Love & Parkinson’s: by Dr. De Leon

“Love will find a way through paths where wolves fear to prey.” Lord Byron

Today on this day of love and friendship I want to remind everyone about the power of LOVE in our lives- as it is the biggest intrinsic dopamine producer of our brains!!!

We all know that feeling of being completely head over heels with someone and feeling on top of the world, unable to eat or sleep, yet having complete clarity of mind. This my friends is the natural effect of dopamine. It feels GREAT! this is the feeling we strive to imitate each day we take our medicines- no wonder cocaine a dopamine receptor drug is so addictive!

According to the Greeks there are 8 types of love – and in my opinion all of them are capable of releasing copious amounts of dopamine in various degrees. This is the reason why we must not only stay connected with one another and develop these types of relationships but also find our passions to maintain a steady stream of dopamine in our brains keeping us healthier and more satisfied with our lives.

We all know about Eros which is our romantic love but this one is as quick as taking apomorphine- comes on strong but burns out fast and in order to preserve the feeling and connection we must switch to another type of love or dopamine replacement medication one which will be not so intense but last longer and be steadier. But if you are with your best friend – sparks will fly each and every time sending dopamine in truck loads with a single smile or look as it does me and the love of my life!

Philia– or brotherly or affectionate love was considered by Greeks as a much powerful type of love because it involved love between equals. This is the type of love between good friends. Having a friend that will keep you accountable in your disease is crucial to your well- being and success. Having a friend that sees you through your tough times with PD is invaluable. Be thankful for your friends today and make sure you let them know how important they are in your life. If you don’t feel like you have any close friends is time to find a new one in your support group or church. Don’t be afraid to make the first move.

Storge or familial love is the kind of love between siblings, parents and children. This can also occur between childhood friends lasting ’til adulthood. This is equally important to a better life with PD because lack of support from our family and special friends can lead to depression, anxiety, and isolation. Make sure that you include them in your care and diagnosis to help you become more empowered as an individual.

Pragma or enduring love is the kind of love in marriage a matured love (hopefully). This type can also be found in friendships which have endured for decades. I am lucky to have a few of these. How about you? This is a reciprocal kind of love which forces you to know yourself and boundaries well. Thus making you a more balanced and happier individual.

Then there is agape or selfless love. This type of love is unconditional like the type God has for us, or what we have for our kids and our pets have for us. This is filled with boundless compassion and endless empathy. This is the purest type of love. I have discovered that my little kitty knows exactly how much love I need. It is amazing how he knows when I am sick and in those days he does not leave my side for a second. It is comforting to know that there is someone out there that will love us no matter what- flaws and all. When we are loved unconditionally it gives us strength to keep fighting and moving forward. So be thankful today for those people that empower you to face an ever changing illness without fear of what might happen because there is someone to care for you and be there no matter what. For me my greatest love is God. I am not afraid of what tomorrow might bring because I know He has my best interest in mind and is strongest when I am weakest.

Finally, there is Philautia or self -love. This is the type of love many of us lack and I myself had to rediscover when confronted with a chronic illness. My being was wrapped in being a doctor and had to rediscover myself-

I found that …

•I am stronger than I thought •Despite years of hiding my physical flaws I embrace them •I love being a mom •I discovered that there is a life after PD •I can be me and still use my medical knowledge •I am creative after all •When I was young I was very shy and afraid of public speaking- now I have become a voice for women •I am excited about living (can’t sit around waiting to die) •I believe in the power of love, prayer and faith! •I believe in fighting for what you want and NEVER EVER Giving up – that there is always another dream!

You will discover that once you love yourself you will want to fight this disease with all of your might-you will have a positive attitude and view of your future. Once you are comfortable loving yourself can you begin to grow and expand your universe and give love to others!

Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone!!

@copyright 2019
all rights reserved by Maria De Leon

Health & Beauty Tip #5: When livin’ with Parkinson’s or just plain livin’ -Do the good you can.. by Dr. De Leon

Health & Beauty Tip #5: When livin' with Parkinson's or just plain livin' -Do the good you can.. by Dr. De Leon

Rule # 4 : Life is all about how you handle plan B

A lot of you might be feeling frustrated, bitter, angry, sad or just plain anxious because prior to this so called Parkinson’s disease so many of you like myself had big dreams, ambitions and hopes for a different life than the one you might be living now. Perhaps, you were a doctor like myself whose career got cut short . So, instead of being head of a department at a prestigious university you are just sitting around wondering why things have not panned out. Perhaps, You were going to be a best seller writer but the opportunities have not presented themselves since the disease has limited you physically or mentally…To you I say, if you can’t do the good you WOULD do the good you CAN! Would you be willing to write a newsletter for your local Parkinson’s support group? Maybe, You are a nurse who had to give up her career because of the physical demands of PD but your training is still invaluable. You can teach local high school students, college students or even nursing students about caring for chronically disabled people with PD. What if you were a law enforcement officer that could no longer uphold the law and protect its citizens because now you have too many tremors or are to unstable when you walk…don’t lose heart you can still influence the law and fellow officers to recognize signs of neurological deficits like drooling, uncoordinated gait and hard to understand speech and prevent mistreatment and prejudices against patients that may look inebriated (drunk) but unfortunately suffer from Parkinson’s disease and other similar conditions from being wrong fully detained or Incarcerated.

The choice is yours…wallow in self pity or DO the GOOD you CAN where you are with what you have…..You are only limited by your imagination and willingness to help yourself and others. This the reason some people say we have 2 hands, one to help ourselves and one to help others.
The key to being happy with plan B when it’s suddenly thrust upon us is realizing that often times It is during life’s interruptions that we may find our true calling and joy!

So, are you willing to bloom where you have been planted? To follow the example of great people like Joni E. Tada, who became a quadriplegic after a diving accident and instead of giving up and throwing in the towel, learned to paint with her mouth. Not only is she now a world renowned artist but has authored numerous books and has become an active advocate for disabled people all over the world.

Remember, next time you feel sad or questioning the path to take…that are always many opportunities all around you to help others and use your God given talents. Nothing that you have done, achieved, or learned prior to your PD diagnosis has been a waste. So, go ahead allow yourself the freedom to start something new and joy will surely follow. Everything has been in preparation for something BIGGER and BETTER! You must learn to take life as it comes …there will never be a perfect time where all conditions are free of risks and absolutely safe. Tomorrow is not guarantee to anyone of us so we must embrace plan B and learn to bloom in adversity …after all “a flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest” and most beautiful of all. (Mulan)


Dr. M. De Leon is a retired movement disorder specialist,
PPAC member and research advocate for PDF; Texas state assistant director for PAN (Parkinson’s Action Network).
You can learn more about her work at
you can also learn more about Parkinson’s disease at or at

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