Think / Able - and Check out My Parkinson's Facebook Page

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Wednesday, November 2, 2016


            Way back when, as the legend goes, the original Aztecs of Mexico came from their ancestral homeland in the southwest United States at a place that is called Aztlan. Now, this place is largely thought of in revolutionary terms by people living south of America’s border who feel that there should be a Republica del Norte to re-annex the lands lost in the Mexican-American War. While I’m not here to discuss whether I’m willing to give land back that stretches as far north as Oregon, I will say that as a person interested in history, archaeology, and my own brand of fictional stories, the concept of this falls nicely into my books on the fictional Utah location known as Blackrock Canyon since it allows for a mysterious pre-history in a region that is still populated by the remnants of cliff dwellings and other Ancestral Puebloan sites.
            For this knowledge that I have accumulated over the years as a part of my curiosities, I guess it’s no surprise that with my new Parkinson’s medication being Azilect, I would often move to tell people that I’m on Aztlan. At least that’s what my mind tells me until I realize the Azilect has nothing to do with the Aztecs and everything to go with being more mobile and fully treated to continue to enjoy my life as I know it for as long as I can.
All the same, if you’ve never seen the Aztec archaeological sites outside of Cancun, which include Chichen Itza, Coba, and Tulum, you’re missing out. They’re the bee’s knees, but I digress. That’s a blog for another page. 

            What Azilect is would be an MAO-B inhibitor. Put more simply, there is some dopamine in my brain, but not as much of it is doing what it needs to be doing. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in my big ol’ brain. It sends messages. Because of evil nasty enzymes, which we will liken to the zombie hordes on The Walking Dead, my dopamine doesn’t get where it’s going. Thus, these pathways are dried up. It took some time to get to 60-80% damage levels where the tremors began, but silently, “crap happened.”
What Azilect does to fight this is it acts like a kinder, gentler, and more altruistic Negen providing protection with Lucille for my brain. I pay for this, and it does the work I can’t do without it. In no uncertain terms, it clears up the bad and lets my brain use its own good stuff to make my signals work where they can.
I have to say, I’m happy with this arrangement.
Mind you, this is not Levodopa, which is used in conjunction with Carbidopa. Levodopa is a medication for when things really progress. It gets magically turned into dopamine and another medication called Carbidopa protects it from getting broken down before it is absorbed. That’s a whole different game than a person in my early stages of Parkinson’s is operating at. When I mentioned this to my doctor, he looked at me with that look that respectfully says, “Stop going on Internet sites unless you know what you’re looking at; you’ll just scare yourself if you keep this up.” Of course, I looked back at him with that look that says, “I’m sorry for being a dumbass. Teach me, Jedi Master. I am your padawan learner.”
            Since that time, I have learned. According to my doctor, the CVS pharmacist, Azilect’s site, and, these are some of the problems for people taking the medication: joint pain, cough, dizziness, joint & muscle pain, headache, depression, heartburn, nausea, fever, loss of interest in sex, constipation / diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, rashes, numbness, strange dreams (as if I don’t have enough strange and lucid dreams already), dry mouth (that I can’t quench with beer), flu symptoms, and an inability to sleep. Of course, there are extremes like “strange thoughts” (whatever they are) and hallucinations, as well as passing out, but yeah… these things are on many medicines that are advertised in between innings of the World Series so that people can ask to take them and feel like the energized and happy people on the Otezla commercials.
I’m not sure how I’d be featured on an Azilect commercial. I’m thinking climbing waterfalls at Sullivan Run next July. Then again, maybe I’d just be extending my underwear radius, dancing around the living room to make my wife Heather laugh. Either way, it wouldn’t be to Katrina and the Waves. I’m thinking more Michael Franti’s “Sound of Sunshine.”

            Nevertheless, for all this medication is, one thing that Azilect isn’t is cheap. According to, 30 of these bad boys can fetch up to $680.37, give or take. Fortunately, I have insurance, so I don’t pay full price. Fortunately, I have good insurance, so I pay a lot less, but I’m not all people. Many people go broke on these prices, especially with limited capabilities, options, support systems, and advanced conditions.
            Cue that I’m trying to affect your heart and mind.
Yes, I get that research takes talent and talent equals cost, but at the same point, I have serious issues with the ethics of Martin Shkreli and Heather Bresch. Yes, I get that we live in a capitalistic country, but I have the audacity to think that prices can be balanced with profit.
            Fortunately, on February 7, 2017, this drug goes generic. This is with regard to the 20 year patent on drugs to recoup research expenses and to profit. Fair enough. That said, I know that on that day, a lot of people with average to poor health insurance will be celebrating good times with Kool and the Gang that their lives will be getting easier as they continue to recover from their condition with the medicine that their doctors feel they need.

            Until then, we wait.

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