Parkinson’s -Art in Evolution: By Maria De Leon

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I love the poem “One Art” by Elizabeth Bishop.

The art of losing isn’t hard to master;

…Lose something every day. Accept the fluster

Of lost door keys…..’

Since we all got diagnosed with PD it seems that we have all become experts in losing something. I have felt my mind slip away at times, lost friends and loved ones, a career, and almost lost my way. I have felt ridiculous, unimportant, overwrought, underrated, over anxious, and under attack.

So, yes! Bishop was right; ‘The art of losing isn’t hard to master.’

But, instead of losing myself to this illness called Parkinson’s disease, I am practicing faster and harder not to be flustered by it. My am learning that my life despite the losses will be filled with joy, harmony, and beauty. When I let go of my fears I will no longer be ridiculous but beautiful, steady, and victorious. Then I would have achieved a true work of art.


Tips On How to Use and Find The Best Sunscreen to Savor the Summer- PD and ALL : By Maria De Leon

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Tips On How to Use and Find The Best Sunscreen to Savor the Summer- PD and ALL : By Maria De Leon.

via Tips On How to Use and Find The Best Sunscreen to Savor the Summer- PD and ALL : By Maria De Leon.

Tips On How to Use and Find The Best Sunscreen to Savor the Summer- PD and ALL : By Maria De Leon

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“May your joy be as deep as the ocean and your sorrow as light as foam.” ~ Unknown

Just because we have Parkinson’s and we may have a greater risk of developing melanoma from our medications as well as from our disease; it does not mean we should hide under a rock and not enjoy life!

So, as the summer fast approaches, we want to be ready! I know I am. My absolute favorite time of the year is summer, not just because it’s the season of my birthday which I am sure has something to do with it.

Health & Beauty Tip #3: Parkinson's Disease & MelanomaI relish the reinvigorating energy I get from witnessing a beautiful sunset on the beach or feeling the sand run through my toes as I walk barefooted feeling the waves wash away my worries and heal my soul. Nothing like feeling the breeze of a cool wave as it splashes on our face as the shore sends a thousand little particles of salty water combined with musky scent of the hot beach, along with sun tan oil mixed with the fruity drink in our hands to titillate and awaken the senses. In an instant we are transported to a time when we were just ourselves, No inquisitions, No struggles, No loser’s only winners.

The sea does not judge it only listens and returns what we thought was lost, our sense of awe, wonder and belief in something bigger than ourselves.

But, in order to fully enjoy without worry of damaging your skin: I recommend these simple tips.

Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen in Sensitive SPF 30

  • First, make sure you use proper sunscreen. No natural products because they are not safe to stop damage from UVA & AVB rays.
  • Second, Make sure that the sunscreen you choose contains ingredients like Titanium Dioxide, or Zinc Oxide. The SPF 15 or higher is only for UVB protection; A SPF 30 or higher is recommended for those of us who have Parkinson’s because of our increased risk factor. There is no rating to tell us how good something is against UVA.

Best Way To Wear Sunscreen: (pictured are 3 of the sunscreens I highly recommend)

Banana Boat Sport Performance CoolZone Broad Spectrum SPF 30

  •  Apply sunscreen  at least 30 minutes before you go in the sun. Don’t forget to apply under your make up or get make up with SPF in it but most make up only has 15 so apply some extra under your make up.
  •  You may not get complete benefit because apply too little- use 2

    L'Oreal Sublime Sun Sheer Protect Sunscreen Oil SPF 50+

    tablespoons or 1 ounce to cover body.

  • Don’t  forget spots like feet, tips of ears, back of legs and your lips (use UV protective lip balm)
  •  Reapply at least every two hours and more frequently if perspiring or getting wet.
  • Always wear sunscreen if you are out and about in the day – not just on sunny days. 80% of UV dangerous rays will penetrate the clouds even in cloudy grey skies- so wear it then too.

Protect your skin if not in the water-

Sit in the shade

Wear sunglasses

Wear a hat -preferably a stylish broad brimmed hat

Wear sun protective clothing ( dark and tightly woven)

Avoid the sun between 10 am and 4 pm the highest peak of UV rays here in the States.

Curl up with a good book or catch up with your best friend or soul mate.

I suggest that this summer you take an away trip to your favorite beach and rediscover the REAL YOU inside!


Everyone have a terrific Memorial Day Weekend!


A Tasty Dysphagic Diet : Doña Maria’s Thick & Creamy Potato & Carrot Soup: by Maria De Leon

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“I kiss way better than I cook…

and I am a pretty good cook” ~ Suzy Toronto


As we begin to have motor fluctuations with Parkinson’s or as the disease advances some of us may begin to experience difficulty in swallowing. This is typically manifested in the form of coughing or choking. This does not mean that we have to give up taste or stop eating! We simply have to adjust our diets to get the right nutrients and still find pleasure in food. This recipe which was my grandmothers (who not only was a great cook but had PD herself) is great for those who need a diet for those that have dysphagia (this means trouble swallowing which can result in malnutrition, dehydration, aspiration, and chocking).

This is also excellent for Parkinson’s patients because as we lose our sense of smell we tend to lose our taste which is deeply integrated to our abilities to smell. Our tongues only detect salty, sweet, bitter and sour. It is actually the nose which gives us the flavor of food and palate. But, by making a rich creamy, buttery tasting soup combined with the crunchiness of the sunflower seeds and the chewy texture of the cheese you can stimulate and titillate your taste buds all at the same time!

Hopefully this will become one of your favorite recipes as it is mine.

Plus it’s not only nutritious but easy to make whether you are the patient with PD or the caregiver for a loved one who has Parkinson’s.


3 large (Delaware or Nadine) potatoes

2 large carrots

1/2 cup milk

2 cups heavy cream

1 tbsp. butter

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground pepper

1 queso fresco (crumble)

Roasted (honey) sunflower seeds

Parsley for garnishing

Cooking directions :

Place potatoes and carrots in a pot with boiling water to cook. Once fully cooked remove from heat. Drain water. Cool off a bit and peel potatoes and carrots. Place carrots and potatoes in blender. Purée along with milk. Return contents into a separate simmering pot and add butter, salt, pepper, heavy cream. Stir till it simmers. You can make it thicker by adding less heavy cream. Soup has orange tinged when done.

Serve into bowl add a pinch of queso fresco (which has been crumbled) and a pinch of sunflower seeds. Add few leaves of parsley for garnishing!

Bon Appetite!

*****NDD (National Dysphagic Diet)*******

  • NDD1: (dysphagia puréed) All foods must be purred and thickened to a pudding like consistency – must be lump free and little or no chewing required.
  • NDD2: (Dysphagia mechanical altered) All foods soft, moist and easily chewed…meats are ground and served with gravy and sauce. Cooked breakfast cereals and pancakes. Moistened with syrup. Tuna and egg salad in is category. Some chewing required.
  • NDD3: (Dysphagia advanced) Most food consistency allowed except no dry, sticky, hard or crunchy . Food must be moist and bite size. Meats must be tender and cereals moist. Lettuce can be served if shredded.
  • NDD4: Regular. No restrictions.

Massage Therapy for Mom’s with PD: By Maria De Leon

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“Mothers arms are made of tenderness, and sweet sleep blesses the child who lies therein.” Victor Hugo

The happiest moment in any woman’s life is the day she finds out she will be a mom followed by the time she actually becomes a mom by holding that precious bundle of joy that God granted us. We as women learn then what true love really means and nothing in the world can compare or come close to that feeling. Yet, despite all of its joys it is also full misgivings with all of its of ups and downs as we learn to navigate the road of motherhood.

We as moms are always the first to rise and last to go to bed. There are a million things to do in the day to make sure our children are loved, happy, and safe, and well -fed. Parkinson’s and all we are our children’s moral compass. Our quiet courage as we struggle with Parkinson’s single handily while providing care and comfort to those who depend on us; this can leave any woman completely exhausted.

But, imagine that despite her limited energy and strength because of her chronic illness she is still willing to give everything to her children. We give the first of our energy and devotion to them wholeheartedly which leaves us with little strength, energy or time for ourselves. Today, let’s do something nice for all PD mom’s (and all mom’s who work hard 24/7). Parkinson’s disease state depends so much on the ability to rest, recharge, re-energize, and reboot so we owe it to our mom’s, ourselves, our families, and our children to do just that on this special Mother’s day; in which we are celebrating mom’s throughout the US and in other parts of the world like Mexico. So let us give our mom’s with PD (or ourselves) a nice treat in the form of a massage. Aside from helping to ease rigidity, pain, and dystonia symptoms it helps decrease stress and improve immune system. There are many types of massage but I prefer deep tissue massage and I think it works best for patients with PD. This helps get rid of knots, pain  and eliminate excess water from tissue that tends to accumulate with PD medications.

A Swedish massage, is the most common type. This one accomplishes the same as the deep tissue massage without being as rough (as forceful) or as incorporate deep kneading into the tissue.

You can also do an Aromatherapy Massage which incorporates scented oils to relieve stress and sooth the senses. One of the most common oils used and one of my favorites is Lavender. Besides improving stress it also helps relax people therefore allowing them to fall asleep easier. Another essential oil I like is peppermint. Peppermint helps boost energy and improve mental focus.

Hot stone Massage is another form in which hot stones are placed in trigger points of body to relieve tension. I find this too painful and not beneficial to PD symptoms.

Reflexology is also known as foot massage. This type of massage involves applying pressure to certain areas and points of the foot that correspond to various body organs and systems. this form of massage therapy can be very relaxing and therapeutic for those with severe foot pain or those that stand on their feet a lot.

Personally, I find that a combination of these works the best for those of us who have PD. Either a Swedish or deep tissue (my favorite) with some aroma therapy along with some foot massage works the best. Every Parkinson’s diva should have one of these at least once a month to reenergize and refocus our mental energies to keep being the best mom’s we can be Parkinson’s and all!

Happy Mother’s Day Everyone!!!

Give Me Death or Give Me Chocolate! By Maria De Leon

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“In this {my} house the entire food pyramid is made of chocolate.” ~ Suzy Toronto ~

quote-stamp firendship and love 

Food plays an integral role in all of our lives. Whether we are healthy women or women battling PD; we must first  understand that men and women metabolize food differently. In general as we age and as we reach menopause women’s estrogen levels. During menopause, we as women tend to become more sluggish. Therefore, we must learn to adjust our diets to fit our situations given our chronic illness. That does not mean we have to stop enjoying life or depriving ourselves, we simply have to make adjustments to our eating habits and still keep some of our cultural traditions  allowing us to eat the things we love! this means cutting down on the quantity without sacrificing the quality. As a Hispanic woman food is paramount to my life. Through meal preparation and sharing of food is how we show love and engage socially. Desserts and sweets are a big part of this tradition especially anything chocolaty after all it was my ancestors that discovered that sweet “elixir of the gods.” Fortunately, that wonderful substance appears to have intrinsic dopamine like chemicals which are released when consumed. No wonder as my Parkinson’s has advanced so has my craving for chocolate (body always tells you what it needs!) I am not alone in thinking that Chocolate helps my Parkinson’s or at least in the increase consumption of this increasingly rare commodity. Researchers have confirmed that PD patients do in fact increase intake of chocolate compared to their partners who do not have PD. so, today to commemorate both my Hispanic heritage -5 de Mayo and do something good for my PD, I will share with you a chocolate recipe that was my grandmothers ( who also had PD and loved chocolate!)

Abuela’s Mole:

Ingredients:                                         Directions:

1 whole chicken in parts                     1. Place 5 cups of water in a large pot. Add chicken,

1 jar mole Dona Maria                        garlic, onion, celery, peppercorn, bay leaves, salt

1 bar of chocolate “Abuelita”             and pepper. Cook over medium heat for 45 minutes.

1 teaspoon of sugar                             2. Sift bay leaves, celery, onion, garlic, and peppercorn.

Salt/pepper to taste                             3. Take out a cup of chicken broth and place in a

2 sticks of celery                                 medium bowl. Then combine mole and mix until

1 clove of garlic                                  smooth. Once smooth, add back to pot with rest of

5 black peppercorns                            chicken and broth. Add bar of chocolate and

½ onion chopped                                continue to cook over medium heat, stirring

3 bay leaves                                         frequently until chocolate dissolves completely. Add

sugar. Add more salt and pepper if needed.

Turn heat to low and simmer for another 15 minutes.

Serve hot. Garnish with either banana slices or pomegranate seeds.

@copyright 2015

all rights reserved by maria De Leon MD

Ode to Parkinson Women: by Maria De Leon

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They Who are Wild Wacky Women.
They are women of substance…
Women of their own making.
With a perfect blend of Candor and common sense,
They understand the value of Friendship, love and laughter.
They are smart, empowered and enlightened
With the wisdom of a legacy of women
Who came before them. Brimming with a positive outlook on life, And a spirit that soars free,
They find the joy in every journey
And rejoice in this great sisterhood called Women. © Suzy Toronto

girl with hatNever have I met a more fearless group of women than those battling PD! They are mothers, sisters, wives, doctors, artists, leaders. They give without hesitation even when they can’t walk straight due to dyskenesias. They are role models for every girl who thought they could not make a difference in the world. They show us that a lot of heart and perseverance can turn a tough situation into a self enlightening path for others to follow.