Book Review - Take Charge of Parkinson’s Disease: Dynamic Lifestyle Changes to Put You in the Driver’s Seat
When I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, the one thing I did not do was read about it. Quite honestly, I didn’t want to know what the future might hold for me. At this point, five years later, I can say I’ve read two books about Parkinson’s. One is Michael J. Fox’s book, Lucky Man, a book which helped me to find my balance after my diagnosis. The other one is a book I’ve just recently read. It is Anne Cutter Mikkelsen’s new book, Take Charge of Parkinson’s Disease: Dynamic Lifestyle Changes to Put You in the Driver’s Seat.
I was intrigued by this book when I first learned about it. What attracted me initially was the focus on exercise and diet. I’m a big believer in exercise for Parkinson’s and I want to learn more about diet changes that might be helpful. I’m still not planning on doing a lot of reading up on PD, but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to take a peek at this one. I’m glad I did. I also loaned it to Paul Zeiger, my yoga teacher. He read it, too, and I will include some of his thoughts as well.
Anne’s book is a combination of memoir, cookbook, and information about Parkinson’s disease. I was initially a bit surprised. This book wasn't exactly what I was expecting. I guess with the words "take charge" and "dynamic" in the title, I expected to see a lifestyle change set out very specifically, telling me what to do and how to do it, all with great enthusiasm. That it wasn’t like this at all, threw me a little. However, I read on and was pleasantly surprised by the end of Anne's story.
This is a gentle book, written by a cook whose husband happens to have Parkinson's disease. The lifestyle changes are shown by their example and not shoved at us. It's more of a quiet challenge that suggests that we create changes in our lives. I especially appreciate the recipes and the information about antioxidants and what they do, and the section on spices. Many of the recipes are simple, too, and use ingredients that I might actually have in my kitchen. For the recipes and gentle stories alone, this book is worth reading and keeping on hand as a cookbook.
We had a few minor quibbles. Anne’s family has available resources that are greater than most of us with PD have. I am grateful for their sake that they had these resources; it’s just frustrating at times to read about possibilities that aren’t really possible for most of us. Paul feels the word choice of “Driver’s Seat” in the book’s subtitle is unfortunate, since many of us with PD need to get out of the driver’s seat!
One of my favorite stories in the book is when Anne’s husband, Mike, is attempting to button his shirt and Anne hears him swearing from the other room. As one who actually took swearing lessons from a friend after my diagnosis, feeling that this was a skill that was mandatory in my life with PD, I would have loved to hear more stories like this. A few non-inspirational moments make me more comfortable and more willing to take seriously the lifestyle changes that are suggested.
Minor quibbles aside; this is a good book to add to our home library. It will have a place of honor in my kitchen.