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

What's the Good News?

Rumination Revisited

PD Boot Camp Dublin

PNMD Holiday Luncheon


Information and Resources Library

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

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Presentation: Lessons from a PD Caregiver Outreach Series
Speaker: Aaron Daley

The talk will focus on the process of creating 6 presentations on issues important to PD caregivers, and our experience presenting them to multiple support groups in the Bay Area. I will focus on aspects of each topic that were discussed in the presentations, salient questions that were raised during the series, the future of the program, and I can also answer questions from the audience.

Got a question about Parkinson’s disease or caregiving or the services provided by the Parkinson Foundation?
Aaron Daley, MA
UCSF Parkinson’s Clinic & Research Center
Monday – Friday 8:00AM to 4:00PM
i What's the GOOD NEWS?
By Carol Fisher

We all know what the bad news is about having PD. So, what’s the good news…because there is always bad news and good news no matter what the situation, RIGHT?

     Here’s the good news!

  • There is always a different way of looking at things. The saying goes that if you keep doing the same thing, you get the same result. The same thing is true for how we think about things. If we find new ways to think about things, they feel and become different.

  • Finding ways to do something for someone else not only takes your mind off yourself but it also makes a difference in another person’s life.

  • Having PD shifts the way things are prioritized in one’s life. All of a sudden many of the material and cultural values that were at the center of life take the back seat to relationships, kindness, compassion for self and others and simple quiet.

  • The opportunity for understanding the beauty in receiving presents itself. Most of us are much better at giving than receiving. Receiving gets at the core of our own self worth and allows us to understand the real meaning of humility.

  • Movement and exercise not only help your brain and muscles to “talk” to each other and function more optimally, but they help with depression and self esteem issues.

  • In PD communities, the opportunity exists for forming many wonderful friendships and a strong support system with people who understand what it feels like to have PD.

  • The opportunity for laughter is always present if we are open to it…. laughing at ourselves, seeking out humorous movies, books, cartoons or whatever “tickles you”. Not much else feels as good as a great big belly laugh!

  • One is usually forced to slow down in some ways, so there is time to notice the little things, feel the fresh air on your face and perhaps notice and spend time with things that never would have occurred to you in your previous “busy” life.

  • Mindfulness becomes a requirement for safety and functional reasons and when practiced regularly opens the door to parts of others and us and situations that we would have otherwise missed.
“Welcome the present moment as if you had invited it. It is all we ever have, so we might as well work with it rather than struggling against it. We might as well make it our friend and teacher rather than our enemy.”
Steven Levine

“We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.”

Carlos Castaneda
Rumination Revisited
By Derek Ransley, PhD

I spent most of my career in scientific research.  My mindset was that whatever we do and how we do it can be improved. There were times when I felt that if I could think just a little bit harder, I would find an answer. Indeed, I did encounter technical solutions at 3 a.m. and couldn’t get to the lab soon enough to test the new idea. This was enough to make me believe that the answer to every situation was to think harder.

When I became involved in my divorce and I applied the same logic. It didn’t work. Then I saw my doctor because of GI issues, he laughed and said “You need a doctor for each end”. I had developed ulcerative colitis due to self-induced stress, which needed counselling and medication. This was a hard way to learn about mind-body connections.

Later my job required that I work with someone whom I despised. He was dishonest, belittled women, was unscrupulous and on and on. Workplace and family are often breeding grounds for upsets leading to ruminative thinking.
Four years ago, I was diagnosed with PD. Later, I was to realize that the depression I was feeling over the previous four years was the early calling card of PD. Predictably I went again into thinking mode. I learned of the word “rumination”. “Rumination” is not a word commonly used in everyday conversation. I suspect that many more people have this problem than is realized.

“Rumination is the process of repetitive thinking of a single thought in hopes of finding a solution to a problem. It is an unproductive way of cycling through those things repeatedly without getting any insight into what those events mean in the big picture”. Rumination promotes anxiety and is a huge risk factor for depression. One study showed ruminators are less forgiving of themselves and abuse alcohol more, take more risks when driving and are at greater risk of suicidal ideation . It is not something to ignore.
Rumination is seductive. If one’s mind wanders aimlessly it may encounter pleasurable thoughts that are tempting to pursue. But in this unguarded state, one is less vigilant when negatives slip in the side door.

There are common threads in the literature about how to overcome rumination. Some of the techniques are:

1. Distract yourself. Most efforts to overcome psychological issues aim to understand the root problem. In this case the priority is on giving one’s mind a chance to take another path. Go Cold Turkey! Try to catch ourselves early. Things that have helped me include:
  • Looking at photos from past travel: reorganize or label, or relive them.
  • Clean out your e-mail box.
  • Have some hot chocolate.

2. Exercise.  A number of our colleagues at PNMD are advocates of Rock Steady Boxing or some other vigorous exercises. Try yoga, Tai Chi, table tennis.

3. Instead of being judgmental of others, try to find positives.  Develop awareness and sensitivity in yourself.
4. Meditation offers different perspectives . Concepts of the big self and small self, guide us toward better understanding. Awareness often involves thinking of others’ feelings/reactions before saying or doing. Live in the NOW. Carol Fisher’s recent talk to PNMD offered excellent input.

The book Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat- Zinn (available in the PNMD Library) describes the Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction process which is the best-known approach to resolving issues such as rumination. The book has 500 pages so there is a time commitment. I have found it beneficial to read segments aloud with my wife and then share thoughts on what was said.
Paraphrasing from Page 66 “it is liberating to find that your thoughts are just thoughts and should not be taken seriously because they are not “you” or “reality”. For instance, if you have the thought that you have to get a certain number of things done today and you don’t recognize it as a thought but act as if it is the “truth” then you have created a reality in this moment which you believe.

5. Repeat a comforting phrase. (I haven’t tried this.)

6. Get involved with music as a participant or a listener . HD opera is wonderful.

7. Make contact with Nature: e.g. birdwatching, fishing, walking in the park.

PD Boot Camp Class in Dublin
Instructor: Anu Ramaswamy
The PD Boot Camp classes teach participants to move mindfully, and challenge them both physically and cognitively so they can maintain or improve their ability to perform every day functions, and counteract the challenges of Parkinson’s, such as balance, rigidity, posture and strength. The selected exercises are inspired by research-based approaches from strength training, yoga, PWR!Moves®, agility drills, dance and pole walking. The classes are on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The classes on Mondays focus more on agility, Wednesdays on strength, and Fridays on flexibility. Every class starts with gentle movements for warm ups, and ends with some cool down, deep breathing and a short meditation. The drop-in fee for the class is 15 dollars per class, but you can also get a package of 10 classes for 120 dollars. Care-takers are welcome to join for free.

The instructor, Anu Ramaswamy is well trained and experienced in working with people with Parkinson’s and other movement disorders. She has taken several hundred hours of training in a variety of exercise techniques. Anu is a Certified Personal Trainer from NASM (National Association of Sports Medicine), a Yoga Instructor with Advanced Teacher Certification in Therapeutic Yoga, and a PWR! Moves Certified Instructor. After spending more than 20 years in the corporate sector in senior management positions around the globe, she was drawn towards serving people with physical and emotional challenges. She keeps herself very well informed and equipped on ways to be of service to her clients and their families.

Anu Ramaswamy, 925-922-0589
PNMD Holiday Luncheon - December 15th





  • Sheryl Thull in honor of Richard Thull
  • Judith Lubman
  • Joseph Herger and Vicki Smith

Information and Resources Library
On Saturday, February 9, 2019 PD Active, the Berkeley support group for PD, will hold a forum featuring John Vine as the speaker. He is the author of a book titled "A Parkinson Primer", which has been available in our library for several months. The book is derived from anecdotal interviews with patients with PD as well as experiences he has had since he was diagnosed with the disease. He also provides a summary of "lessons learned" at the end of the book. The forum is held in the Berkeley Unitarian Fellowship Hall. Registration information is available on their website:

The Parkinson Foundation produced a webinar on December 1, 2018 about collaborative caregiving. The content was available by live-streaming. The program was very informative and included two especially helpful talks. The first was on "Intimacy and PD" by Sheila Silver and the second on communication, specifically conversations between people with PD and their caregivers. Summaries of their presentations by the PNMD librarian will be on the library table at the January meeting. Other handouts from other sources regarding these insightful presentations will also be available. Slides and the webinar itself will be on the Parkinson Foundation website at some time in the near future.

Our January 19th speaker for PNMD will be Aaron Daley, MA, a psychologist with the Parkinson's Disease Clinic and Research Center, UCSF. Aaron has previously spoken to the caregivers regarding issues of cognition, symptoms of PD and dealing with the uncertainty the unknowns that arise in living with PD as well as the importance of caregivers caring for themselves. He will address a composite of issues in his presentation to all in the Oak room at 10:45 a.m.
At the meeting please take time to browse the library table for information in the form of books, brochures, business cards and leaflets. Please return any books you have taken out even if you have had them for a while. Any suggestions you have regarding additions to the material are welcome.

Janice Ransley, M.D.
Library Chair

Editor's Corner
HAPPY NEW YEAR – Suggested Books are:  
Natural Therapies for Parkinson’s Disease / Laurie K Mischley          
Powerful Food and a Walk in the Sun / Glen Pettibone
Say Goodbye for Now / Catherine Ryan Hyde
The Biology of Belief / Bruce Lipton

PD Exercise Activity Classes


Boot Camp
Monday, 9:30-10:45 AM, Petra Fibrichova, 510-520-4523
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
Rock Steady Boxing
8 classes/week-call for times, Jimmy Greninger, 925-785-1272
Tremble Clefs
Thursday, 1:30-3:30 PM, Michael Grupp, 925-451-3389
Boot Camp
Mon., Wed.,Fri., 10:00-11:15 AM, Anu Ramaswamy, 925-922-0589

Please contact activity instructor for further details and fees.
Announcements, Meetings and How to Reach Us
The Tremble Clefs
Mt. Diablo Tremble Clefs will improve the volume and clarity of your voice through enjoyable free weekly singing sessions. Don’t let your voice fade away. We meet Thursdays 1:30-3:30 pm in Lafayette. For more information please contact chair Michael Grupp at (925) 451-3389.

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. All are welcome and there is no charge. No RSVP’s needed.

Here is the agenda:

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

Men with Parkinson’s Disease Only: For men newly diagnosed or who’ve had PD for years: time to share, laugh, and learn from each other. Meeting location is the Fireside Room at Grace Church. Contact person is Derek Ransley, (925) 944-0162.

Women with Parkinson’s Disease Only: For women newly diagnosed or who’ve had PD for years: time to share, laugh, and learn from each other. Meeting location is the Library at Grace Church. Contact person is Rosemary Way, (925) 939-7665.

Caregivers Only: Caregivers discuss issues relating to their roles. Meeting location is the Sanctuary at Grace Church. Contact person is Jan Alioto, (925) 890-8937.

10:15 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.-Assemble in Oak Room . The PNMD Library, with books, flyers, videos, etc. is open at this time. Bill Clinch, Moderator, will introduce new members and make announcements.

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

11:45 a.m. to noon Q&A, Wrap up.

General questions may be directed to Abraham Raja at (925) 939-4210 ; Lance Gershen, Program Chair (925) 932-1028.

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 & Jackie Bardsley, (925) 831-9940.

Contact Us

Web site: 
General Information Phone No.: (925) 939-4210
Co-Presidents: Abraham Raja (925) 381-0688 or
Lance Gershen (925) 932-1028 or
Secretary: Beth Donegan (949) 680-9133 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: Lance Gershen (925) 932-1028 or
Fundraising Chair: Ken Kuhn (925) 588-9837 or
Tremble Clefs: Michael Grupp (925) 451-3389
Caregiver Discussion Group: Jan Alioto (925)890-8937 or
Women's Discussion Group: Rosemary Way (925) 939-7665,
Men's Discussion Group: Derek Ransley (925) 944-0162 or
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.