Thursday July 29, 2010
Wheel Power by ANTHONY THANASAYAN
War Against Parkinson's Is Winnable
We shall overcome: Participants at the MBPJ World Parkinson's Day celebration at the
PJ Community Library on July 24, 2010. From Left to Right: Mrs. Helen Yeo, Rajeswari, Eric Yong, Cheryl Yeong, Lock Kuan Hun.
You, too, can win the war against Parkinson's
I was among the company of a number of truly great and gifted people last Saturday. Nearly a hundred of them to be exact – the rest of which came up to another 100 people were made up of caregivers and supporters of my special friends.
We were all at the Petaling Jaya Community Library celebrating World Parkinson's Day (WPD). And even though the actual special day falls on April 11 of each year, the organiser of the event which was the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) decided to go ahead anyway with the celebration for people with Parkinson's (PwP).
"Although I don't have PD, I am sitting in a wheelchair like many of you" said Anthony.
Front left to Right: Dr. Lim Shen-Yang (Consultant Neurologist) , Sara Lew (President of MPDA), Anthony Thanasayan (City Councilor, MBPJ), Pn. Sharipah Marhaini Binti Syed Ali (Director of Planning & Development Department, MBPJ) and Ms. Chelvi (Physiotherapist).
This, to me, spoke much about the commitment level of the council to follow through with the cause and plight of PwP in our nation, as this was the second time in a row it was doing such a thing.
Last year MBPJ celebrated WPD outdoors. It was held in the garden of its headquarters in PJ with a unique drum therapy session and a physical exercise catered for PwP.
This time round, MBPJ took a more serious approach towards the disease of the nervous system that progresses over a period of time causing the muscles to become weak and arms and legs to shake.
Two of the country's leading specialists on Parkinson's disease (PD) in Kuala Lumpur Assoc Prof Dr Norlinah Mohamed Ibrahim and Dr Lim Shen-Yang were invited to present their expert opinions on the subject.
They also volunteer their services as consultants to the only national society to support them, called the Malaysian Parkinson's Disease Association (MPDA) in KL as medical advisers.
The MPDA was also a co-partner in putting together the MBPJ's event.
Dr Norlinah who is head of the neurology unit at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre in Cheras presented an all-you-wanted-and-need-to-know-about-PD talk with slides and covered all the latest treatment and available drugs in the market.
Anthony Thanasayan: City Councilor of Petaling Jaya City council & Chairman of the Technical Team on Disability, MBPJ.
Dr Norlinah uncovered some sobering facts about PD, pointing out that it affects more people – including younger folk - than most of us care to think.
She revealed that PD was the second most common neurodegenerative disorder and that the numbers are not only increasing but that it is expected to double in the next 25 years, affecting those who are 50 years and above.
Dr Lim who is consultant neurologist at the University Malaya Medical Centre focused on the neuropsychiatric aspects of PD.
He touched on the difficult struggles that PwP had to go through from depression to dementia and even habits of gambling and hypersexual behaviour caused by certain drugs taken by PwP.
Dr Lim pointed out that psychosis and dementia are the major reasons why PwP often have to be cared for in nursing home placements.
Some medication given by psychiatrists unknowingly may even worsen a condition called "Parkinsonism".
"In many instances the care of patients with PD is complex and patients deserve to be cared for by people (doctors, allied health professionals, etc.) with a specific interest in this disorder," said Dr Lim.
Ms. Chelvi conducting a physiotherapy session for the participants.
"This 'right' is embodied in the Global Declaration on PD, which was recently endorsed in Malaysia by numerous signatories, including the Minister for Health," he concluded.
Apart from the serious talks, which kept everybody in rapt attention, there was also a laughter therapy segment that helped us all to loosen up. It was not just for our vocal cords but we were all asked to do some physical movements to the laughter.
Yours Truly was also asked to give a speech earlier on at the event.
"Although I don't have PD, I am sitting in a wheelchair like many of you," I said as I saw the warm smiles that lit up the faces of many elderly persons in the hall.
"Through the connection of my wheelchair and my disability I can understand how you all feel especially being in a situation where you can't get your limbs to do exactly what you want," I said to more smiles from the audience. Some even clapped to show their support.
"Thank you for all the wonderful stories of deep courage that you have given me to share with readers of Wheel Power.
I wish many of you could sit in front of my computer and read of the scores of emails from the public across the country who were greatly encouraged by reading your personal struggles with Parkinson's," I said before concluding with a great quote by the "Back To The Future" actor Michael J Fox who has PD.
It was quoted by MPDA President Sara Lew at the beginning of her speech:
"The war against Parkinson's is winnable. And you can play a part in its victory."
For more information about Parkinson's Disease, contact the Malaysian Parkinson Disease Association in Kuala Lumpur (www.mpda.org.my / 03-7980 6685 / firstname.lastname@example.org).
This article was published in the Wheelpower Column under the title A BRIGHTER FUTURE by TheStar newspaper, on Thursday, July 29, 2010: [read the article here]