Wednesday, April 02, 2014

The Dancing Man

by Zinta Aistars
Published April 2014

Michael Lamb with his wife Carri and their daughter

The Dancing Man
Michael - Parkinson's Disease 

When Michael Lamb’s neurologist, Ashok Sriram, MD, asked him to walk down the hospital hallway after his surgery, Michael didn’t walk. He danced.

He danced for joy, and he danced because he could. It had been years since Michael could dance, let alone walk normally.

In 2005, Michael, age 51 at the time, was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease affects the brain and symptoms include tremors, muscle rigidity, slowness of movements, and difficulty with speech and walking. Current treatments can help relieve symptoms, but there is no cure. 

“When it first started, I couldn’t figure it out,” he says. “I would lie down and my legs would start to shake. My legs often felt stiff. I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, but I was in denial.”

He was also scared. As Michael researched all he could about Parkinson’s disease online, he sank even deeper into denial. He was working in retail behind the sales counter, and his colleagues admitted that they had noticed his symptoms for some time, but Michael wasn’t ready to hear it.

“Then Mike had an episode at work and was rushed to the hospital,” adds his wife Carri Lamb. She lovingly told her husband that they could deal with this—together.

Carri describes watching her husband cooking at the stove and suddenly contorting into rigidity. “His body would curve like a snake.”

Mike was put on medication to control his symptoms, but as time went by, the side effects of the medication increased while its effectiveness decreased. The pills kept him up at night and the symptoms of shaking and rigid limbs returned.

Mike remembers: “It was shake, rattle and roll.”

“About a year later, our doctor said the disease was progressing faster than expected,” Carri says. “Part of the reason was because Mike hadn’t been willing to change how he lives.”

The news hit Mike hard, and it was the wake-up call he needed to change his life. It meant quitting his job and ...

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