Skip to main content

My New Quest- Overcoming Parkinson's Disease

My Background in Art

This is a beginning of a new quest for me. Ever since I was a child I loved to draw and paint, and eventually, as I grew up, I studied art in high school and later attended San Francisco Art Institute, University of California at Davis and studied under a great artist, Wayne Thiebaud, and eventually graduated from San Diego State College ( now a University ) with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

One of my early jobs after graduation was as an artist for the Behavioral Research Lab—illustrating text books. Later in life—in order to support my family, as a single parent—I painted wildlife art for a company in Wisconsin—and finally did my own thing —illustrating, cartooning and painting. I never made much money at any of these jobs, but it kept us going—and I was grateful to use my talent in art to help us get by.

The Two Historical Paintings

The Two Historical Paintings

Painting With Shaky Hands

Later, as a senior citizen, I was able to still paint and sell some of my art —through the internet. This last year, as my hands became more and more shaky and l had less control of my fingers—I was faced with a difficult situation. But, even with this problem with my hands—I was able, with a lot of prayers, to complete two historical paintings—One painting on the history of the Plume trade in Florida and the story of the eventual protection of the wildlife there -- and the other on the story of the Iditarod and the founding of the race and it’s history-(shown above). After exhibiting the first painting in an art show in Florida—I donated the painting to the Florida Audubon Society. The second painting was donated to the Iditarod committee in Alaska to raise money for the great race.

Diagnosed With Parkinson's Disease

Recently, as my hands had become more shaky and difficult to use and especially to paint with, I was told by my neurologist that I had Parkinson’s disease—-which, according to him and other professionals in the field—-is irreversible and only worsens with time. There are drugs that help, but don’t eliminate the problem—and they have side effects. So this is my quest—since I am 75 years old and don’t take any regular medicines ( only vitamins ) but have been proscribed a medicine to help slow down the progression of this disease ( which makes me sick to my stomach)—I plan to start using natural remedies and supplements and exercises along with the medication to make it possible to paint again—I know that through prayer and reading my scriptures daily, that I was able to paint two pictures, in spite of my shaky hands and against all odds, so I believe that anything is possible.

Trying New Things

I have researched many articles on the internet with various studies and trials that have been successful to some degree with slowing down the progression of this disease through the use of certain natural supplements, herbs and exercises—and so I will see what happens. As the medicine with Dopamine, that I was prescribed ( even in smaller doses), continued to make me sick to my stomach, I was able to find a natural alternative--a natural Dopamine --Mucuna pruriens. One double blind study that I read about, that tested this form of dopamine, said that this supplement showed positive results in the study --so I will use this form instead-- and so far it has not caused an upset stomach as the other did. One of my goals is to continue painting, perhaps even using different techniques—-in working with or somehow over-coming these shaky hands.

The Most Important Reason For My Quest

I've have shared my desires to over-come my shaky hands and regain motor-control to continue with my art.. But, by far a more important reason than being able to paint again-- is the reason to use my hands to communicate in sign language. It has been more and more difficult for me to sign and especially finger-spell with the lack of the motor-control of my fingers. I can put up with the difficulties of curling my hair or stirring the batter for pancakes or even picking things up or buttoning things. I can even put up with learning alternative ways to paint-- but not being able to communicate with my three deaf children in our face-times together would break my heart. So I will keep learning new ways to fight this disease and try new foods and natural medicines and forms of exercise to be able to help---and with God's help --over-come this disease. This is my quest!