Fighting Parkinson’s, and lessons learned from my mother

I received an inquiry about my Recipe for Recovery, where I derived my theory of recovery, and how my mother’s 24-year battle with Parkinson’s played into all of it. I responded in an email. After I sent the email response a couple of days ago, I forwarded my response to Sally and asked if she felt I had adequately covered the issues. She said she thought what I wrote would be beneficial for all of you, so here it is.

“As you know, I am not a doctor, so what I provide here is my opinion based upon my personal experience, my research, and what I am learning from other Parkinson’s sufferers.

I was predisposed to getting Parkinson’s, but I did not know it. My mother got Parkinson’s, but they say it is not hereditary. I grew up in an era where only years later did they expose the harmfulness of the cookware from which I ate and the laundry detergent that washed my clothes and the pesticides and chemicals that permeated my water, my food and the air I breathed. I grew up in an era where they did not say there was a mercury harm in the tuna fish sandwiches I ate every day for school for 12 years (current standards say I ate 700% of the daily allowable mercury every day for 12 years). So, as you can see, I had all of the genetic and environmental things going on inside of me that made me predisposed to Parkinson’s. However, Parkinson’s lurked around for 48 years in me, just like in my mother, before the harsh symptoms appeared.

When my mother was misdiagnosed with other possible ailments for 4 years, her Parkinson’s kept getting worse because she was being treated with medications for things she did not have. When they said, “try these Parkinson’s medications and see if you get some relief,” she tried them and felt better than she had felt in 4 years. For the following 20 years, she continued on the meds, participated in a study regarding meds, and ultimately, the meds took her mind away before the Parkinson’s took her body away. It was very sad and very difficult to watch. She died at age 72, much too young.

So, when I realized I had Parkinson’s, I knew meds were not an option for me; my mother’s life, and her death, taught me this. After seeing how my mother ended up, the med choice was no choice for me at all. I began doing my research, and I learned very much from Traditional Chinese Medicine, culminating in my seeing Parkinson’s like this: First, we have the things in life we cannot control, such as heredity and the environment in which we grow up (these create the predisposition for the disease); Second, we have the manner in which we live our lives, physically, mentally and spiritually (these determine if the disease ever will manifest itself into the diagnosable disease).

With Parkinson’s, here is how I see the three main causes that bring out the manifestation of the disease to the physically diagnosable level:

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.

When I carefully reviewed these, my first thought was that the liver is negatively impacted; therefore, most certainly, medications are not an option because they will pollute even more an already-not-properly-functioning liver. And then, when I reviewed these three causes, I knew I would recover. Why? Because I could control each of these three causes and heal my soul and my mind and my body…and recovery would be mine.

I did not know when, but I did not care. I did not know I would face Hell, but I did not care. I did not know that other than my family that nobody believed I would recover, but I did not care. Why? Because I knew I would recover as each of the causes was something I could change in my life. I could learn to change and control my emotions. I could learn to change and control my dietary habits. I could learn to change and control my over-thinking mind and live in the moment rather than in anger of the past and fear of the future. I knew I could do Qigong and heal my badly damaged body and organs. I never asked my Higher Power to deliver me from Parkinson’s because it would not be right; I needed to have the experience and fight the disease and learn my lessons. I asked my Higher Power to help control my fears and to help me have the strength to persevere the seemingly unbearable pain I experienced.

And, in the end, I let go of everything and made a spiritual connection with my Higher Power and Parkinson’s was finished. I am blessed, and every day I do my best to show my gratitude by helping others who suffer as I once suffered. That is my recovery story in the shortened form. The longer form is my 100+ blog posts on this site.

I have been clear about my feelings about the medications. Yes, I am firm and resolute that one can recover even if one has taken medications in the past. However, I feel one cannot recover while on the medications. There are many reasons for this feeling, but here are the main ones: the medications overwork and pollute the liver, which is the main organ damaged in the manifestation of Parkinson’s (they make the disease worse, not better); the medications mask symptoms, for a while, that is, so the person does not really understand exactly what is the Parkinson’s they are trying to fight; the medications have side effects that many sufferers mistake for symptoms of the disease, and then more medications are given for these “symptoms” which are actually side effects of the medications; people rely on the medications to “get them better” even though the doctors will tell you the medications do not “get you better;” while people are relying on the medications, they are not relying on themselves, and they have accepted that they cannot recover — the idea being, “if I cannot get better, I might as well try to feel better.”

If somebody wishes to recover and is currently on medications, I feel they should get off of the medications first. This is no easy task and the medications withdrawal comes with nasty withdrawal symptoms. However, so far 6 people I am coaching have worked with me and have slowly gotten off of their medications and they are on their paths to recovery. Many others are reducing their medications as well. I have never posted on my blog my theory of how to slowly get off of the medications because I do not want somebody to fail to talk to their doctor or fail to follow the protocol 100% and then have something bad happen to them. So, I share my protocol with those I am coaching because sometimes we have to talk or Skype every day for a while because of what they face as they reduce their medications. Even though when they hire me, it is 4 one-hour calls or Skypes and unlimited email per month, in reality, that is the minimum, and for those who need me every day for a call or Skype, they get what they need until they can better rely on themselves (I do not charge extra, it is just what I do because I am trying my best to help people).

Nobody can heal you except you. From the things you are doing, you are looking for somebody or something outside of you to heal you. I am sorry to say that I feel these are wasted efforts. If you have viewed Sadhguru’s video I recently posted on my blog about the quality of life, you know that he clearly points out that to have somebody outside of you control what is inside of you is the worst kind of slavery. The only thing over which we have complete control is what is within us, each and every one of us. You have to be able to trust yourself on your path in life. We all have obstacles, but it is what we do about the obstacles that matters.

Recently, a man I am coaching said, “When I periodically get this terrible leg pain, I worry and have fear that something bad is happening. I then picture myself not being able to walk and spending my life in a wheelchair, and then this makes me angry and resentful.” I asked him if the worry and fear and anger and resentment make the pain go away. He said no they did not, and most of the time, they made the pain worse. So, I pointed out to him that leg pain was an issue he would have to accept. Non-acceptance did not make the pain go away, so acceptance that he would sometimes have pain was part of getting beyond the pain — once he accepted that he would have some pain, it did not consume him with negative emotions and the pain became tolerable instead of unbearable.

The Recipe for Recovery has all of the parts of what I did to heal my body and my mind and my soul. It is why it worked for me and why others are improving through its use. I am hopeful that I have been able to impart some lessons to you that you will find helpful in your recovery.

Please spend some quiet time with yourself and your Higher Power. Everything you need to know to recover is within you. Believe in yourself and connect with your Higher Power. In each moment in time the old you goes away and a new you is there, and then it happens again and again and again…in each moment, let go of your attachment to the Parkinson’s-ill you and step into a new Parkinson’s-healing you. It takes time until you shed all of the old and eventually walk into the new Parkinson’s-free you, but it is attainable if you go after it with your soul, mind, and body.”

I hope that this has helped you better understand why we all can recover. If you read this post and take away something useful, please thank my mother, Lorraine. Today is her birthday. She would have been 77. Happy Birthday, Mom. I am grateful for you.

All my best,



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3 Responses to Fighting Parkinson’s, and lessons learned from my mother

  1. Teri Rye says:


    As a mother, I can tell you that your mother would be very proud of you right now! She would be thrilled to know that you learned from her horrifying experience and from your own in such a way that you are helping many, many others recover, me included. Thank you, thank you! Keep the faith! You are doing so much good for so many!

  2. floramania says:

    Thank you, Howard. It is so beautiful that you have taken all the experiences with your mother’s Parkinson’s and then your own disease and recovery and brought them all together to become who you are today…able to coach others in their own recovery.
    A beacon of light!
    Happy Birthday, Lorraine. And thank you for your part in all of our journey towards recovery. Thanks for Howard.

  3. Howard says:

    Teri and Marie,
    Thank you both very much for your kind words and support.

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