In the Spotlight Interviews

The Parkinson’s Association’s interview with Marcello Mastrocola, age 80


Ship's captain with EmyPA: When were you diagnosed?

MM: About 5 years ago

PA: What do you do for exercise?

MM: Treadmill and standing bicycle (20 minutes every other day)

PA: What is your favorite activity and why?

MM: I enjoy educating people as a docent on the USS Midway.  I also love to fly my own aircraft – there is nothing quite like it.

PA: What else do you do for your MIND, MOVEMENT and MORALE?

MM:  I enjoy studying and memorizing information to be fully knowledgeable for the Midway Museum Visitors.

Beyond exercising at home, I get plenty more walking and climbing ladders on the ship.

I’m a volunteer pilot for an outfit called Angel Flight. They arrange free air transportation for any legitimate, charitable, medically related need.  At any time, I might get a call to pick up someone who needs to get from Point A to Point B to get vital medical care. I recently flew my plane from San Diego to Arizona, picked up a patient and flew him to Loma Linda Medical Center, waited until the treatment was over, then flew him back. I was home by dinnertime.

PA: How do you stay inspired to take care of yourself?

MM: Helping people and trying to be happy.

PA: What are your worst symptoms, and what do you do to mitigate them?

MM: Nausea. So I just eat a little after taking my pills.

Mr. Mastrocola, a longtime generous donor to the Parkinson’s Association, is extraordinarily fit and mentally sharp – an inspiring example of a person with Parkinson’s who manages his disease and loves his life.

 


The Parkinson’s Association’s interview with Elena Andrews, age 58

elena pose2PA: When were you diagnosed?

EA:  May 2011. I was having difficulty moving my arm and my leg, and was being treated for depression – I never even thought these symptoms might be related!  Eventually a neurologist told me I had Parkinson’s. It was the first time Parkinson’s was even mentioned as a possibility; the diagnosis came as quite a shock.

PA: How long have you been working out, and what kind of exercising do you do?

EA: I swam almost every day for over 25 years until I started working full-time six years ago. Now I do Rock Steady Boxing twice a week and still swim whenever I can. I also like to walk and bike.

PA: What is your favorite exercise and why?

EA: I love Rock Steady Boxing because I can feel myself getting stronger. Our coach, Marylene, is tough and a great motivator. I enjoy working out with other people who have Parkinson’s – we’re all fighting the disease together.

PA: What else do you do for your MIND, MOVEMENT and MORALE?

EA: I eat healthy, rest, laugh, create, work, read. I take acupuncture and chiropractic treatments and use doctor-recommended supplements. I practice a form of meditation called Centering Prayer which contributes to my health and well-being and provides a connection with others who practice it.

PA: How do you stay inspired to take care of yourself?

EA: I feel better when I take care of myself, so that is what inspires me! I’m thinking of climbing Machu Picchu in October, so I’m inspired to get myself into top condition.

PA: What are your worst symptoms, and what do you do to mitigate them?

EA: Fortunately, my symptoms have not progressed much beyond my left side. I take Azilect and the new time-released carbidopa/levodopa formulation Rytary, which reduces nausea and fatigue.

Exercise and boxing really help, both physically and mentally.


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The Parkinson’s Association’s interview with A.T., age 68


20160126-SDPA-15PA: When were you diagnosed?

AT:  2007

PA: How long have you been working out, and what kind of exercising do you do?

AT:  My entire life.  Walking (2 times weekly – minimum), running (3 times weekly), weight lifting (3 times weekly), surfing (weekly), snow skiing (seasonal).

PA: What is your favorite exercise and why?

AT:  Surfing – in the ocean all other concerns are set aside.  The ocean environment captivates and embraces my being and I get the opportunity to “fly on my feet” and experience being in the moment.

PA: What else do you do for your MIND, MOVEMENT and MORALE?

AT:  For my mind, I read, study and I am fortunate to have a very creative job.  I meditate daily.  For movement, I exercise regularly and challenge myself whenever possible.  For morale, I pray and try not to forget to be grateful for what I have and I engage my family and loved ones.

PA: How do you stay inspired to take care of yourself?

AT: I try to stay in love with myself and remain tough and grateful and try to awaken gratitude in others.

PA: What are your worst symptoms, and what do you do to mitigate them?

AT: Hand tremors –  I take regular medication (Artane) and exercise with a Gripmaster Hand Grip Exerciser

Loss of fine motors control in my hands – I push myself to maintain my hand skills and to develop “work around” alternatives

Difficulty talking – I try to time my medication effectiveness so I don’t have to talk at difficult periods

Mild constipation – I eat a healthy well-balanced mostly vegetarian diet and try to keep hydrated (it works)

 



The Parkinson’s Association’s interview with Jim Paterniti, age 67

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PA: Jim, as a person with Parkinson’s, what do for your MIND, MOVEMENT and MORALE?

JP: In 2010, Lester Cohen and I created Minds In Motion at the Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine in la Jolla. It’s a three-pronged program designed to be the non-medical standard of care for people with Parkinson’s. I also do a lot of consulting and mentoring.

(NOTE: Jim and Lester were ahead of their time. The Parkinson’s Association now refers to facilities that address MIND, MOVEMENT and MORALE all under one roof as PA Wellness Centersin addition to La Jolla, there is one in Carlsbad, one in San Diego, and a fourth in Mission Valley).

PA: How do you stay inspired to take care of yourself?

JP: I am nurtured by the love and support of my team, especially my wife, Mary. And I’d like to think it is from practicing my mantra:

Stay active
Life-long learning
Practice kindness
Help someone else

When none of the above works, it’s being at peace  with saying: “No, not today”.

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PA: How long have you been dancing and why did you decide to start?

JP:
I’ve been doing it for about four years.  It seemed a natural progression from some physical therapy I was doing with a physical therapist who  was trained in dance.

PA:  What’s your favorite exercise?

JP: I have two favorites:

Dance, both ballet and modern. I’ve been with studying with Scott Meyers for three+ years, and I am at peace with the conclusion that I will never amount to much of a dancer. However, it keeps my body supple, improves my balance, and provides the feeling of elegance and flow that I crave as a person with Parkinson’s.  It’s also just a straight-out hoot!

Power lifting (bench press, dead lifts and squats), which I’ve been doing with my coach, Mike Relucio, for 15 years. Power lifting at the elite level requires brutal focus and total recruitment of your body.  No distractions – it’s very black and white.  We do it, or we don’t.  We usually “do it”. I guess I love the simplicity and immediacy of moving very heavy objects!

 

Watch Jim’s story

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