The Shaky Times
-- Online Edition --
November 2018
Here's what's below:
November Meeting Speaker

Letter of Appreciation to Carol Fisher

Introducing Jodi Barry

Mindfulness is Your Best Friend

The Doctor Becomes a Patient

A Tribute to Jeffrey Straus

Information and Resources Library

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

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Presentation: Parkinson's and Cannabinoid Therapy
Speaker: Eloise Theisen, AGPCNP-BC

Eloise is a co-founder and the Chief Visionary Officer of Radicle Health. Prior to Radicle Health, Eloise founded Green Health Consultants, a medical cannabis clinic that helped patients use cannabis to help treat chronic and age-related illness. Eloise was one of the first healthcare practitioners to bring a clinical dosing regimen to the cannabis space and she has treated more than 4,500 patients using cannabis. There are very few healthcare practitioners in the United States with a comparable level of cannabis expertise and experience. 

i Letter of Appreciation to Carol Fisher
In recognition of your many years of service as Yoga Instructor for the Parkinson Network of Mt. Diablo, we, the Board of Directors, present you with this Letter of Appreciation. You have served this organization and its members with dedication and distinction. Listed below are just a few of your many accomplishments:
  • With your unique combination of teaching skills, yoga expertise and knowledge of the effects of Parkinson’s Disease, you have created a class perfectly adapted to the special physical, mental and emotional needs of people with Parkinson’s.
  • With your positive attitude and great sense of humor, you encourage laughter and social interaction, creating a community where everyone feels welcome and included. Your students support and learn from each other, as well as from you.        
  • You have been a regular contributor of articles to the Shaky Times newsletter on a wide range of topics related to living one’s best life in spite of Parkinson’s, and a regular speaker on the benefits of yoga and meditation at PNMD’s monthly support group meetings. You have also volunteered to lead quarterly orientation meetings for new PNMD members recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s.
  • You have been extraordinarily generous in giving of your time, energy, talent and expertise to the benefit of your students and the entire PNMD membership.

Thank you, Carol, for all you’ve done and continue to do for our Parkinson’s community!

Abraham Raja, Co-President  Lance Gershen, Co-President 
          Amy Van Voorhis, Treasurer   Beth Donegan, Secretary/Publicity
         Ken Kuhn, Membership Chair        Michael Grupp, Tremble Clefs/AV
Cathy Hostetler, Health/Wellness Chair        Sara Allen, IT Chair
Norman Bardsley, Pleasanton Group Chair        Janice Ransley, Library Chair
Introducing Jodi Barry

Jodi Barry is a Certified Yoga Therapist (C-IAYT) and Instructor (RYT-500) who enjoys working with individuals of all abilities to share the many benefits of yoga. Jodi’s personal experience with chronic back pain is what brought her to deepen her own practice with yoga and ultimately to become a teacher to share its benefits with others. Jodi has been able to reduce and manage her own pain and create more balance in all aspects of her life.
Jodi is passionate that yoga can help everybody, no matter what they might be working through; from stress and anxiety, chronic pain and hypertension to cancer, Parkinson’s and MS. Yoga not only improves the physical aspects of the body such as posture, balance, strength and flexibility, but also supports to alleviate stress, improve sleep, enhance mood, support the respiratory, digestive and central nervous systems, and increase focus and concentration. She strongly believes yoga can benefit everyone when they open themselves to it and let it in; one pose and one breath at a time.

Over the past few years, Jodi had the opportunity to observe, assist and facilitate classes for Parkinson’s, Cancer and Chronic Pain. She gratefully assisted two of the leading teachers for Parkinson’s yoga in the Bay Area; Carol Fisher and Vickie Bell. From these experiences she not only gained extensive insight and knowledge, but a passion for working with individuals with Parkinson’s.
Jodi received her 200-hour yoga training in 2008 through Brentwood Yoga Center. In 2015, she left her corporate job to pursue a more meaningful career serving others. She graduated from the Niroga Institute 800-hour Yoga Therapy training program and has over 900 hours of teaching experience.

Jodi currently teaches Yoga and Movement for Parkinson’s at the following locations and times:
        Brentwood Yoga Center, Brentwood             Tuesday        1:30-2:45pm
        Grace Presbyterian Church, Walnut Creek   Thursday      9:30–10:45am

Contact Jodi via phone or email: (415) 328-4123
Mindfulness is Your Best Friend
By Carol Fisher
Mindfulness attunes us to the subtleties in our minds and in our bodies. You become a ninja of your inner landscape.

Why is this important? How is this useful? What does this have to do with having Parkinson’s Disease?

PD pretty much lets you know every minute of every day that all is not working in your body as it once did. You are paying constant attention to that fact whether you are consciously aware of it or not. Not only does it affect how you feel in your body, but, if you are like most people with PD, you begin to question and evaluate the importance and value of most things in your life. You start prioritizing how you are going to spend your energy and what is most important to you. If you can pay attention to your body and your thoughts and your life issues with a kind of gentle precise attention, life begins to develop a quality of brightness, softness, purpose and fulfillment that has a quality different from what you once understood or deemed important.

How can I be mindful?
  • Feel your feet on the ground when you are walking or moving. Use your whole foot each time you take a step. When you stand up from a seated position, get steadily on your feet before beginning to move.
  • Stand with your feet solidly apart when you are brushing your teeth, doing the dishes, opening a door, talking to someone, picking something up from the floor, waiting in line at the grocery store.
  • Feel your breath moving in and out of your body when you are resting, watching TV, reading, feeling stressed or anxious or angry.
  • Work hard to project your voice and move your mouth and tongue when you are speaking so others can hear you the first time you say something.
  • Consciously show interest with your face and your eyes when in conversation. The PD mask tends to give a message that you are either not listening, not caring or NOT HOME!!!!
  • Pay attention to how your partner is dealing with the increased list of chores they have because YOU have PD. Try to help in any way that you can. It is possible to unload the dishwasher while holding on to the counter!!
  • Notice what and whom you really enjoy and what you don’t. Maximize your time spent with things and people that bring you joy, interest and love.
  • Never miss an opportunity to acknowledge something or someone that has done something that you appreciate or admire.
  • Use mirrors and reflective windows to observe your posture and demeanor and adjust as you are able.
  • Spend time outdoors using your senses to listen, smell, touch and see. This practice allows you connect with yourself in a different way and is renewing to the spirit.
  • Remember that friendship is a 2-way street. Keep up your end of the bargain to stay connected to those you love and enjoy.

The list could go on and on. This is what MINDFULNESS is – paying attention – on purpose – as is your life depended on it! This simple practice allows you to be infinitely more connected to yourself, to others and to life. Enjoy!!!

Carol Fisher is a Certified Yoga Instructor and a Certified PWR (Parkinson’s Wellness Recovery) Instructor who has been working with the Parkinson’s community in Denver, Boulder, Berkeley and Walnut Creek for 12 years. 925-566-4181
The Doctor Becomes the Patient
By Dennis Krauss, M.D.

After nearly fifty years as a very busy physician (endocrinologist) in private practice, my mindset has evolved from being a health care provider to that of a recipient. After losing just three days to illness over my career, my development of Parkinson’s Disease four years ago pierced any feeling of invincibility. It has been a difficult transition from always worrying about my patients’ health issues and concerns to dealing with personal decisions and a new role in a complex health care system.

My father was a general practitioner, who along with his identical twin brother, developed PD in their sixties, so that I was aware of the genetic risk. Before my diagnosis was confirmed I alone noted a stiffness to my gait. I’ve been a fairly good tennis player, but after a lesson noted that my game inexplicably actually regressed. Later, in the midst of retiring from work, I noted weight loss, anxiety and insomnia, which I hoped were attributable to the life changes. When I confided to my very respected internist my concern about PD, he reluctantly agreed to my request to see a neurologist “…to get it out of your head” which led to confirmation of my suspicions.

I raise the above story to illustrate how being a physician colleague can sometimes affect outcomes. On the one hand there is a possibility of minimizing signs or data that a friend might have, while on the other there is the potential to excessively test or prescribe defensively so as not to miss something. I’ve tried to be a “good patient,” conscious of the myriad time constraints, innumerable decisions, interpersonal interactions, insurance pressures, etc. with which medical personnel are faced. It can be enlightening, however, to be on the receiving end of ancillary medical personnel and experience the extremes of politeness, knowledge, compassion and communication which can coexist. I’ve gotten used to being addressed by my first name and not being able to order tests or drugs or otherwise navigate the health care system at my own pace or focus. I do think there is great empathy and understanding, though, to be had by physicians in a role reversal, while effective communication with patient and provider is essential for all.

My wife and I moved from Rhode Island and a second home in New Hampshire one year ago to be near two of our three children and all four grandchildren, while escaping New England winters. The transition was greatly complicated by tearing my Achilles tendon. In January, I was hospitalized for the first time in my life at John Muir for an orthopedic complication resulting from therapy for the tear. I had wonderful care there while getting to further develop my new identity!
Mostly, because of my PD, I’ve attempted to be proactive in terms of working with many therapists in the last few years including an internist, neurology movement specialist, psychologist, psychiatrist, urologist, orthopedist, and a trainer. New activities for me include yoga, Tai Chi, meditation, gym training, Rock Steady boxing, and physical and speech therapy (BIG and LOUD programs). My wife and I have also been participating in longitudinal PD studies via UCSF and the Michael J. Fox foundation. No, I haven’t used cannabis, but it’s nice to have that option!
PD is certainly a daily challenge with many variations. For example, I have no hand tremor, but do have a subtle one in my lower jaw. Also, I invariably have a runny nose with eating (“gustatory rhinorrhea”). Perhaps because of my senior status (or PD?), recently a young lady with a child on BART refused to take my seat. I thank my friend, Doug Walking, for introducing me to our support group meetings which are always very empowering. Previously I had been hesitant to attend, but now find sharing experiences and some medical knowledge with our very perceptive group a very positive experience.
A Tribute to Jeffrey Straus
By Ronnie Wanetick

It is with deepest sympathy to his loving wife Eileen, that we hold the memory of long-time member Jeffrey Straus who died today after a valiant battle with Parkinson's.

Jeff befriended me when I joined PNMD in 2007. He was a mentor and friend to many newbies. Meeting his lovely wife Eileen was a bonus. Eileen entertained Larry and I for dinner where we got to know founding President Margy Hansell and longtime former moderator Alan Hansel. Sadly, Margy and Alan have passed on too.

Eileen was a devoted wife, caregiver and friend. She plans to continue on with PNMD.

  • Anonymous

In Memory of Sterling Getty
  • Helen M. Gomes
  • Joanne R. Cryer
  • Thomas and Shelley Bartley
  • Walter and Marsha Nakamura

In Memory of Jeffrey Straus
  • Ronnie and Larry Wanetick

In Honor of Carol Fisher
  • Ronnie and Larry Wanetick

In Memory of Alice Morris
  • Alan Millar

Information and Resources Library
To Members and Friends:

To use it or not when you have Parkinson's Disease is one question. In what form is it suitable for therapy and what is being treated are two more questions. Yet another question is what is in the preparation - what is it a blend of? This question overlaps with others - who sells it and where?

"It" is marijuana, which has approximately 30 synonyms ranging from hash to Panama red. In November the main presentation at PNMD's General Support Meeting will be a panel of experts discussing Parkinson's and Cannabinoid Therapy. The library will have some handouts on the subject as well as any the presenters might supply. Bring all your questions with you when you come!

Also stop by the library table to browse handouts regarding caregiving, PD issues, transportation, and other pertinent subjects. Pick up a copy of Mobility Matters with information about how to get around without using your own car. Get a copy of the transportation handout. Pick out a book which might interest you. Our newest book is A Parkinson's Primer by John M. Vine, who writes about his experience with PD. We also have some exercise DVDs for you. Be sure to sign out all books on the sheet provided and bring them back as soon as you can, preferably at the next meeting.

If you have any suggestions regarding resources you would like some information about that are not on the table, or books you would like to donate, or anything you have a question about, please speak to someone helping at the library table.

Janice Ransley, M.D., Library Chair

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.

Alexander Technique Group Class - 10 Weeks
Wednesday, 10:00AM-11:00AM, Lena Hart, 917-806-7929

Come learn the Alexander Technique and gain life-long skills to help you manage your symptoms of PD. The Alexander Technique is scientifically proven to help those with PD regain their balance, do every day activities with more ease, and manage symptoms of depression.
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.
Help Wanted: Volunteer Audio-Visual Technician

Volunteer for Parkinson's disease support group that meets at Grace Presbyterian Church near Rossmoor. Familiar with PowerPoint, laptop computers (PC or Mac). Able to set up and operate slide projector, amplifier, microphones. Third Saturday of each month from 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon. Please call 925-939-4210.

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 Norman Kibbe ( ),  (925) 935-9322 .

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: Norman Kibbe (925) 935-9322 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.