Excy Family Member Major C. has never been one to sit around much. He’s always lived an active lifestyle. When he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 15 years ago at the age of 64, he wasn’t about to let it get in the way of doing things he enjoyed.
Major has successfully made exercise, along with his medication, a standard part of his overall management plan for Parkinson’s disease. In his journey with Parkinson’s disease today, Excy is key to knocking down the exercise barriers that frequently impede even motivated people without disease to participate in regular exercise. Duopa is key in knocking down his barrier of taking pills.
He reached out to us to share his story, which we are happy to share with you!
Tackling the Progression of Parkinson’s Disease
Before the pandemic, Major, who is from Columbia, Ohio, would engage in exercises for Parkinson’s disease by going to the YMCA. His exercise of choice was an elliptical machine and he walked around the track. For the first seven or so years, his symptoms were steady.
However, as a progressive disease, the inevitable onset of more symptoms started to increase. This progressive onset took place during the pandemic where access to exercise (pretty much everything) was problematic. With research showing that indoor cycling for Parkinson’s can slow symptoms, Major’s daughter, a marathon runner, started researching different therapeutic cycling equipment for home fitness.
In addition, like many people with Parkinson’s disease, when Major first got diagnosed, treatment required taking a lot of pills. With the progression of his Parkinson’s disease, taking those pills became very difficult, so Major’s daughter and wife focused on helping him transition to an easier way to take his medicine.
Excy Exercise Cycling for Parkinson’s Disease
With the pandemic and increasing symptoms, Major and his family wanted more frequent and convenient access to exercise to help manage the progression of his Parkinson’s disease. They also wanted a device that wouldn’t take up a lot of space in their home.
In January 2021, Major’s daughter found Excy through powerful testimonials from other Excy Family members with Parkinson’s disease who use Excy as a recumbent chair cycle. The full utility and quality of Excy’s small footprint XCS 260 made the decision easy.
With starting to feel more side-effects like restless leg syndrome and small tremors increase, Major became more committed than ever to use Excy cycling to help to alleviate symptoms. Soon enough, Major’s exercise cycling for Parkinson’s with Excy became a daily habit to fight symptoms while watching his favorite sports on TV. Since getting his Excy, he has consistently pedaled his legs 15 to 20 minutes everyday from his kitchen chair or Zoomer wheelchair.
Shoulder Injury Setback: Reverse Shoulder Replacement Surgery
Major was in a groove. Then a shoulder injury set him back.
Twelve years ago, Major had surgery on both rotator cuffs. Last October while unloading pumpkins for a church fundraiser, he injured his shoulder. The pain was unbearable so he had reverse shoulder replacement surgery. Under the advice of his surgeon and physical therapist, he started using an upper body ergometer for his shoulder rehab in a clinic. His doctor and physical therapist approved letting him use Excy to hand cycle at home, which he now does 10 minutes a day.
Major places Excy on his kitchen table and focuses on small forwards and backwards motions with a primary focus on using the Excy upper body ergometer to train his deltoid muscle since he no longer has a rotator cuff.
Major is now up to 30 minutes of exercise cycling per day, 20 minutes for his legs, and 10 minutes for his arms.
Duopa for Treating Parkinson’s Motor Fluctuations
So often when we talk about disease, we leave off the critical nature of the impact on daily living and how all the pieces of the puzzle fit together. There are the challenges of living and managing symptoms, but managing medication is also time consuming. Major has found an innovative way to manage his medication that we wanted to share for others battling Parkinson’s disease.
Major and his family turned to using Duopa, an external suspension prescription medicine used for treatment of advanced Parkinson’s disease. Duopa (created by AbbVie) contains two liquid medicines in a cassette: carbidopa and levodopa. The cassette attaches to a pump device that delivers the drug continuously through a tube directly to the intestine over a 16 hour period. Just like exercise, Duopa is not a cure for Parkinson’s disease. It helps control symptoms, dyskinesias, and motor fluctuations of the disease.
Daily Treatment of Duopa: It’s a Team Effort
We share an overview of the daily process because imagine the commitment required to squeeze in daily exercise on top of managing medications. It can be so overwhelming, not only for the patient, but also those who love them and assist in caretaking. Major’s wife helps with maintenance.
Medication, Regular Exercise and a Positive Mindset
Dealing with the pain, tremors, immobility, and more while managing medication and appointments isn’t easy for anyone. With no “cure” today for diseases like Parkinson’s, MS, and Alzheimer’s, we look to people like Major for inspiration. Major has what we call a three-legged-stool foundation to keep prioritizing exercise, even under challenging circumstances:
- He is willing
- He is able
- He is persistent
We also look to people like Major’s daughter and wife. It is estimated that there are nearly 40 million caregivers who provide care for adults over the age of 18 with a disability or illness. We do everything we can to help caretakers empower those they love to conveniently, independently, and safely connect exercise and physical therapy to their everyday life.
If you have been physically active your entire life, but an injury, diagnosis, or disability threw a wrench into your fitness routine, Excy is worth exploring. Like Major, you can achieve your goals if you’re willing, able, and persistent. Spoiler alert: “able” isn’t what you think it is. Our Excy customers have taught us that we are a lot more “able” than we’ve been led to believe when we pursue exercise and movement as medicine.