With that in mind, and to answer requests from e mailers, I will occasionally post an update of my physical symptoms.
I originally posted a chronological list of symptoms in December, 2008. The "syndrome," over the course of time, can be expected to produce rigidity, slow movements, postural instability, speech difficulty, difficulty swallowing, memory loss, and difficulty planning and executing unrehearsed movements. There is more, but these are the primaries. The movement disorders manifest themselves, at least initially, on only one side of the body.
These symptoms are all caused by the degeneration of tissue in the brain including the basal-ganglia. Thus the name Cortico Basal Ganglionic Degeneration. Mean survivability after diagnosis is eight years though death is not a direct result of the syndrome, but rather the result of bedridden complications such as pneumonia.
My current symptoms are:
- Rigidity in my right hand, right shoulder, right buttocks and right hamstring. (Notice a pattern here). Lately there has been stiffness in my neck but it may not be syndrome related.
- My walking gait continues to worsen with a "step left - clop right" rhythm that I cannot correct no matter how hard I concentrate. I find that I am losing fine motor shills in my right toes much as I have in my fingers. I don't write with my toes so no big deal here but it may relate to my walking.
- Slow movements: Everything takes longer and it seems that I must use a conscious effort to get my right arm to perform tasks. Imagine having to visualize your hand holding the toothbrush so that your left hand can squeeze the toothpaste tube to make it happen and you get the idea.
- Postural instability: I can't say for certain that I'm beginning to lean, but sometimes I have to catch myself from stumbling while taking small steps, like trying to avoid stepping on something. If I'm going to lean....please let it be left (politically speaking). :)
- I haven't experienced speech loss but my voice seems to be getting weaker or softer. But that could be a good thing as I've always had a tendency to be a bit loud. My theater background taught me to project and I did.
- Memory loss: That's a tough one because I've always been weak at remembering names but strong at remembering numbers. It was always hard calling that little blond I met at the club when I recalled her number and not her name. Seriously, it does appear that I have to look at a phone number twice when dialing, though it could be that transmitting the number to my left hand vs right is more difficult.
That's where I stand at the present. Some days seem better than others but some days are more stressful than others so the difference may not be physical. I seem to get emotional easily about sad things though laughter seems to be a thing I remember doing. That's sad.....I use to love laughing and making people laugh.