sound. What a relief. The video was a new before and after of my experience with gymnastics.
As it was finishing the lady beside me leaned in and said “so exercise helps with Parkinson’s disease”….yes!!!! I reiterated this point again that yes exercise can improve your symptoms and movement and increase your quality of life.
Dr Lizarraga is introducing a form of telecare which should be able to help the Peruvian patients but it is early stages so I won’t try and explain it. Dr Lizarraga is also working on advancing the training of neurologists here so that should people with Parkinson’s.
DR Lizarraga visit and the patient support our group provides is something exciting for the community of Parkinson’s and I hope and pray especially the professional community will be willing to be trained in new methods of managing parkinson’s.
Our next event aims to help train professionals to assess Parkinson’s patients and recommend exercise plans for them with Dr Koni Mejia from LIMA. We’ll be doing this on a practical way with real patients and teaching some exercises that help PWP.
Special thanks to Dr Lizarraga for helping us in effect “launch” Activate in a more prominent way. He has also helped me think through some of the issues and define our aims too. Organising his speaking engagement (with the hospitals help) has turned into a mentoring role, even if by email. Thanks Dr Lizarraga.
ESPAÑOL – Visita del Dr. Karlo Lizarraga a Arequipa
Más de 100 personas asistieron al conversatorio del Dr. Karlo Lizarraga. Estaba tan genuinamente interesado en conocer gente y escuchar y responder sus preguntas. Él es Arequipeño pero vive en los Estados Unidos.
Más del 60% de los asistentes eran nuevos contactos para Activate. Tenemos ahora 80 contactos, y 60 en el grupo de WhatsApp y nuevas llamadas todos los días.
Estaba agradecida por todas las personas con Parkinson (PWP), amigos y familiares de Activate que ayudaron. Tampoco podríamos haberlo hecho sin la Dra. Isabelle Carmago organizando un gran auditorio en el hospital. Los voluntarios se registraron, cuidaba un mesa de bebidas a y trajeron regalos.
No quería hablar demasiado, así que Elizabeth compartió bellamente su historia. Juan trajo lágrimas a mis ojos cuando compartió que tenía una nueva esperanza para el futuro. Juan ayudaba con el programa y esto es lo que todo líder quiere, la gente está capacitada para dar un paso adelante y asumir las cosas.
Otra amiga ayudó con la proyección, en el último momento, ella hizo todo lo posible pedir prestado un proyector y configurarlo, pero el video no se reproducirá, así que luchamos y finalmente lo pusimos en marcha pero sin sonido. Afortunadamente, mi amiga Favi, quien amablemente tomó las fotos del evento, notó el problema, corrigió el sonido y lo reiniciamos. Qué alivio. El video fue un nuevo antes y después de mi experiencia con la gimnasia.
Cuando estaba terminando, la señora a mi lado se inclinó y dijo “así que el ejercicio ayuda con la enfermedad de Parkinson” … ¡sí! Reiteré este punto nuevamente que sí, el ejercicio puede mejorar sus síntomas y movimiento y aumentar su calidad de vida.
El Dr. Lizarraga está introduciendo una forma de teleasistencia que debería ser capaz de ayudar a los pacientes peruanos, pero es una etapa temprana, así que no intentaré explicarlo. El Dr. Lizarraga también está trabajando para avanzar en la formación de neurólogos aquí para las personas con Parkinson.
La visita al DR Lizarraga y el apoyo de los pacientes que nuestro grupo brinda es algo emocionante para la comunidad de Parkinson, espero y oro especialmente para que la comunidad profesional esté dispuesta a recibir capacitación en nuevos métodos para manejar el Parkinson.
Nuestro próximo evento tiene como objetivo ayudar a capacitar a profesionales para evaluar a los pacientes de Parkinson y recomendarles planes de ejercicio con el Dra. Koni Mejía de Lima. Haremos esto de manera práctica con pacientes reales y enseñaremos algunos ejercicios que ayudan a PWP.
Un agradecimiento especial al Dr. Lizarraga por ayudarnos en efecto a lanzar “Actívate – Liga Contra el Parkinson” de una manera más prominente. También el doctor me ayudó a pensar en algunos de los problemas y a definir nuestros objetivos Mientras organizando su compromiso de conversatorio (con la ayuda del hospital), el se a convertido en mentor para mi, incluso por correo electrónico. Gracias Dr. Lizarraga.
Do you notice yourself feeling tense, for example in your shoulders? Does your headache?
Do you feel tired or easily irritated? Does your stomach get upset or do you experience shortness of breath?
While everyone might be a bit different it is important that we notice what stress looks like and notice what happens in our body. Looking for the signals is the first step in dealing with stress. This was one strategy the fabulous psychologist Rita Ames taught us in an interactive talk about dealing with stress and Parkinson’s disease. She got everyone talking, even those who seemed reticent at first.
Looking back these feelings of stress were with me at the January Activate meeting where I felt overwhelmed leading almost everything at the meeting. So I had noted this and delegated a few things and asked for volunteers. I was encouraged to have lots of help and glad to not be stressed during our February meeting.
Rita did the main talk and Elizabeth, another volunteer and gifted communicator, encouraged us spiritually. We had a volunteer bring crackers and water and others helped with registration. This allowed me to be free to organise the meeting while carers could tell their side of the story to our registration helpers. The carers often feel isolated so they appreciated having someone to listen to them and show them love.
The biggest surprise was Juan who I asked to report on our legal status and our plans to create a Non government organization (NGO) so we can receive donations. He shared how he had caught my contagious attitude and was now planning big things for “Activate – Liga Contra el Parkinson”. It’s very encouraging as his plans go way beyond my ideas. He also shared about his life with Parkinson, his struggle with depression and thoughts about how we can help others with this debilitating sickness. It’s exciting to see Juan’s approach changing.
We may need a new venue in the future so please pray for this.
We need to have space for exercise classes too (could be the same place).
Also pray we find a physiotherapist to evaluate people, so we can understand their needs before we start classes and track their progress.
Volunteers for Registration at events
Volunteers to distribute and hang posters to educate the public
Volunteers for administration and translation,
Our next meeting on the 3rd of March is with a Peruvian Doctor who lives in the USA, so we need to get an organising team going very soon.
So thanks again to those who helped me this month. I couldn’t do this alone.
I am still thinking of how to avoid stress. I’m really enjoying the work but the extrovert in me doesn’t want to go it alone.
What can you do when you recognise stress in your life?