Fighting Parkinson’s, the issue of responsibility

I have received many questions. My goal is to respond to one question/comment/concept on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the next couple of weeks. Please check back for these updates.

In my January 5, 2011 post, I wrote, “For about a decade prior to getting Parkinson’s, I had been studying Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and other forms of holistic healing. From a TCM perspective, I learned that three main causes of Parkinson’s are:

1. Qi and Blood Deficiency, which is caused by emotional stress, anger, frustration, and resentment.
2. Phlegm-Fire Agitating Wind, which is caused by dietary considerations such as consumption of too much greasy, fried or sweet foods.
3. Kidney and Liver Wind Deficiency, which is caused by overwork and insufficient rest which unbalances the body’s natural rhythm.


As you can see, in order to believe that these are the causes of Parkinson’s, to an extent, I had to take personal responsibility for having the disease, which leads to taking personal responsibility for recovering from the disease. Yes, there are other factors…my Mother had Parkinson’s for 24 years before she died, I was exposed to numerous environmental factors as were most of us who grew up in the 1960’s and 1970’s, and I ate a tuna fish sandwich for lunch at school every day from grade 1 through 12 (mid-60’s-1979, so I would have to say I have ingested more mercury than most)…these are the things that made me more prone to the disease, but I feel it was the three above-listed factors that allowed the disease to grow inside me for a long time until it reared its ugly head in September of 2009.”

On this issue of responsibility, there seems to be some confusion. I have had people ask me if I feel ashamed of myself for wanting to get Parkinson’s disease. When I explain that I did not want to get it, they say “but you said you feel responsible for the negative emotions that brought it to the surface.” Here is my explanation.

When negative emotions became habitual reactions to life’s situations, I really did not notice them and I had absolutely no idea where they were going to lead. There is a real fine line here, but a crucial one. How many of us when facing an extremely stressful situation that looks like it has no happy ending get a stomach ache? or a headache? or a panic attack? Do we want the stomach ache or headache or panic attack? Of course not. Are we responsible for having them? To an extent, yes (there are other contributory factors). But if we can step back and assess the situation and say, “Wow, I had no idea my stress level could get so high as to cause these physical issues to manifest themselves on the surface,” then we have identified some responsibility in the cause of the problem, and by then taking responsibility, we can take steps to reverse the problem.

See you Wednesday.

All my best,



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