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Interview with The Shoe Maven – Tonya Walker and more from WPC2016

Tonya Walker on the cover of More Than Motion!

Tonya Walker on the cover of More Than Motion!

While in Portland,OR for the 4th World Parkinson Congress 2016 (#WPC2016), I visited several vendors and their booths. Here are some of the interesting products and people that I had the opportunity to encounter:

I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with the creator and owner of the blog, The Shoe Maven (www.theshoemaven.com), Tonya Walker, at the More Than Motion booth. Tonya has been living with Parkinson’s disease since the age of 32. Not only is she a mother of a young son, a law professor, a wife, someone with Parkinson’s but also a clothing designer of her own cause-based fashion label (TSM Originals). I appreciate her strength, determination, and drive to make the community more aware. Her positive attitude and passion to make a difference shone through our discussion.

I spoke with Ms. Walker about her blog and her passion for sharing her journey, improving awareness about young-onset Parkinson’s disease, and her love for fashion. With over 120 pairs of shoes, I can say that Tonya blows away my measly 5 or 6 pairs. Tonya found benefit from DBS or Deep Brain Stimulation first by having the surgery on her left side in 2013 and then her right side in 2015. You can watch Tonya’s video at https://www.facebook.com/parkinsonsmorethanmotion/videos.

As I have shared with my readers for over 8 years, Parkinson’s disease requires a proactive pursuit to search for a combination/recipe of complementary therapies, medications, or medical procedures that work exclusively for you. No two Parkinson’s patients are exactly alike, and what may work for me, may not work for you.

Here are some useful tools that I found at the vendor exhibits that might be helpful to know about:

Global Kinnetics Corporation
Global Kinnetics Corporation just released The Personal KinetiGraph, a movement recording device to assist doctors in treating and managing their patients with movement disorders. The PKG Data Logger is a wrist-worn device that was recently FDA cleared for the recording of movement, associated with Bradykinesia, Dyskinesia and Fluctuations. The unit is a nice looking watch capable of providing important mobility information to your doctors. As of 2 weeks ago, the device was not yet approved in Virginia, but some states are currently using it right now. You may want contact them for information in your state at www.globalkineticscorporation.com.

LiftWare
I dropped by the LiftWare booth to try out their stabilizing handle and attachments for people having hand tremor and difficulty with a fork or spoon. The product worked well, appeared to be durable, and was comfortable to hold. If holding a fork or spoon is a challenge for you, due to tremor, I think LiftWare is worth investigating as an option. For more information go to www.liftware.com

LifeWalker
I dropped their booth to take their upright walker for a test drive. My first spin in the walker took getting used to, but I did see the benefit of this device. Unlike many walkers, the LifeWalker keeps the user upright and at eye level, allowing for face to face contact. I found the units well-built at first glance and well designed. To learn more go to www.lifewalkermobility.com.

These are not product endorsements. I encourage you to do the research for yourself and make your own decision. I hope that this was helpful!

Here are some more of my photos from WPC 2016:

A great crowd!

A great crowd!

lisalindatrolley

Keith, Mike, Lisa, Linda, Angela, and me in Portland!

johnbaumannwpc

Author, lecturer, John Baumann, my GoPro, and I!

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Exploring the WPC2016 book nook and finding my book!

jackiepaulmewpc

Ran into my friends– fellow author, Jackie Hunt Christensen and her husband, Paul!

bevandmewpc

Ran into my friend, blogger,humorist, and author Bev Ribaudo (YumaBev – http://parkinsonshumor.blogspot.com/)

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Sharing a seat with my friends and authors Michael and Gretchen Church and behind us fellow authors James and Helen Buell Whitworth!

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Great to see my friend, Adolfo Diaz!

It Doesn’t Hover!

Be Careful!

Be Careful!

Sure it looks like fun, but watch the videos and you might be playing with a potential fire hazard, a product that is sending many to the emergency room, and a powder keg of possible problems. I totally believe that taking a calculated risk now and then keeps life exciting. If you are going to take any kind of risk, make sure that you have looked at all the angles! If the choice is to ride the incorrectly named “hoverboard”, at least put on a helmet, padding, ride on a semi-soft surface, and try to be prepared to fall, rather than expect to immediately master it.

If you have Parkinson’s disease and treasure the faculties that you have, this device, in the current state, may not be the right choice for you. If you desire the ER or an unexpected doctor visit, then spin the wheel, but I’ll wait for another more reliable iteration of these products. I prefer a less risky, less self-com-busting, more stable device that admits that it does not hover (it rolls). Here’s wishing you and yours a very Happy New Year and I will see you right here in 2016!

 

Karl

April is Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month

In case you didn’t know, April is Parkinson’s  Disease  Awareness Month.  Just in time, I am excited to tell you that in the next few weeks  an audio book version of my book, A Soft Voice In A Noisy World: A Guide to Dealing and Healing with Parkinson’s Disease will be released for sale on Itunes.com, Audible.com, and Amazon.com. The book is read by Doug Gochman, a very talented voice actor.  Listening to the book provides a whole new perspective and reveals even more from reading it. As the author, I had no idea that hearing the words read back to me could be so powerful.  Watch for the upcoming sample, soon to be released on www.asoftvoice.com.

Opportunity To Inform

Last week, I went to one of my favorite local hangouts for a bite to eat. I had been great the whole day but my meds decided to try to get me dyskinetic. The meds won out for a brief time and although I didn’t notice if anyone else saw my twitching and shaking, it had to happen at the most inconvenient of times. It rose it’s ugly head at dinner, but why not?

While waiting for my order, a gentleman I never met came over to ask me a question. Before he could even get the question out, I explained to  him that I have and had Parkinson’s disease for over 20 years and what he witnessed was a brief episode caused by a medication side effect and not the disease itself.

This very friendly man told my wife and I that he was curious because he was back in school in his mid-forties to medical training as a physician’s aide. I loved his curiosity about the Disease and the meds. This was a real opportunity to educate and inform someone in the medical community about what PD is and isn’t. When these opportunities arise, I strongly urge you to take full advantage to teach those who understand PD. You can leave a lasting impression and make a powerful impact.

A Soft Voice in A Noisy World: A Guide to Dealing and Healing with Parkinson’s Disease – 12/12/12 Book Launch!

To all our friends, followers and fans – I am excited to announce that today/Wednesday 12/12/12, I’m officially launching my first book: A Soft Voice in a Noisy World: A Guide to Dealing and Healing with Parkinson’s Disease.

As today is 12/12/12, I’m asking you to help promote the book by doing one or more of the following to help us get the word out about the book.

I hope you enjoy my book and find health and hope!
Karl

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