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Jo-Ann Golec: Taking on Parkinson’s Disease

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Jo-Ann Golec and her battle with Parkinson's Photo Courtesy of Greg Ruffing

Facing an illness presents many challenges. Yet in today’s world of social media, finding resources and support online has helped many to connect with others who are facing similar challenges.


A 71-year-old grandmother has recently become the first face of the newly debuted Facebook page called Parkinson’s More than Motion. Her name is Jo-Ann Golec. Via cinéma vérité online, video clips can be seen navigating her daily life — from scenes with her family to a luncheon date with female friends.

The page invites visitors to interact, learn details about the extent of Parkinson’s disease (PD) symptoms, and understand how to take control of their medical care. The name of the platform, More than Motion, was chosen because there is a full range of non-motor symptoms that affect the Parkinson’s population. In fact, it is estimated that 60 percent of people with Parkinson’s disease have two or more non-motor symptoms; 25 percent have four or more non-motor symptoms.

For those who don’t fall under the umbrella of presenting with the more “recognizable” motor symptoms such as tremors, stiffness, postural instability, and slow movements — quality of life concerns are often overlooked and therefore undertreated. These include:

•    Sleep disorders
•    Skin disorders
•    Gastrointestinal or urinary disorders
•    Depression, anxiety, decreased motivation, irritability
•    Cognitive changes including memory problems or difficulty sustaining attention

Currently, one million Americans are living with Parkinson’s disease. There are between 50,000 and 60,000 new cases diagnosed in the nation annually, with the majority of patients averaging in their sixties. It is the second most common neurological disorder affecting the country’s older citizens.

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EmpowHER Guest

A brave woman for stepping forward and opening a door for others to share. I am an acupuncturist and am currently treating a couple of people with Parkinson's Disease (PD). Both have seen significant improvements. One who had lost her sense of smell as well, has regained about 50% of that sense back. It only took a couple of treatments and it remains, so that doesn't seem to be a temporary gain. Other improvements include less fatigue, clarity of thought, increase motivation to do things, able to do more, and quicker recovery if the tremors increase after doing too much. One patient has had his tremors go from 4-8 out of 10, down to 0-2 out of 10, with less tremor on the inside, which mostly now is 0.

Since acupuncture is different for everyone and PD can be so tricky to treat, it's definitely worth a try and if you don't have results with one acupuncturist, try another. The woman whose sense of smell partially returned had seen 2 other acupuncturists without result. I would also recommend finding an acupuncturist who has studied herbs as well, which I combine with the acupuncture.


May 28, 2012 - 1:04pm

My hat goes off to Mrs. Golec. Parkinson's is a terrible disease for victim and family. Makes everyday life difficult.

Marielaina Perrone DDS
Henderson Family Dentist

October 17, 2012 - 11:30am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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