10 Things Every PD Woman Should Have: By Maria De Leon

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“Something perfect to wear if the man of your dreams wants to see you in an hour.”

1) A nice silk night gown or pajamas to help you feel feminine, cool and also make sliding and moving in bed a lot easier when you wear off or get rigid.

2) A nice pair of red flats or any peep toed flats of your favorite color that can be worn at fancy occasions or any season to provide a pop of color which can be dressed up or down. Easy to put on when stiff or dyskinetic. But, make sure soles are slippery if have tendency to freeze to avoid falling. Payge Peep-Toe Flats

3) A little black dress/ black well fitted suit – this will be your to go outfit when going out on the town with the love of your life or when facing congress trying to change the world.

4) A Statement necklace- long of course so won’t have to fiddle with clasps- could be a set of pearls or bold gold necklace -something to make a statement and make you feel feminine. Add a touch of class to any occasion and is season- less.

5) A favorite lipstick -one that you can always go to that will make you feel confident and feminine. One that by itself can give you strength to conquer the world. 

6) A print copy of your favorite book by your night stand. One that will always inspire you to continue the journey even when the days seem gloomy.

7)  A favorite scent that is uniquely yours! When I was in medical school I wore “passion”  all the time. It is funny how a scent can define or identify a person. One day in class when studying the brain, we touched upon the olfactory nerve (one that helps us smell) while the Professor flashed a picture of a bottle of PASSION on the screen, to my amusement and amazement in unison most of the class shouted ” Maria!” Upon seeing the picture up on the overhead.We all had a big laugh. It was there that I discovered the power a fragrance can have even subconsciously. I like one that not only smells good and brings your best attributes but the name itself is empowering – it helps if it is visually beautiful or appealing as well! But, that’ s just me!

8) A Hand sanitizer in your purse- it helps protect you from all the germs around and helps prevent spread of germs as well. I like bath and body brands not only do they have great fragrances but come in stylish bottles for every occasion.

9) A sturdy piece of luggage to pack your medications and essentials at a moments notice should the opportunity arises to get away for a weekend or longer.

10) Most important, every woman should always have an idea of who she wants to be and accomplish along with a plan B just in case this PD throws another curve ball…

@copy right 2015

all rights reserved by Maria De Leon

A day in the Life with PD: by Maria De Leon

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10526144_743459779045084_7301643744003029952_nImperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” – Marilyn Monroe

Ever since I was a young girl, I have always enjoyed modeling and getting all jazzed up. Often putting on run way shows and singing extravaganzas in my grandfather’s backyard for the entire neighborhood. But, as a busy solo neurologist on the go on call 24/7 unless out-of-town, I relished those few and rare moments where I could play dress up.

One thing I discovered over the years while purchasing clothes particularly dresses is making sure that you ALWAYS try them on before purchasing. Because even if it’s your size it may not move with you as you like for the occasion in mind. Be sure to try the dress in various positions. As I learned the hard way. I bought this gorgeous sateen empire waist low-cut teal dress which fit in all the right places …extremely elegant and sexy. Well, the day came when I was ready to wear my priced possession and show it off at a friend’s wedding, I suddenly discovered that this magnificent dress only fit me perfectly as long as I stood upright. However, if I sat down the front of the dress would suddenly become extremely lax and would open wide exposing the girls to the world unless I sat with my back completely arched and head tilted to the side as if posing for a calendar photo shoot….not having brought any other wrap ..this was the way I had to sit throughout the entire wedding ceremony.

Feeling all eyes on me instead of the event at hand, I had to concentrate on maintaining my posture rather than focusing my attention on the beautiful wedding in the most serene, picturesque outdoor scenery surrounded by lakes and huge 100-year-old trees. Needless to say that by the time the ceremony concluded I had such a crick in my back and neck.

So, the other day when I was asked to do a photo shoot for a magazine I was reminded of that day in the woods and I had to laugh.  I was not sure I could sit immobile in a certain position for hours once more now that my Parkinson’s has advanced. But, I thought surely they will only come and take a couple of pictures – no big deal. I figured one or two clicks and done. I never expected an entire production. When the crew arrived and started unloading cameras, lights, suit cases, and other equipment which filled up most of my living room. I knew I was in for a once in a life time experience.

My mother -in- law had fixed my hair but with all the perspiration that comes along with PD compounded by that day’s humidity and nervous anticipation, my hair curled back up to its usual frizzy state in less than 5 minutes. Although, I had carefully prepared my clothes the night before, that day I must have changed 5 times at least. Finally, settling on the right outfit and accessories a minute before the crew arrived. the rushing along with frustration of not being able to move quickly caused me to sweat even more despite having the room in the low 60’s. anyone who would have witnessed the down pour would have assumed I was menopausal especially since I had a patch on (neupro). I guess I will have to move to the north-east when this happens. Despite the perspiration and rushing, I was proud of my choice and felt I had done a good job with selection, apparently I was the only one that felt this way. After my make up was done I was asked to show them my closet so they could pick out my clothes. After several selections the RIGHT outfit was identified! I was ready for a nap and we had not even taken a single picture! No other choice but to up my medications to keep up.

I thought I knew how to apply make up, apparently I have been doing it all wrong! The key to good make up application is to make it look natural and last all day. I was amazed how wonderfully smooth and soft my face felt all day long. Moreover my lipstick did not feel like a cake on my lips yet never once peeled off or smeared on my cup (which I hate!).  I have  decided it takes great deal of skill to be a good makeup artist one which I don’t fully possess.

All throughout the photo session the team of photographers kept asking for makeup touch up and hair  touch-up which tickled me to death. After 3 hours of continuous photo taking in various rooms of the house and many poses, I was ready for a nap.

I felt like I should start my own portfolio for a new modeling career after 4 hour photo shoot session!

As I was drifting to sleep with my thoughts still racing from  exhilaration of the days activities, I thought how ironic had it not been for PD I never would have had such a wonderful, fun-filled day!

I slept like a baby that night. Who knew the secret to a good night’s sleep with PD was having your picture taken?

Parkinson’s Diva Book by Maria De Leon

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http://www.thewordverve.com/parkinsons-diva/

Cover for ParkinsonsDiva

Do you ever feel that life has dealt you a bad hand ? Are You at your Wits end? Or simply feel that life has lost its meaning? On top of dealing with your own daily PD issues you still have to run the home, take care of the kids, your spouse along with your parents his parents and even try to hold a job and you are supposed to look good and be happy doing it?

Is this even possible?  oh by the way don’t forget about research advocacy? It’s exhausting just thinking about it make any sense person go a little bunkers.

I felt this way too…but with my years as a Parkinson’s specialist, caregiver to my ailing demented grandfather and grandmother who suffered with Parkinson’s along with my own battles with PD over the last 10 years, I have discovered that there is life despite Parkinson’s. Even though I bear many ugly scars, each one serves as a reminder of my battles of both defeats and victories along the way. Yet, despite the fact that periodically I have a few thorns to yank PD has taught me that my significance or inner beauty as a person does not diminish by my illness and neither will yours as long as you learn to feed your inner spirit in the midst of a raging storm as is PD. I hope this book can serve as a guide and source of inspiration for a better living and happier you!

Jewelry Clasps MUST Have’s for Every Woman with Parkinson’s: By Maria De Leon

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“Always act like you are wearing an invisible crown.”  Unknown

diva crown

It is tough being a woman with Parkinson’s balancing passion with patience given the fact that, try as we might, some days we just can’t move faster than the speed of a turtle, our fine motor skills are shot and our rigidity keeps our wardrobe limited at times.

But, do we also have to give up our love of accessorizing when the occasion calls for it?

I say no…

Yes, we do have to make adjustments to our jewelry preferences and have to become more selective in what we wear.

I love jewelry and have a good collection of unique pieces given to me by my grandparents, my husband, and those which I have acquired over the years. However, much to my dismay a lot of my favorite pieces have had to be put away due to poor motor skills and inability to put on…

So, I was forced to learn the names of clasps types in jewelry so that I could search for pieces which would be easy for a PD woman to put on.

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I no longer can wear any type of lobster, ball, barrel, fishhook, push button, swivel, ladder, slide, or spring ring clasps! these are usually too small which require extra fine motor skills!

But, I was determined not to surrender to my illness and lose my fashion sense simply because I could no longer use above…

Instead, I switched to necklaces and bracelets with magnetic claps. I especially love this type of closure on a nice set of pearls.

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Another favorite of mine is a toggle clasp. These are great for necklaces and bracelets as well but have to have a large diameter otherwise you thVO8I7SGTmay find yourself struggling with these just the same. I prefer these for bracelets.

 

Besides pearls which I love, I now prefer wearing jewelry which are clasp- free.

For instance, you can get beautiful colorful endless necklaces which allow not just for an interrupted flow but can be easily maneuvered and placed over ones head even when shaking, stiff or have dystonia. these necklaces can be any material like cord or beaded or even pearls and because they are long sometimes you can wrap them multiple times creating different looks with same necklaces. The beauty of the cord necklaces you can also easily add and change pendants to fit the occasion or mood. thN5Y8P95L

Then you have your slip-on bracelets which tend to be bangles or cuffs with a wide opening. The next type of clasp free jewelry great for bracelets is stretch. These are great because they easily adjust to fit your wrist. I love bracelets that are a combination of slip-on with a little stretch – this gives it a more polished look for fancier occasions plus not as binding to the wrist as some are. You may also find bracelets with large snap buttons which are great if you have severe tremors as are the slip- on ones.

full_3947_2560_CrystalBeadwovenEarrings_1Earrings have been my biggest challenge because try as I may I simply cannot put the cap on earrings that have  post or studs. Forget ball earrings; the solution is switching to earrings which have long backs –French wire closure (variation of fish-hook clasp). Omega Back (kidney wire hook) earrings are quickly becoming my favorite; these have a hinged “o” shaped lever on the back near the bottom of the earring which closes over the post. Of course we have clip-on earrings. earring%20types-crop-updated

Now when the mood strikes and you feel like showing off that invisible crown for the world to see the great courage and valor you poses within, you can do it in style! 

The 7 Essential Garment Closures for any Parkinson’s Woman: By Maria De Leon

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ART by Ross Webb

It seems that as we get older we begin to forget faces, names, followed by pulling up our zippers then pulling our zippers down. However, I caution not to stand too close to strangers lest we forget which is our own zipper and pull someone else’s down!

As I said before, it’s hard being a woman keeping it all together balancing family, career, and Parkinson’s disease. We have a hard enough time getting up getting dressed and showing up on time where we need to be because our clumsy, shaky, dystonic hands make it difficult for us at times to use traditional garment closures such as small buttons. So in order to make our lives easier we have to learn to compromise and use our creativity and find garments which are both stylish yet practical to wear. My wardrobe has changed only in the types of closures I seek when I purchase my clothes without sacrificing style.
For instance, no more small buttons- they are a death trap. So here are the essential closures I have found that work for those of us who have Parkinson’s and other chronic dexterity issues caused by various illnesses like arthritis etc.

1) Buttons are a fantastic addition to any piece of clothing and can add personality since they come in all colors, shapes, styles, materials, textures, and sizes. The use of large buttons and fewer ones may be all you need to secure your beautiful garments. These can also work in combination with the next essential closure -ties!

2) Zippers are every Parkinson’s woman friend; I know that ever since I got diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease the number of zippers has greatly increased in my own personal wardrobe. Zippers are great on almost anything especially sweaters, and blouses. they are not as convenient in pants and skirts, unless they are placed in the front of the garment. There are simpler and easier ways to wear pants, skirts and dresses without zippers. The answers to these types of clothing are other types of closures which we will discuss next such as elastic, ties and even Velcro.  Zippers also come in all lengths styles and colors. I prefer those with large pulls or tabs and those that are placed in the center of the blouses skirts or sweaters…side zippers I find are quite difficult to use especially in pants but can be helpful in putting on blouses if zippers are placed on the side in the bottom half of garment. I now try to avoid back zippers since they are also difficult to manage on my own particularly if the tab is small.
Sewing Pattern Images for a Vintage Wrap Dress

3) Ties are extremely practical and fast to get in and out of particularly for those of us who have disabilities or take care of loved ones with end-stage Parkinson’s disease or any other terminal chronic neurological disease. Although, tie closures may at times need a secondary closure. For instance, tie dresses like the ones above  may require a snap button at the bust to keep secure. The beauty of tie closures is that they are extremely versatile can be seen in dresses, blouses, ponchos, skirts and many other types of garments from leisurely clothes to evening wear. I have a variety of these in my wardrobe …I particularly like the ponchos and skirts to have ties because they are easy to put on and pull off. Ties can be used alone or in combination usually with snaps as I stated previously.

4) Snaps are the best friends of any caregiver and person with neurological impediments. I prefer the larger snap buttons which do not require as much manual dexterity and can be pulled apart very easily.  To make care giving easier in dressing  those that have frequent bladder issues, wheelchair or bed  bound back snaps are a great solution. These can be installed on dresses, blouses, women’s gowns, sweaters, t-shirts which are only but a few of the examples one could put this practical closure to use.
5) Hooks are another one of my favorite closures. They are stylish plus come in various sizes and shapes which give a unique look and personality to your wear. Couture garments usually come with large hooks. These is my favorites type of closure for outer wear clothing.

6) Velcro can be used on pants, shoes and even shirts which use VELCRO® brand hook and loop fasteners to aid those of us with stiff, shaky, dyskenitic fingers to dress ourselves independently.  this type of closure can not only expedite the daily dressing routines but also make care giving easier when dressing someone that is extremely rigid. I love my new style of shoes which have Velcro.  Also they are extremely practical, plus you don’t have to compromise style because of it. Further,  if you have bladder urgency and frequency Velcro comes extremely handy if applied to pants especially to the garments of loved ones who are bed bound.

 

7) Elastic particularly in slacks or pants and skirts are extremely easy for woman with hand tremors, dystonia or dyskenisia to pull on. All of us with Parkinson’s should have a at least a couple of garments with an elastic waist. However, I must caution against wearing these solely because, as all of us who have worked in the medical profession know, it is extremely easy to gain weight when there are no constricting force around the waist to remind you to not overindulge!

http://www.buckandbuck.com/shop-by-need/parkinsons-clothing.html

@copyright 2015 all rights reserved Maria De Leon