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.


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

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“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

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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.


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! 

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!

@copyright 2015 all rights reserved Maria De Leon

Living La DIVA Loca! : By Dr. De Leon

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No Matter the occasion put on your favorite pair of shoes and dress for success!

In my shoes sometimes I want to cry,

In my shoes sometimes the way seems all uphill,

In my shoes sometimes I feel like giving up,

In my shoes sometimes the battles are too tough to bear,

In my shoes sometimes life is unfair,

and even though I fall and stumble I always get up,

Because, In my shoes God is ALWAYS fair, tough, and does not give-up on me or those around me and makes my journey with Parkinson’s more than a just a bear!