Living with Parkinson's
David Rhoads is a retired sales and marketing executive who enjoys international travel with his wife Candy, playing golf in other countries and spending time with his eight grandchildren. He has an infectious smile, a great sense of humor and an admirable collection of stylish shoes… and socks.
For over 10 years David has been living with Parkinson’s disease (PD). He was diagnosed with dyskinesia and can show symptoms of severe tremors and impaired balance. PD is an insidious disease because it shows a multitude of faces each day. Symptoms can vary from stiff muscles, tremors in the hands and feet, slurred speech and/or trouble with recall. Muscle stiffness can impeding walking and PD can attack the vocal chords relegating speech to a whisper. David is one of the 60,000 newly diagnosed in this country each year and he receives care at the Hospital for Special Care (HFSC) Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center from a multidisciplinary team of clinicians led by neuromuscular neurologist Adam Simmons, MD.
David’s team of caregivers at HFSC includes physical therapists and speech language pathologists as well as the neuromuscular center staff. Medication, exercise and deep brain stimulation (DBS) help address David’s symptoms and help him remain active. A DBS device, a small device implanted under the skin on the chest, sends electrical pulses to key areas of the brain to block nerve signals that cause Parkinson’s symptoms. Dr. Simmons can adjust the DBS externally using a remote control. The results can be dramatic.
David is quick to remind you that a vigorous exercise program is the most important factor in managing PD progression. Of course, the support he gets from his wife Candy is really the best medicine available.