Parkinson’s Diva Book by Maria De Leon

Leave a comment Standard

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!

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

Leave a comment Standard

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

Leave a comment Standard

“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!


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

Leave a comment Standard

“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

Leave a comment Standard

“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

10 ways to Make Your Toes feel Like They Are on Vacation: By Maria De Leon

Leave a comment Standard

“Life is better with a little sand in your toes.”


I love shoes. I have a whole collection of them. Being a physician standing on my feet all day long, I knew the importance of wearing sensible shoes and taking care of my feet. When I began having symptoms of PD, I threw away half of my shoes. I thought I would never be able to wear nice shoes again due to the severe foot pain I was all I needed was the right medication. However, I realized that the most important thing in order to enjoy life and continue wearing those nice shoes I love so much was and is foot care especially for those of us who have chronic illnesses that impact our ability to walk and stand.

Our feet go through heck keeping up with us and our PD so we MUST give them lots of TLC to maintain them looking and feeling soft, strong and pain-free.

Many of us with PD like me have foot pain from the very beginning due to dystonia, rigidity, plantar fasciitis, and even callus formation that develops from stepping wrong due to pain and dystonia; but eventually most of us may experience pain at some point due to disease advancing leading to cramping, neuropathies and abnormal distortions in the joint of our feet and toes due to dystonia’s and dyskinesia’s.

So, if you want to be PAIN-FREE with toes that feel like they are on vacation you first have to bered boots KIND to your feet. Then perhaps, if the whimsy strikes you can wear these red boots just like me!

Second, take a close look at your feet on a regular basis. Use a mirror to inspect the bottom of your feet looking for cuts, bruises, blisters, ingrown nails, and callus.

Third, make sure the shoe size fits- our shoe size changes as we age; measure with largest foot at end of day when purchasing new shoes.

Fourth, a lot of our PD medications can cause swelling as do aging so make sure that you prop your legs and feet up when you are sitting down; this helps circulation of your feet and thus maintain better health.

Fifth, do not walk bare-footed.

Sixth, Moisturize! Moisturize!  Look for creams or balms containing Shea butter or cocoa butter. First, exfoliate. I like using amope pedi for exfoliation of dry skin of feet; it is easy to use and inexpensive; you can find at Amazon or any drug store including Wal-Mart and Target. you can always use a pumice stone if you like but this requires a lot more coordination and fine motor skills. But, before you exfoliate soak your feet in warm water made of Black tea for 15 minutes to soften skin. Make sure you always dry your feet thoroughly even between your toes to avoid fungal and bacterial infections as well as bad odors.Amope-Pedi-Perfect-Electronic-Pedicure-Foot-File-Free-Fast-Shipping-NEW

Seventh, Get support- this means if you can’t tend to your feet on your own and trim your nails then seek a podiatrist. Also, he/she can help give you get insoles for your shoes to make them more comfortable and feet feel less painful. These professionals can also remove those pesky calluses which you might not be able to smooth out on your own. Other support includes your neurologists, who can do Botox injections for pain (and wrinkle free toes 🙂 ) but can also send you for orthotics to be made if your toes and feet are dystonic and need added support besides medication while referring to other ancillary services like PT, OT to aid in pain control and foot care as well.

Eight, wear sunscreen to the tops of your feet with a SPF of at least 45 when wearing open sandals/shoes because we are already predisposed to melanomas with PD and our feet are not immune from this.

Ninth, make sure that you alternate shoes especially important to avoid pain in feet because of our gait abnormalities may lead to wearing of shoes in a single area creating more imbalance and aggravating callus and dystonia.

Tenth don’t Forget your Toenails!

Getting a pedicure is a lot cheaper than any therapy plus a lot more enjoyable. if you must do it on your own, I suggest Opi fast dry colors because a lot less difficult to mess up even with severe tremors and dystonia. But first add some vitamin E oil to your toenails because the combination of medications and age can certainly due a number on our nails causing them to become brittle.

colored toes

Now, your feet will feel rejuvenated, soft and strong at the same time ready to face another day with PD.


@copyright 2015 all rights reserved Maria De Leon

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

Leave a comment Standard

“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.


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.


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! 

Dance of Life with PD: By Maria De Leon

Leave a comment Standard

“Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we SHOULD dance!”-unknown

Marriage is like a dance. It takes two people to make it right. Before Parkinson’s life may be great, our partners and us are in sink working together as in doing the Tango dance. Although one partner may lead, the other follows right in step without a ray of sunshine between the two because even though there may be some strained missteps where backs gets bent too much and toes get occasionally stepped on the dance continuous in unison.

Then, the shocking diagnosis of PD arrives and after standing still for what may seem like eternity, the dance of life must resume.

How do we make it happen?     Fred-Astaire-and-Rita-Hayworth

The tango turns into a modern dance each of us trying to keep up with the hasty, changing life of PD. Trying to find a new routine, new common ground, new reasons to love, and laugh together again. Sometimes the steps become temporarily in sink and life is good again then it all becomes chaotic as the pace quickens and rhythms change and PD advances. We may twirl, spin, get dizzy and fall always waiting for the inevitable tomorrow to come; yet we keep on doing the dance the best we know how.

Once acceptance kicks in, if we are lucky both our partners and us can find a new dance to which to move in sink to. This can evolve into a fast paced movement constantly turning and moving to the rhythm that life demands of upon us. The dance of old dreams lost and new talents found with a new wisdom and a new understanding of who we could be. So we slow down a bit in our dance but no less majestic than before. Finally, we adjust and change our steps once more in sink growing gracefully as we age with this so called brain disease of PD.