It was Friday, November 14, 2008. A particularly crisp fall day in Memphis. The kind of day you wish would go on forever.
I had been to a total of five doctors, had at least five MRI's, and still didn't know why I was losing the fine motor skills in my right hand. Today I was seeing doctor number six with the attitude that any diagnosis would be a relief. I was wrong.
The doctor I had picked had an Indian name. I choose this doctor from a referral list strictly because the office was in the same clinic where some of my MRI's had been done and I didn't want to have to lug films around.
I waited two hours in a near empty waiting room slowly developing an attitude. When a rather round flowered nurses' smock called my name and ushered me to a room (I only refer to the smock because for the life of me I cannot remember another single detail about her).
I was surprised to only wait another twenty minutes before a tap on the door announced the woman that was coming to define my future. I was surprised the doctor was a woman. Her name had not given me a clue and I felt chauvinistically foolish.
She sinecerely apologized for my wait and got right down to business. I gave her a document I had prepared giving a timeline of the progression of my symptoms. She complemented my organization but I had just grown tired of repeating the same story over and over. She patiently read my past. The difficulty I had noticed shifting my bicycle during long rides, then the weird way my right arm refused to swing when I walked, then the rapid deterioration of my handwriting.
She asked me a few questions that I now do not recall. Then she confidently said, "I'm ninety percent sure I know what you have." WHAT!
She refused to spill the beans until she had spent a good 45 minutes testing my right side versus left side reflexs, sensitivities, and coordination. She left the room for a minute and returned with literature and web pages that I could go to for support. Then she said, "Corticobasal Ganglionic Degeneration, otherwise called Parkinson's Plus."
She wants to see me in six months but I'm not sure why. I've read the bad news now. "Mean survivability after diagnosis is EIGHT YEARS."
This blog will be a record of my progression (er, degeneration). This first post was typed entirely with my left hand. Kind of a bitch when you're right-handed to start with.