The Shaky Times
-- Online Edition --
December 2019
Here's what's below:
December General Meeting Speaker

December Tri-Valley Meeting

A "Parkies" Toolbox

PNMD Survey - Part 4

Information and Resources Library


Nutrition: Healing Chicken Soup

Exercise and Activity Classes

Meetings, Announcements, and How to Contact Us
December General Meeting Speaker

Saturday, December 21, 2019 - 9 am-noon
Grace Presbyterian Church, Walnut Creek

Holiday Party - Hot lunch provided - please bring appetizer or dessert
Presentation: Improv to Improve Parkinson's Disease
Speaker: Robert Cochrane

Robert Cochrane, co-owner of ComedySportz Las Vegas, is currently a PhD candidate in the Kinesiology department at UNLV. His dissertation is on the effect of improvisation on Parkinson’s Disease. The work is rooted in a breakthrough program by Northwestern University and the world-renowned improv troupe, The Second City. He has studied and presented his work with Parkinson’s for the last 14 years in the award-winning documentary series, “Boys of Summer”. His father, Dan, was diagnosed with PD in 2001.   

December Tri-Valley Meeting

Saturday, December 14, 2019, 10 am-noon
Pleasanton Senior Center

Holiday Party

This month’s meeting will be the annual Holiday Party. Please bring a fun dish to share with all. Beverages and a ham will be provided. To celebrate the season, we will have a piano player, poetry readings, skits, holiday dancers and audience participation. A fun morning to be had by all.
A Parkie's Toolbox
By Carol Fisher 

The saying goes – If you’ve met one person with PD, you have met one person with PD. Because of the nuances of how PD affects any one brain, no one person with PD has exactly the same configuration of symptoms.

In the same vein, certain strategies, meds, foods, movements etc. work well for one person and maybe not so much for someone else.

With that in mind, here is a list of “tools”, some of which may be useful to you. I have gathered these from several reliable sources. These are things that have been tried or used with varying degrees of success by people with PD. HERE GOES!!!!

  1. Sleeping 8 hours – using a Fitbit can not only track your steps but also your sleep patterns to help you understand why you may or may not be getting the rest that you need. For some, melatonin is really helpful for sleep. Sleeping in the woods resets your circadian rhythm.
  2. Stay hydrated – track your water intake, drink high quality water and perhaps use sugar free electrolytes to aid absorption.
  3. Detox Baths – ½ box of borax in a bath for 30 minutes once a week helps the body detox. Drink 2 glasses of water before and 1 glass after the bath.
  4. Minimize stress when possible.
  5. Detoxify your home environment: examine cleaning supplies, personal hygiene products, clothing etc.
  6.  Dry saunas are great for releasing toxins.
  7. Consider converting to a wholistic dentist.
  8. A naturopathic doctor may provide different insights into your care. Can be a good adjunct. Dr. Laurie Mischley in Washington State works only with PD and is having some wonderful results providing whole body insights through lab work and experience. She will work remotely. This is in addition to your neurologist NOT instead of!
  9. Consider Oxy Powder for constipation. It is effective and gentler on the body than many over-the-counter preparations. (Available on Amazon)
  10. Consider 15 minutes of Light Box Therapy if you are not able to get out in direct sunlight.
  11. Dance and music have been shown to support the PD spirit and body.
  12. Try not to be afraid of changing how you think about things. Expanding your horizons can be enlightening, freeing and vastly helpful.
  13. Do things that make you happy. We all feel better when we are happy.

  1. Consider a Detox and Plant Based diet. Resources: Plant Paradox by Stephen Gundry, Brain Warrior by Daniel Amen, Keto and Mediterranean Diet resources
  2. Use high grade dietary oils like MCT, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Coconut Oil, Avocado Oil
  3. Eat most of your protein at night. Stop eating by 7 PM if possible.
  4. Think about your food before eating. It helps start the salivation process so food is properly broken down and better absorbed as it goes through the digestive tract. Chew Xylitol gum to initialize digestive juices.
  5. Drink coffee (rather than just caffeine pills). It contains over 1000 compounds and many of them are anti-oxidant.
  6. Consider taking a prebiotic and a probiotic to stabilize and support your gut biome.
  7. Include ground flaxseed – 1-2 tbsp. per day – in your diet. Keep refrigerated.
  8. Try Lion’s Mane (mushrooms) to help bring back smell. To improve lost sense of smell, “exercise” the ability to smell by slowing down and literally smelling the flowers, foods etc.

  1. Have a support system for understanding the importance of the ongoing titration of your meds.
  2. Ascorbic acid powder (Vitamin C) taken with each Sinemet dose may extend its effectiveness.
  3.  “Calm magnesium” as a supplement may extend Sinemet’s effectiveness.
  4. CDP-choline may also increase the efficacy of Sinemet.
  5. Extensive blood work will reveal what supplements may be useful.

  1. Yoga, Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Pilates, PWR classes, Rock Steady Boxing (Book – I am Rock Steady: Fighting back against Parkinson’s Disease), Dance, Walking (Book – Reversing Parkinson’s – John Pepper), Swimming, Water aerobics, Cycling’s-disease/, gentle weight training, Voice training, Singing, Facial Exercises, Egos cue Method (Book – The Egos cue Method of Health Through Motion), Chi Machine, Balance Exercises, Hand Exercises(ball squeezing, typing tutor), balance exercises, juggling, ping pong, Brain exercises, Cooking
  2. Google any of the above with the word Parkinson’s, (e.g. YOGA FOR PARKINSON’S) and all kinds of videos and resources will turn up.
  3. Find something that feels playful, fun and useful to you and don’t be afraid to change it up every so often. Change promotes brain plasticity!!
  4. Find a group or a buddy to exercise with. It is motivating and the connection increases your happiness quotient!!
  5. The Bay area is rich with resources for people with PD.


Acupuncture, Homeopathy, Reiki, Meditation, Ayurveda, Chiropractic, Massage, Alexander Technique, Cranio-Sacral Therapy, Calligraphy, Art and crafts


Carol Fisher, RYT, PWR Instructor
Inner Key Yoga Restorative Gentle Personalized Yoga for Every BODY
Specializing in Parkinson's Disease. Cell: (925) 566-4181
The Survey Says...Part 4
The Survey Says ……. 40% of our responders have issues with incontinence , mainly bladder control. This matches well with 10-36% reported in a large academic study. One member reported good results from Botox injections. Debbie Guyer, Executive Director of APDA, says the number is closer to 65%. This is a tough one!

Only 30% of our respondents admitted that anger was a factor in their lives. I don’t buy this! I would call this denial. So, am I in trouble?

I have observed anger in action in those with PD and their caregivers. The disease impacts personality and it is unrealistic to expect any recovery from the People with Parkinson’s. Giving in to anger isn’t the answer. Most experts say that the answer is to PAUSE. Try to be more aware of the situation and try to be more tolerant and forgiving. You can’t unsay what might pop out of your mouth in anger.

Often the cause of anger is fear. It helps to understand anger because it adversely affects the health of both parties. Anger can contribute to violent and risky behavior. You may have noticed when you visit a doctor, that there are more questions about being abused than there used to be.

My wife and I meditate regularly. One of the early lessons is to live in the present moment. You can’t do anything about the past and you don’t know what the future will bring. Worry is one of the most useless of activities and allowing it to be stoked by anger isn’t fruitful.

Our teacher at the sangha which we attend says “There are no problems, just opportunities”. Think about it! It took me a while to grasp what he was saying.
Our teacher also talks about the big self and the small self. Most people know when they have been generous in their dealings with others (especially difficult others). They also know when they have been mean. You come away with a much better feeling when you are generous.

I recently started reading “ Forgive for Good” by Dr. Fred Luskin who directs the Stanford University Forgiveness Project. So far, so good! He uses the word “grievances” as a catch-all word to mean anything said or done which hurts you. He asks if the hurt was deliberate or unintentional. Are you taking the hurt too personally? And more. 

Derek Ransley, Facilitator, Men with Parkinson’s, PNMD
Library and Information Resources
To Members and Friends:

December is a month of holidays. Not surprisingly the word holiday comes from the Old English meaning holy + day. Originally the word referred to religious days only but now it also is used to refer to any period of time for rest and relaxation away from the routine such as work and school. St. Nicholas Day is Dec. 6 and is celebrated in Europe with parades, gifts and feasts. St. Nicholas, who gave all his money to the needy, dates from the fourth century and inspired our modern images of Santa Claus and Father Christmas.  St. Lucia Day is Dec. 13 in Sweden. Girls of the family, dressed in white robes with red sashes, carry trays of saffron rolls and coffee and singing traditional songs as they awaken the rest of the family by candlelight. The Winter Solstice occurs Dec 21, the shortest day of the year, and is celebrated with festivals, bonfires and rituals. Hanukkah, beginning Dec. 22 at sunset and ending Dec. 30, comes next. It represents a Jewish miracle when one day's worth of oil lasted for eight. Special foods are prepared including potato pancakes (latkes) and gifts are given.

Christmas is celebrated beginning on Christmas Eve and carrying over into Christmas Day, Dec. 24 - 25. Carolers, processions, a variety of special foods and religious services as well as donations are part of this holiday. Dec. 25 begins the Twelve Days of Christmas ending Jan. 5. An African holiday, Kwanzaa (first fruits), is celebrated from Dec 26 - Jan. 1, a time for joy of the harvest, family life and unity. As with the other holidays, homes are decorated and special clothes are worn. It is regarded as a spiritual holiday. In the United Kingdom and 20 other countries Boxing Day is also celebrated on Dec. 26. It is one of the busiest shopping days in some countries but in others local law prevents opening of shops on this day. Charitable giving is common as are gifts to others who have provided good service. Lastly, we arrive at New Year's Eve, Dec 31. This holiday is celebrated with friends and or family, like the others, with special note to the exit of the old year and arrival of the new at midnight.

The library table will not be open on Dec. 21. However, those of us who normally set it up and make it disappear after the monthly meetings wish you all a happy holiday season. May you enjoy good health, experience joy, have the love of friends and family and know peace.

Janice Ransley, M.D. Library Chair

Ronnie and Larry Wanetick

      Patricia and Gary Wright

  Margaret Layshock in memory of John Layshock

Connie Pierce and family in memory of Carole C. Kafel

     Betty Ann and David Williams in memory of James E. Drennan

Nutrition: Healing Chicken Soup
This is a much simpler spin on grandma’s chicken soup.  When anyone in my house starts to feel a little bug coming on, I make this super easy soup. It’s a family favorite and truly helps to make them feel better. The best thing is, there are very few ingredients and it’s so easy to make. Enjoy!

Serves 4


  • 5 ounces boneless chicken breast half, skinned
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch (2 tsp. tapioca starch is a great healthy replacement)
  • ½ lb asparagus cut in 1-inch pieces (you can use frozen if fresh not available)
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper
  • Optional: fresh Cilantro leaves to garnish


  1. Cut chicken into thin slices, each about the size of a postage stamp and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Combine the egg white and cornstarch paste and mix with the chicken.
  2. In a wok or saucepan, bring the stock to a rolling boil. Add the asparagus, return to a boil and cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken, stir to separate and bring back to a boil (approximately 5 minutes) until chicken is cooked. 
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot and garnish with fresh cilantro if desired. Note: I generally never have this on hand when my family requests this soup and it’s just as yummy without it. 

Jodi Barry, Yoga Instructor
PD Exercise Activity Classes


Parkinson's Wellness Recovery, Walnut Creek
Monday, 9:30-10:45 AM, Petra Fibrichova, 510-520-4523
Yoga, Walnut Creek
Thursday, 9:30-10:45 AM, Jodi Barry, 415-328-4123
Dance Moves Me
Tuesday, 1:00-2:30 PM, Debbie Sternback, 510-653-8362
Alexander Technique
Monday and Wednesday, 11:00 AM - 12 PM, Lena Hart, 917-806-7929
Be Heard!
Wednesday, 1:30-3 PM, KT Warren, 206-380-4886
Tremble Clefs
Thursday, 1:30-3:00 PM, April Wakeman, 925-276-0463
Rock Steady Boxing, Danville
Tues. & Thur., 12:30 - 2 PM, Daniel Burkhardt, 925-471-5432
Rock Steady Boxing, Concord
Classes Mon. - Sat., Call for times, Multiple coaches, 925-785-1272

Please contact activity instructor for further details and fees.
Announcements, Meetings and How to Reach Us

Questions? Contact Amy Van Voorhis at

Is There Treasure In Your Driveway?

You can stop paying insurance and registration—and get a tax deduction.
Donate your car, truck or boat to PNMD . Just call: 877-999-8322

Important: Be sure to tell the operator that you wish to donate your car to Parkinson Network of Mount Diablo. Or just use this link for our dedicated online donation form:
If you have any questions, call the vehicle donation program at 877-999 8322.
Or contact Abraham Raja at
     General Meeting Information:

Board Meeting:
First Monday of each month, 10:15 a.m.. Hillside Covenant Church, 2060 Magnolia Way, Walnut Creek. Open to all members.

General Support Group Meeting:
The Parkinson Network of Mt. Diablo Support Group meets on the third Saturday of every month, from 9:00 a.m. to noon at Grace Presbyterian Church, 2100 Tice Valley Blvd., Walnut Creek. Moderator: Bill Clinch. There is no charge, but annual membership is $50 per year per family.

9:00 to 10:15 a.m. – Three concurrent Support Group meetings:

Men with Parkinson’s Disease meet in the Fireside Room at Grace Church. Contact person is Derek Ransley,, 925-944-0162.

Women with Parkinson’s Disease meet in the Library at Grace Church. Contact person is Rosemary Way,, 925-939-7665.

Caregivers meet in the Sanctuary at Grace Church. Contact persons are: Jan Alioto,, 925-890-8937; Sara DeZerega,, 925-377-1004; Janice Ransley,, 925-944-0162.

10:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.-Refreshments in the Oak Room. The PNMD Library, with books, flyers, and videos is open at this time. Please bring cut-up fruit or your favorite snack to share.

10:30 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. Guest speaker (See information above) Oak Room.

General questions may be directed to PNMD at (925) 939-4210 or website:

Tri-Valley (Pleasanton) Support Group Meeting:
Meets second Saturday of the month, year-round, from 10 a.m. to noon at the Pleasanton Senior Center, 5353 Sunol Blvd., Pleasanton. This is a support group and learning session that is open to all who want to learn about PD. Facilitators are Norman Bardsley, 925-831-9940 and Mary Behrendt, 925-989-0209.

Contact Us

Web site: 
General Information Phone No.: (925) 939-4210
President: Abraham Raja (925) 381-0688 or
Secretary: Janice Ransley (925) 944-0162 or
Publicity: Beth Donegan (949) 680-9133 or
Treasurer: Amy Van Voorhis (925) 932-5036 or
Membership: Mitchell Morrison (781) 964-2345 or
Health and Wellness Program: Cathy Hostetler (925) 932-5285
Volunteer Coordinator: Cathy Hostetler (925) 932-5285 or
Information Technology: Sara Allen (925) 296-0221 or
Librarian: Janice Ransley (925) 944-0162 or
Program Chair:
Fundraising Chair: Ken Kuhn (925) 588-9837 or
Tremble Clefs: April Wakeman (925) 276-0463 or
Women's Discussion Group: Rosemary Way (925) 939-7665,
Men's Discussion Group: Derek Ransley (925) 944-0162 or
Caregiver Discussion Group: Jan Alioto (925)890-8937 or; or Sara DeZerega,, 925-377-1004; or Janice Ransley,, 925-944-0162
DBS: Gary Hevener (925) 937-4335 or
Donations and Memorials: Please mail to P.O. Box 3127, Walnut Creek, CA 94598.
Newsletter Editor: TBD - Please email submissions by the 15th to: Abraham Raja at
Disclaimer: This newsletter is published to increase awareness of problems related to Parkinson’s Disease. Neither PNMD nor its members make any warranty or assume any responsibility as to the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information presented. The editor’s opinions are strictly his own.