Frank’s Story: Parkinson’s Disease

Some people have vacation homes. Frank has the UC Neuroscience Institute. This is where he comes for comprehensive, compassionate medical care for Parkinson’s disease, which he has lived with for 15 years.

“They make us feel safe,” says Frank’s wife, Sandy. “It’s an illness where you want to feel safe, because you don’t know what’s coming around the bend.”

Frank was a human resources consultant with a frenetic travel schedule when he was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s disease at age 52. A friend welcomed him to “the club” with a little golfing advice: “Play a lot now, because in a few years, your game will be terrible.”

Parkinson’s is progressive disorder of motion, where abilities once taken for granted begin to slip away, one by one. So each time Frank began struggling, the expert teams at UCNI’s Gardner Center and Neurosensory Disorders Center stepped in to help get him back on track. A clinical trial that tested Botox as a treatment helped him with stiffness and pain in his neck. A few extra drops of Botox in his eyelids helped widen his eyes.

Deep brain stimulation surgery stilled his hand and leg tremors, calmed the involuntary twitches known as dyskinesias, and made his handwriting legible again.

And, most recently, after learning about voice therapies at the annual Sunflower Revolution educational symposium, Frank sought treatment for his bowed vocal cords, which had left him with the ever-so-soft “Parkinson’s voice.”  After surgery, he had only one complaint for his otolaryngologist:  “I don’t sound like Sinatra.” Even so, it’s been a very good year for traveling, playing catch with grandchildren and fantasy football, thanks to his stellar team at UCNI. “When we saw the list of Best Doctors,” Frank said, “we said, I think all of them are ours.”

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