A new regimen of endurance training, a new movement disorder specialist, and tweaking the timing of medication makes a world of difference

I had been seeing the same movement disorder specialist since I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2007. I approached Carol Walton, CEO of The Parkinson Alliance and Executive Director of the Unity Walk, when I was ready to explore other options available to me in the Washington, DC area. I just turned 40, and I felt like my doctor focused too much on treating me with medication and not enough time looking at my treatment holistically. Carol referred me to a new movement disorder specialist that she described as “no nonsense,” which was perfect for me. I work an exhausting schedule in public relations for a defense contractor, I travel a lot, I’m a stepmother to two beautiful girls, and my hobbies take up the rest of the hours in the day that I’m not sleeping – and I don’t sleep much. So, I was ready for someone to approach my treatment more proactively. Carol’s assessment was spot-on, and I love my new movement disorder doctor.

In our first meeting, she changed the timing of my meds. Not the dose, just the timing. At first, I was concerned about whether I’d be able to stick to the strict schedule. I didn’t think about it long. Within a week, I started sleeping better and my energy came back – enough energy to take on an endurance challenge at my gym. I had read about the benefits of working out, and I’d been a member of the gym for a while. But I finally had the strength to really push myself. And I did. Very, very hard. The results, as you can see in the VIDEO, were stunning – and that’s only six weeks into the program. Today, I’m more fit, stronger, and have more energy than I ever did before.

My goal is to spread the message that you can have a life – a vibrant, healthy life – while you balance the demands Parkinson’s places on your body. Working out, endurance training, pushing yourself to the limits … it’s all about reclaiming what Parkinson’s begins to take away, piece by piece. I won’t always be in this shape, I know that. But as long as I can hold on to the quality of life I’ve been able to achieve today, I’m going to fight for it every step of the way.

Bettina Chavanne Team Captain, Team Bettina

12/17/2012 Update:  Please check follow-up post on Team Bettina’s Blog.
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10 Responses to “A new regimen of endurance training, a new movement disorder specialist, and tweaking the timing of medication makes a world of difference”

  1. mike Says:

    would love to talk to her about her daily routine…. i work full time and go to the gym daily….our philosophies are very similar…………nice article

  2. Our Team Says:

    Hi Mike,
    It seems to be making a significant difference for her. I will try to connect you two and get back to you soon.
    Best,
    Helaine

  3. Gayle Maloney Says:

    I too believe that exercise is key to doing as well as one possibly can with this disease. I would love to talk to her about the strict medication regiman she adheres to. I am very happy to see someone doing so well!
    Thanks,
    Gayle

  4. Our Team Says:

    Hi Gayle,
    It is great to hear that not only is the word spreading about exercise being helpful but it is also being put into practice – and paying off!
    Helaine

  5. Bettina Chavanne Says:

    I’m so glad this video is helping people. I’ll be publishing an update to my blog this week. Please feel free to join as a reader or just check out some of the posts – I talk often about exercise and PD – I’ve come to understand how important it is. Thanks for your interest!

  6. Our Team Says:

    Thanks Bettina. I know our walkers will appreciate the update. If others are finding different exercise programs helpful, please let us know. Sharing what’s working is so important.
    Helaine

  7. GinnieLong Says:

    Can you be more specific as to the “tweaking of your medication timing?”
    Thanks!

  8. Our Team Says:

    Hi Ginnie,
    From what I understand from Bettina, her doctor changed the timing of her medication, not the medication she was taking or the dose. The change in the timing alone was helpful to her. Every person is different and reacts differently to their medication. This possiblity is something you may want to raise with your movement disorder specialist.
    Helaine Isaacs
    Event Director

  9. Mary Keunecke Says:

    You go girl, would love to work out together. Maybe we can meet at the PUW. I too have PD and work out every day! I’m 55 and have had it for about 3 years. Let’s keep fighting!

  10. Our Team Says:

    Mary,
    Can’t wait to walk with you in Central Park in April. It’s hard to imagine on a day as cold as this but in three months spring we’ll be here and we’ll be gathering and raising funds for research.
    Helaine

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