T² (Todd's Team)
Thank you for visiting our team site. I’m Todd, the namesake of this team. I was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson's Disease (YOPD) in late October 2012. At the time I was 31, about half the age of most Parkinson's patients.While less common (YOPD effects 10% of all PD patients), Parkinson's can effect young people, as I've found out first hand. YOPD typically progresses slower than PD in an older patient, but it also presents different challenges as somebody with YOPD still has to juggle a job, family, etc. along with the disease.
Parkinson's is a progressive neurological disorder resulting from the loss of dopamine-generating cells. While it affects people in many different ways, common symptoms include shaking, rigidity, and slowness of movement. For me, rigidity and slowness are the primary symptoms. I also have tremors occasionally and cramping in my toes which can make it hard to walk. I am currently up to 20 doses of medicine a day which is pretty typical of somebody with Parkinson’s. I am fortunate to have a job with good health insurance as the out-of pocket cost of my medication is in excess of $30,000 annually.
In addition to medication, I have found that exercise helps me a great deal and is something I can control. I typically wake up at 5 am during the week and at the very least stretch for 15 minutes, as well as exercise 4-5 times a week. Working from home has generally helped me keep my exercise routine, although I am usually trading off sleep for exercise which is not ideal. That being said I’m not great at sleeping, anyways which is also common in most Parkinson’s patients. It can be uncomfortable to lay down for that long, and the medication can cause some intense dreams. I have been fortunate to avoid the hallucinations and other negative side effects associated with the medication I take.
My wife and I now have 3 kids (2, 4 and 6) who keep us very busy. I don’t think Parkinson’s impacts my parenting that much although I’ve never known anything different. That might be one of the hardest parts of this disease, that I’ve officially had it for 9 years now and will potentially have it for the rest of my life. My kids think that all dads pop pills every four hours and wear a patch with medicine. This has resulted in the kids wearing pretend patches to “be like Daddy”, or the four-year old, Annika, informing me that her older brother would also take a lot of pills when he got older. because to her that’s what dad’s do. This is just the reality that our family faces. No matter what I do Parkinson’s is always a part of our lives.
And that is why I am asking for your support. Organizations like the Parkinson’s Foundation help fund research for a cure which is the only way to beat this disease. Furthermore, PF provide valuable resources for those individuals, and families, living with Parkinson’s. Without a cure, the challenges of Parkinson’s will continue to exist. Over the past seven years we have been joined by an ever-growing amount of teammates and have raised over $75,000. Last year, amidst the pandemic, we hosted a walk in our neighberhood which had great turnout and was a great way of raising awareness for PD. I am hopeful that with your donation more people will get the support and resources they need now, and one day soon we will find a cure.
Thank you for your support!