Introduction


#1
Hello, my name is Mike and I'm 23. I have not been diagnosed with PD, nor have I been to a doctor for the following issues, but I would appreciate some insight before I make a decision on how to approach the problem. As I have not been diagnosed, this section of the forum seemed to be the most appropriate.

Over the past two years, I've had some unusual problems arise - sometimes presenting more strongly than at other times. On two separate occasions, my brother and a friend questioned why I don't swing my right arm when I walk. More recently, a complete stranger asked me if I was okay because I "looked like someone just kicked my puppy." Not two hours after that, one of my instructors interrupted his training to ask if I was okay, because I appeared to be choking. My personal trainer (with whom I have not shared my concerns) has also recently dedicated a lot more time to correct some balance problems I'm having during certain weight exercises. He is baffled.

My short term memory has been increasingly terrible, though it isn't precisely as if I'm forgetful. It is more like... information that I know for sure just doesn't bubble to the surface... or like my train of thought just hops on a different track to nowhere for a few seconds, especially when I begin to speak. This much is adversely affecting my ability to study. I have a tremor, though it is unlike how a PD tremor is described. Mine does not occur when I'm relaxed... just the opposite, in fact. If I tense my hands even slightly, that's when I shake. It also seems to affect my upper arms and abdomen whenever I'm lifting myself out bed or otherwise propping myself up. I also noticed myself in the mirror, when I was on the phone just now - and this is what prompted me to go ahead and make a post on here - that I talk almost exclusively out the left side of my mouth. It isn't as if I can't make the right side move, but I have to dedicate focus to it.

I've tried to research these problems myself, but you know how that can turn out. PD is just what always comes up, no matter how I discriminate with the symptoms.

Anyway, here's the dilemma: I am in the Navy and in the middle of some fast-paced training, and I'm 23. I want to be able to investigate these symptoms with a doctor, but for some number of reasons, I fear I won't be taken seriously. I just can't afford to interrupt my training if this turns out to be something trivial.

If anybody has questions, thoughts or insights to share, I'd be most appreciative. Thank you so much for reading all of this.

#2
Hi Mike and welcome to the forum. What a worry this must be at your young age. I'm no expert but here are my thoughts. Many of the symptoms you describe can be consistent with Parkinsonism. Not all parkinsonism symptoms are caused by Ideopathic Parkinson's Disease, however.Examples of other causes are; certain drugs (often psychiatric type), Stroke and other rarer conditions. Not all Parkinson's tremors are the more commonly cited resting tremor. I, for instance, have more of an action tremor when trying to do certain movements and no resting tremor of note.Your lack of arm swing is certainly a sign of Parkinsonism and your balance issues may be. I'm wondering if you're describing the lack of facial expression "mask" of Parkinson's also, hard to tell without seeing someone. Classically Parkinson's presents on one side of your body. If this is the case, is it your dominant side? If so your handwriting is likely to be poor and very small.
What to do next... Well, you know this is not how a 23 year should be feeling. You must get yourself checked by your GP or get referred for a private neuro assessment if that is an option through the navy or personally. Good luck and keep us posted.

#3
Hi Mike and welcome!

Yes, your symptoms do sound to me like Parkinson’s. How is your sense of smell, and do people find you harder to hear lately? These are symptoms (besides the non-swinging arm) that I had quite early. I also found that I had a tremor after exertion (running for the train) and also when applying force to, say, open something.

I am reminded of Ben Petrick (google him) who developed Parkinson’s when he was 23. His book “40000 to one” tells his story. He was a promising baseball catcher. Medication helped him to hide his disease from the world, for a few years.

I agree with Silverkins re getting checked out by your GP or a referral to a neurologist. The sooner you find out what it is, the sooner you can do something about it.

#4
I can do no better than back up my two Forum members & their wise words. I urge you strongly to seek an app't with a neurologist. I send you my heartfelt support, Mike, &ask that you let the Forum know what happens either way. My thoughts are with you. Take care.

#5
hi mike
i have never had tremor at rest and have been dx 5 years. i believe our sort of tremor is more common with younger dx people.
whether it is pd (which seems likely) or something else, you have definitely got something seriously wrong. so if your gp poo-poos it - get another gp - if that doesn't work get a private consult with a neuro. don't be fobbed off.

best of luck, let us know how you get on

#6
a shot in the dark - but do you have a brown ring round your iris?

#7
Thank you all so much for taking the time to reply. Let's see...answering the questions in order:

@Silverkins - The lack of arm swing and of facial motion are both on my right side, but the action tremor (that's what we're calling it?) doesn't seem to care. My dominant side is a mystery. I am left-eye dominant and shoot a gun left-handed, but I write and throw with my right hand. I think I'm naturally left-handed, and that the teachers just always put the pencil in my right hand when I was younger. And I write in all caps because my lower-case is illegible but that's not a new development...been doing that for 6 or 7 years.

@Sheryll - I haven't noticed any changes with my sense of smell. I certainly still have it and it isn't noticeably diminished. And I can't recall any particular instance when somebody was telling me to speak up, though I do tend to speak softly anyhow. This does remind me of something I didn't include in my first post though. See below. Also, I'll be sure to check out that book. Thanks.

@turnip - No, I don't. I have light blue eyes, and both them have a dark blue ring around the iris. Both pupils have a subtle but uniform brown'ish discoloration around them...nothing out of the ordinary.

Anyway, one thing I forgot to mention before: Very frequently I find myself asking others to repeat themselves. There is no trouble at all in hearing them, but often the words just get lost...specifically listening - not hearing - is more difficult. Hope that makes sense.

Again, thank you all for your time and support...will keep you posted.

#8
Hi Mike,

You might be interested in the following

http://www.themortonreport.com/features/hollywood-omigod/parkinsons-in-space-the-astronauts-secret/

which tells how one of the US astronauts kept his diagnosis quiet for many years although it seems his employers knew. I believe his father was a neurologist or similar.