The 2013 Benefit for
and Parkinson's Disease
I began having tremors in my right hand over a year ago. As it got
worse I knew I had to get checked. Being one of those "don't go to
the doctors unless you have a bone sticking through the skin"
kinda guys, my wife Jill finally put her foot down after doing
research on line.
I pretty much knew I had Parkinson's Disease, so it was not a total
surprise. One event really "shook me up" (LOL). I was playing
slide guitar, when my left hand started moving on it's own with
bizzare consequences. My hand started shaking up and down on
the neck playing some very different version of "Red House". LOL.
My wife looked at me and asked if I was okay. She knows how I
play and realized something wasn't right. Losing complete control
of my hands was my biggest fear. The thought that losing this gift I
was given was surreal. I decided to rely on family, faith and the
Gardner sense of humor to get me through each day.
1st Doctor's Appointment: June 2009.. After sitting in the 10x10
room with my wife for 20 minutes. The doctor came in and asked
me a series of questions and observed my body movements. After
an hour consultation, an MRI and other mandatory tests were
2nd Doctor's appointment: July 2009. The doctor came to the
same conclusion and referred me to a Neurologist.
3rd Doctor's appointment: August 2009.. A Neurologist specializing
in Parkinson's Disease would be my final diagnosis. After
reviewing my MRI, my gate, my memory issues, my reflexes and
more, the conclusion was the same as the other two: "Parkinson's
The cost of medication and doctor appointments per month is
overwhelming. Normally the cost is more then most people pay per
month for their normal bills but we still have to pay our bills after
we pay for medication. This is a very stressful time for me and my
family. I have been turned down for health insurance because of
this disease and as of now there is no cure.
I am determined to stay grateful and positive. I play, write and
practice almost everyday. Some days it's frustrating not being able
to control my hands, but I've found the more I play, the more I CAN
play. I can't do all that aerobic playing like I once did, but that's
cool because I still get to share my gift and blessings with
everyone around me. I'm just a little more slow hand these days.
I started seeing changes in
my husband about two years
ago. Mike's right hand was
twitching, especially towards his
thumb area. As time past the
twitching in his right hand
got worse but we still didn't
think that it was anything to worry about.
Until, it moved to his left hand. I believe this is when we both
knew something was wrong.
It was the episode at the gig, that Mike mentioned above, that
convinced him to finally go to the doctors. Although it was not
what anyone would want to hear, at least now it had a name:
Months have passed and Parkinson's continues to put
obstacles in his path. Many things that we take for granted are
now a constant struggle for him. Something as simple as tying
his shoes, buttoning a shirt, brushing his teeth, carrying a
glass of milk or even taking out the trash, can be an
impossible task some days. Then there are other days when
he does quite well, but his hands still tremble.
Some of the worst symptoms I've noticed with Mike is when he
wakes up in the morning. He has to get up slowly. Once up his
whole body shakes vigorously, and continues to for roughly an
hour or until his medicines start to work. It's very difficult to see
him in this state. The other symptoms that he and I notice
sometimes are, bobbing of the head, muscle tremors in the
legs and arms, forgetfulness, his gate is shorter and
sometimes shuffles his feet, no energy, depression, and more.
The doctor said that Mike's body is running in second gear
instead of fourth like the rest of us. This causes weight gain
and because he's unable to exercise properly, it's difficult for
him to keep it under control.
The medicines are very expensive but he needs them just to
function throughout the day. We are both working as hard as
we can and I'm back in College to secure a better job (and
benefits) in the medical field. Also, I'll be better prepared to
care for Mike in the future. Hopefully a cure will be found
before that time comes around.
Mike has been amazing through it all. He continues to laugh,
tell jokes, play the guitar, and still keeps that positive attitude
that makes Mike the one everyone wants to be around. I'm
grateful for having him in my life. Not only as my husband, but
my best friend. I pray each day for a cure, but if not, I
promised to stand by him for better or for worse and I meant it.
I Love You Michael Gardner. You are not alone. JG
Major Changes for my husband. By Jill Gardner
|Another Gardner's of Soule song.
To the Edge
Rooster. May you RIP