The Language of Lemons

“I brought you some lemons,” she said, showing me a bowl brimming with sunny spheres.

“Thank you,” I replied to my longtime housekeeper.

That’s one of the blessings of living in Southern California, stuff grows. I mean everything, everywhere. Citrus trees are fecund with fruit.

“One tree will serve a whole family,” says my husband.

“No one plants just one,” say I. Thus, the largesse on our countertop.

“The other lady I work for said I could take as many as I wanted, and I know you need to use a lot of lemons.”

“Thank you.”

I do use a lot of them. Thanks to Dr. Laurie Mischley I take my Parkie pills (and several complementary supplements prescribed by the good doctor) with lemon juice. It helps absorption of the parkie-go-to-medication by increasing the gastric acid. Besides, extra Vitamin C can’t hurt when in a pandemic.

I wish that there was a magic Parkinson’s pill, or that the lemon juice worked wonders. But that is not the case; there is no cure for PD. At least not yet.   There is the requisite prescription to exercise — it slows PD progression specifically and aging generally. Naturally, diet plays a part and to my Mediterranean-influenced diet I have added a twist – of lemon.  A lot of it. I think it helps and so do several peer-reviewed studies that show increasing gastric acid does facilitate absorption of the Twitchy Tablets, aka Parkie Pills, aka Carbidopa/Levodopa and therefore more effective. Lemon juice does help -. The improvement is small but noticeable. I feel it does help the medication’s efficacy. And when living a life with such a little-understood disease, I will take whatever help I can get.

When life gives you lemons – don’t just make lemonade. Be grateful. Yeah, Parkinson’s Disease sucks. And, like millions of others, I wish science knew why my dopaminergic neurons have decided to off themselves and how to stop their suicidal tendencies.  But we don’t. I hope that we will. Soon. In the meantime, I remain grateful for support, suggestions, and science. I thank the kind souls who cheer me on with thoughts, prayers and of course, the loving lemons that adorn my counter and flavor my days.

Thank you.

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