Showing potential signs of Parkinson's

Nov 19, 2013
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Recently I have been showing strange signs in my body. Massive tremors, loss and inability to sleep, loss of smell, trouble moving, and terrible posture. A search of these symptoms show I have signs of Parkinson's. I consulted a doctor who verified the potential threat, and I'm due to get it checked next week. If I have Parkinson's, will I be able to do magic anymore? Are there any magicians with this problem or anything similar who would explain to how to make magic work with this disease? I'm really frightened by the whole situation.
 
Sep 1, 2007
3,818
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One of the mods at Ellusionist a couple years ago shared some photos of him at a magic shop with Muhammad Ali. Since he was diagnosed with Parkinson's, Ali has been practicing magic as a way to mitigate some of the symptoms of his condition. I can't give medical advice, but I hope this helps take some of the weight off your chest.
 
Nov 19, 2013
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It does, and I appreciate it, I don't know much about the disease, part of why it frightens me. But if magic can actually help, that makes me feel a lot better.
 
Sep 1, 2007
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From what I understand, the tremors are not the disease itself. They're an effect of trying to overcome a progressive paralysis of the nervous system. Keeping your motor skills in constant practice slows the progression of the disease. Many of the tremors you see in patients are actually the result of the medication creating muscle spasms, which is better than your extremities becoming paralyzed. Once you have a proper diagnosis, I would really recommend doing some research and talking to a physical therapist.
 
Nov 19, 2013
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I have noticed that my hands seem to lessen the trembling when I start performing. I perform at a restaurant in Jacksboro and lately people have noticed the trembling before I begin my routine, but it seems to lessen once I begin moving my hands, so what you are saying makes a lot of sense. I am going to the doctor next week. Maybe I'll have some good answers there.
 

RickEverhart

forum moderator / t11
Moderator
Sep 14, 2008
3,655
465
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Louisville, OH
Josh I certainly am not a doctor by any means, but I don't think I would just do a self diagnosis from symptoms you see on the Internet. A lot of people fall into this pit of trying to self diagnose themselves when it is completely something else. I'm not saying you are wrong, just don't get all worried quite yet until you've heard form multiple doctors (after proper tests are run) that you in fact have Parkinsons.
Keep your head up buddy and stay positive.
 

Ashrei

Elite Member
Sep 1, 2007
351
2
I am not good at giving comforting statements. What I can say is this though: At least at the early stage (Parkinson progresses differently for different people, plenty of clinical trials to find out why, but nothing certain yet), the tremor is limited to resting tremor. Means when you are at the rest is when you have the tremor, but when you are busy performing, unless it becomes automatic response, the tremor lessens/stops. Magic can still happen because so many things are happening behind the scene that it's hard for it to be involuntary actions.

Exercise helps. A lot of theories on what different exercise is needed, but what I have seen in the Parkinson's clinic is the people that exercise to maintain better body posture tends to do better, even have some symptoms diminished.

Find a neurologist in the area. Get his/her opinion and go from there. I don't know how old you are, but you look quite young to have Parkinson's. But I'll leave that to the specialist for diagnosis.
 
Nov 19, 2013
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Thanks guys, it wasn't just an internet thing though, I called a doctor a couple of days ago who confirmed the symptoms might be linked
 
Dec 18, 2007
1,610
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Northampton, MA - USA
One of the mods at Ellusionist a couple years ago shared some photos of him at a magic shop with Muhammad Ali. Since he was diagnosed with Parkinson's, Ali has been practicing magic as a way to mitigate some of the symptoms of his condition. I can't give medical advice, but I hope this helps take some of the weight off your chest.

Actually, Ali was a fan of magic long before his illness kicked in. He visited my mentor many times and was frequently in Hollywood Magic doing bits for the public. . . super nice man.

To the OP. . . ten years ago I was diagnosed with Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis as well as two other chronic conditions and have since developed Diabetes type II. I spend 80% of my time in a wheelchair and yet, I'm able to perform, at least a bit here and there, on a regular basis (though I've not done a formal "show" in over 4 years now). I get the shakes and sometimes my hands just open on their own causing me to drop things, but for the most part I have not been robbed of my first love. . . HOWEVER, MS can lead to loss of sight which concerns me in that Diabetes can also create eye problems and my sight is slowly on the decline. . . as a Mentalist this can pose a big issue BUT, I'm looking at what can be done should I go totally or even mostly blind. I have a plan for the future and that includes the loss of use of my hands, which can happen (MS is not predictable).

My suggestion is that you look at other forms of magic that won't rely on slights as much, such as working with small boxes, tubes, etc. so that you can start now creating the act that you hope never to have to perform. . . thanks to Michael J. Fox there's been a lot of advancement in treating Parkinsons, he's stable enough to go back to work and star in a very successful sit com.

We are handiCAPABLE people. . . don't see it as a limitation but rather, a way that you can use it in conjunction with your talent and passions to inspire as well as entertain others. Don't be afraid to talk about it but more importantly, don't be afraid to look the dis-ease in the eye and tell it who's boss. Claim your own power and live by your own agenda. When you start having stronger episodes shift gears and move things in other directions so you can keep performing and spreading your message to others that endure the same ills. Spreading hope in this manner is a form of magic in and of its own.
 
Nov 19, 2013
16
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We are handiCAPABLE people. . . don't see it as a limitation but rather, a way that you can use it in conjunction with your talent and passions to inspire as well as entertain others. Don't be afraid to talk about it but more importantly, don't be afraid to look the dis-ease in the eye and tell it who's boss. Claim your own power and live by your own agenda. When you start having stronger episodes shift gears and move things in other directions so you can keep performing and spreading your message to others that endure the same ills. Spreading hope in this manner is a form of magic in and of its own.

Craig, of all the people to reply, I hoped most of all that you would. I've seen that despite your physical disabilities you've been able to overcome it, and that to me makes you a brave, brave hero in my book. I needed someone like you to tell me that it shouldnb't matter what happens to me, as long as I keep doing what I love. I at first didn't pay any attention to the signs. Other than the fact that I hunched a lot and casn almost never sleep, but I figured it was just genetics or something. It wasn't until I landed a job performing magic at an italian restauraunt in Jacksboro that people began to point out oddities, when trying to do the inflated deck trick, I tried to hold the cards still, in the center of the table, as I always do. My hands began shaking somewhat violently, and the person I was performing to, who happened to be a doctor, noted this and explained to me that it might be a resting tremor. I shrugged it off for a while, I've always been one to believe that doctors exaggerate more often than not, however the honest and slight fear in this mans eyes had me check for more symptoms, lately I have been unable to write legibly, while performing I noticed people have asked me to speak up, and I perform close up, and of corse the insomnia and hunching problem I've had, I added all of these together, and discovered through research several other symptoms that I have, I've always been a paranoid person. So when I posted on this thread, I was legitimatley terrified that I would have to give up magic forever if I found out I had the disease. I had a doctors appointment a couple of days ago, who confirmed that I likely have parkinsons, I go in for a full test in a week. However, oddly enough after the posts in this thread, I became almost unconcerned about it, especially in finding out that magic can slow down the progression of the disease. I thank all of you for your kind words, and seriously, I can't thank you enough.
 

Nicholas17

Elite Member
May 28, 2008
94
5
32
Kentucky
I, too, thought of Muhammad Ali when I read this. I'm from Louisville, KY (his home town), and I have friends who have seen him do magic. I hope and pray that you don't end up actually having Parkinson's, but if you do, don't give up! Keep at the magic. It will be a challenge, but one worth undergoing!
 
Dec 18, 2007
1,610
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Northampton, MA - USA
Josh, thanks for your kind words and know that you can tap me on the shoulder anytime, I'll PM you with my info.

Stay in the NOW. . . don't worry about what's happening even an hour from now; now is all you really have so deal with what your reality is in this moment. Right now you can still do magic, accept that and affirm that in your mind, may it your vision.

Take a lead from M.J. Fox and allow the condition to become a "hook". . . a tool and part of your character; learn to laugh at it and with it and encourage your audience to laugh with you but at the same time, educate people -- maybe create a show to teach people about the condition and how to LIVE.

I'm a firm believer that we contract this type of condition because we are stronger than most people and have it in us to be a positive living example. . . then again, you can opt to take on the pour me role that so many people do. Studies show however that such people die faster than those with a positive and healthy attitude.

Yes, you will experience some depression initially, which is very normal. . . I explained to a person one day about my wheelchair and how, the first time I had to use one it didn't bother me but then I got better and thought life was back to normal until I got knocked on my butt again. . . it was the second time in the chair that I had to deal with my own reality and that scared me and threw me in to a serious depression. But, as my mother put's it, I'm a "Weeble and we wobble but we don't fall down". . . (some of you will get that). I can't let the "bad" things pin me no matter how tough it gets. . . and it's not easy. I don't have much in way of direct support; 95% of my "friends" I've never met because they're all on line and that's a bit tough (not to mention the fact that this is one of the reasons I'm so open about things. . . got to have a place to vent every now and then).

Just keep as positive as you can for as many minutes, seconds or days at a time that you can manage. All will turn out as it's supposed to.
 
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