80 episodes

When Life Gives You Parkinson’s is an honest, funny, and engaging podcast chronicling host Larry Gifford’s personal journey with Parkinson’s disease. Gifford, his wife Rebecca, and their son Henry live in Vancouver, British Columbia. Gifford has worked in radio for nearly 30 years. In August 2017 he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at the age of 45. Now in its second season, When Life Gives You Parkinson’s is a first-hand account of what it is like to live with PD for Gifford, his family, and other members of the worldwide Parkinson’s community.

Answering probing questions from co-host Niki Reitmayer and letting listeners eavesdrop in on intimate chats with his wife, Gifford uses humour to diffuse heavy content and give the podcast a hopeful tone. He gives voice to Parkinson’s experts and advocates from around the world and together they openly tackle tough topics. The authentic, frank conversations along with compelling storytelling is what makes this podcast interesting, informative, and enlightening.

Special thank you to our partners. Presenting partner is Parkinson Canada, content and promotional partner Spotlight YOPD, and The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research Parkinson’s IQ + You.

When Life Gives You Parkinson's Curiouscast

    • Medicine
    • 4.4 • 223 Ratings

When Life Gives You Parkinson’s is an honest, funny, and engaging podcast chronicling host Larry Gifford’s personal journey with Parkinson’s disease. Gifford, his wife Rebecca, and their son Henry live in Vancouver, British Columbia. Gifford has worked in radio for nearly 30 years. In August 2017 he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at the age of 45. Now in its second season, When Life Gives You Parkinson’s is a first-hand account of what it is like to live with PD for Gifford, his family, and other members of the worldwide Parkinson’s community.

Answering probing questions from co-host Niki Reitmayer and letting listeners eavesdrop in on intimate chats with his wife, Gifford uses humour to diffuse heavy content and give the podcast a hopeful tone. He gives voice to Parkinson’s experts and advocates from around the world and together they openly tackle tough topics. The authentic, frank conversations along with compelling storytelling is what makes this podcast interesting, informative, and enlightening.

Special thank you to our partners. Presenting partner is Parkinson Canada, content and promotional partner Spotlight YOPD, and The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research Parkinson’s IQ + You.

    When dopamine agonists lead to agony

    When dopamine agonists lead to agony

    In this episode of When Life Gives You Parkinson’s, what happens when the side effects of your medication are causing more harm than the disease itself? Many people with Parkinson’s are treated with dopamine agonists, which work perfectly for thousands of people, but can cause uncontrollable, destructive behaviors for others. Among the issues are compulsive shopping, hyper-sexuality, binge eating, internet addictions, and excessive gambling. Larry, Rebecca and Niki will introduce you to two people with Parkinson’s who experienced impulse control disorder while on agonists. One of them gained 60 pounds and the other went deep in debt, lost her inhibitions, her job and nearly everything else.

    Thank you for listening. Add your voice to the show and leave a message for us here; https://www.speakpipe.com/WhenLifeGivesYouParkinsons

    Follow us, Larry & Rebecca Gifford 

    Twitter: @ParkinsonsPod

    Facebook: Facebook.com/ParkinsonsPod

    Instagram: @parkinsonspod

    Follow Co-host and Producer Niki Reitmeyer

    Twitter: @Niki_Reitmayer

    Thank you to the following people featured in this

    Vicki Dillon – PwP, follow Vicki on Twitter and her website

    Ken Robinson – Vicki’s Partner                                                                                                         

    Susan O’Rourke – PwP, President of Artfront Galleries in Newark, NJ

    Dr. Elana Clar – Neurologist, Movement Disorder Specialist, New Jersey Brain and Spine

    Dave Andrews – PwP, Follow Dave on Twitter

    Gil Thelon – PwP, Gil writes about Parkinson’s at www.shufflingeditor.com

    Dr. Jonathon Squires – Neurologist, Movement Disorder Specialist at Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health

    Special thanks to Niki Reitmayer for sharing her findings from her UBC Psych 301 Final: Impulse Control Disorders: The Strange Side Effect of Dopamine Agonists When Used to Treat Parkinson’s Disease.

    CREDIT: Sex, Lies and Parkinson’s Documentary 2011, Channel 4 production. Directed by Oliver Cheetham, Produced by Oliver Cheetham and James Rogan

    Diagnosed with Parkinson’s? You are not alone. Contact presenting partner Parkinson Canada http://www.parkinson.ca/, call toll free hotline 1-800-565-3000, on Twitter @ParkinsonCanada

    Thanks also to our content and promotional partners

    Parkinson’s IQ + You– A free, series of Parkinson’s events from the Michael J. Fox Foundation

    Spotlight YOPD – The only Parkinson’s organization dedicated to raising awareness for Young Onset Parkinson’s disease and funds for the Cure Parkinson’s Trust. 

    PD Avengers - We want to help end Parkinson’s disease. Join us.

    World Parkinson Congress 2022 –Make plans to join us for #WPC2022 in Barcelona, Spain.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 1 hr
    Even Patients Can Push Things Along

    Even Patients Can Push Things Along

    This season we are talking a lot about Parkinson’s advocacy. From advocating for yourself with your doctor to people with Parkinson’s communicating with law makers, and others who are educating, participating in research or sharing their story whether through a podcast, a blog, a book, Social Media, magazines, or one on one conversations with a friend.

    In this episode of When Life Gives You Parkinson’s, host Larry Gifford introduces you to Parkinson’s advocate Christine Jeyachandran. Christine is an Australian living in Peru with her family. They met in Japan at the World Parkinson Congress where she was a finalist in the video competition. Her video tracked her journey to learn gymnastics with PD and ultimately achieve a handstand. Now Christine brings hope, urgency and education to her Parkinson’s advocacy through her website and videos at www.handstandforparkinson.com.

    Thank you for listening. Add your voice to the show and leave a message for us here; https://www.speakpipe.com/WhenLifeGivesYouParkinsons

    Follow us, Larry & Rebecca Gifford 

    Twitter: @ParkinsonsPod

    Facebook: Facebook.com/ParkinsonsPod

    Instagram: @parkinsonspod

    Follow Co-host and Producer Niki Reitmeyer

    Twitter: @Niki_Reitmayer

     

    Diagnosed with Parkinson’s? You are not alone. Contact presenting partner Parkinson Canada http://www.parkinson.ca/, call toll free hotline 1-800-565-3000, on Twitter @ParkinsonCanada

    Thanks also to our content and promotional partners

    Parkinson’s IQ + You– A free, series of Parkinson’s events from the Michael J. Fox Foundation

    Spotlight YOPD – The only Parkinson’s organization dedicated to raising awareness for Young Onset Parkinson’s disease and funds for the Cure Parkinson’s Trust. 

    PD Avengers - We want to help end Parkinson’s disease. Join us.

    World Parkinson Congress 2022 –Make plans to join us for #WPC2022 in Barcelona, Spain.

     

    Credits

    Dila Velazquez – Story Producer

    Greg Schott – Sound Design

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 47 min
    The Doctor - Patient Partnership

    The Doctor - Patient Partnership

    In this episode of When Life Gives You Parkinson’s, listen in as Larry Gifford gets his sixth month check up with his neurologist. Larry, his wife Rebecca and co-host Niki Reitmayer discuss the importance of trust and communication in building a relationship with your neurologist and all the other members of your care team – even your partner and your friends. Plus, saying “no” to a doctor can be difficult, but it is an important option to use when you do not agree with the prescribed treatment plan.

    Thank you for listening. Add your voice to the show and leave a message for us here; https://www.speakpipe.com/WhenLifeGivesYouParkinsons

    Follow us, Larry & Rebecca Gifford 

    Twitter: @ParkinsonsPod

    Facebook: Facebook.com/ParkinsonsPod

    Instagram: @parkinsonspod

    Follow Co-host and Producer Niki Reitmeyer

    Twitter: @Niki_Reitmayer

    Thank you to the following people featured in this episode…

    Jonathon Squires, MD Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health

    Heather Kennedy, #WPC2022 Ambassador

    Vicki Dillon, #ParkieandProud, GDNF’er

    Diagnosed with Parkinson’s? You are not alone. Contact presenting partner Parkinson Canada http://www.parkinson.ca/, call toll free hotline 1-800-565-3000, on Twitter @ParkinsonCanada

    Thanks also to our content and promotional partners

    Parkinson’s IQ + You– A free, series of Parkinson’s events from the Michael J. Fox Foundation

    Spotlight YOPD – The only Parkinson’s organization dedicated to raising awareness for Young Onset Parkinson’s disease and funds for the Cure Parkinson’s Trust. 

    PD Avengers - We want to help end Parkinson’s disease. Join us.

    World Parkinson Congress 2022 –Make plans to join us for #WPC2022 in Barcelona, Spain.

     

    Credits

    Dila Velazquez – Story Producer

    Rob Johnston – Sound Design

     

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 43 min
    Preventing Parkinsons Disease

    Preventing Parkinsons Disease

    In this episode of When Life Gives You Parkinson’s, three of the authors of the book Ending Parkinson’s Disease explain how Parkinson’s is preventable. WLGYP’s host Larry Gifford interviewed Bas Bloem MD, PhD, Ray Dorsey MD, and Michael S. Okun MD for a Parkinson Canada webinar.

    Larry, his wife Rebecca and co-host Niki Reitmayer listen, learn and react to the author’s frank discussion of Parkinson’s disease, why they believe it is preventable, who is at risk, how COVID-19 maybe triggering the onset of PD, and why more and more experts believe it to be a global pandemic. 

    Thank you for listening. Add your voice to the show and leave a message for us here; https://www.speakpipe.com/WhenLifeGivesYouParkinsons

    Follow us, Larry & Rebecca Gifford 

    Twitter: @ParkinsonsPod

    Facebook: Facebook.com/ParkinsonsPod

    Instagram: @parkinsonspod

    Follow Co-host and Producer Niki Reitmeyer

    Twitter: @Niki_Reitmayer

    Thank you to the following people featured in this episode…

    Bas Bloem MD, Phd, Ray Dorsey, MD and Michael S. Okun, MD – details on their book are available at www.endingpd.ord

    Diagnosed with Parkinson’s? You are not alone. Contact presenting partner Parkinson Canada http://www.parkinson.ca/, call toll free hotline 1-800-565-3000, on Twitter @ParkinsonCanada

    Thanks also to our content and promotional partners

    Parkinson’s IQ + You– A free, series of Parkinson’s events from the Michael J. Fox Foundation

    Spotlight YOPD – The only Parkinson’s organization dedicated to raising awareness for Young Onset Parkinson’s disease and funds for the Cure Parkinson’s Trust. 

    PD Avengers - We want to help end Parkinson’s disease. Join us.

    World Parkinson Congress 2022 –Make plans to join us for #WPC2022 in Barcelona, Spain.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 49 min
    When You Know It’s Time to Fire Your Neurologist

    When You Know It’s Time to Fire Your Neurologist

    In this episode of When Life Gives You Parkinson’s, you will learn when and how to switch neurologists and what doctor’s find annoying about you.

    It may be hard to believe, but doctors do not know everything about treating Parkinson’s disease. From ridiculous diagnosis stories, tragic treatment options, lack of empathy, the God complex and life altering misdiagnosis, many people with Parkinson’s have been through wringer and ultimately fired their neurologist.  

    The doctor-patient relationship is critical for treating Parkinson’s. “It’s really important to have someone you can talk to openly and honestly and who listens to you,” says Dr. Rachel Dolhun, a board certified movement disorder specialist and Vice President of Medical Communications for the Michael J. Fox Foundation. “Parkinson's is really all about expressing how things are going on a daily basis, how your medicines are or aren't working, and how new symptoms are coming up or how symptoms are changing.”

    In addition to Dr. Dolhun, this episode features conversations with a number of people with Parkinson’s including Dave Clark, Gil Thelan, and Jeanette Fisher-Pynn.

    Thank you for listening. Add your voice to the show and leave a message for us here; https://www.speakpipe.com/WhenLifeGivesYouParkinsons

    Follow us, Larry & Rebecca Gifford 

    Twitter: @ParkinsonsPod

    Facebook: Facebook.com/ParkinsonsPod

    Instagram: @parkinsonspod

    Follow Co-host and Producer Niki Reitmeyer

    Twitter: @Niki_Reitmayer

    Thank you to the following people featured in this episode…

    Dr. Rachel Dolhun – Board Certified Movement Disorder Specialist and Vice President of Medical Communications for the Michael J. Fox Foundation. Hosts “Ask the MD” Blog and Videos.

     

    Dave Clark – PwP, former Sky Sports television announcer, Parkinson’s advocate and fundraiser.

    Gil Thelen – PwP, former President and Publisher of The Tampa Tribune, and author of “Counterpunch: Duking It Out With Parkinson’s.”

    Jeanette Fisher-Pynn – PwP, and featured in our “Misdiagnosis” episode

    Also appearing…

    Ellen Bookman – www.pdboxing.org and on Twitter @luvlivin3

    David Ashford Jones – Former Pharmaceutical Executive turned Parkinson’s advocate

    Jill Carson – PwP, founder of Parkinson’s Wellness Project in Victoria, BC

    Kitty Fitton – PwP, www.kittyfitton.com     

    Michael S. Fitts – Michael J. Fox Patient Council

    Heather Kennedy – PwP, a.k.a. Kathleen Kiddo, featured in this previous episode on the darkness of depression.

    Dr. Stuart Factor - Professor of Neurology, Director of the Movement Disorders Program and Vance Lanier Chair of Neurology at Emory University School of Medicine

    Diagnosed with Parkinson’s? You are not alone. Contact presenting partner Parkinson Canada http://www.parkinson.ca/, call toll free hotline 1-800-565-3000, on Twitter @ParkinsonCanada

    Thanks also to our content and promotional partners

    Parkinson’s IQ + You– A free, series of Parkinson’s events from the Michael J. Fox Foundation

    Spotlight YOPD – The only Parkinson’s organization dedicated to raising awareness for Young Onset Parkinson’s disease and funds for the Cure Parkinson’s Trust. 

    PD Avengers - We want to help end Parkinson’s disease. Join us.

    World Parkinson Congress 2022 –Make plans to join us for #WPC2022 in Barcelona, Spain.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 53 min
    Back to the beginning

    Back to the beginning

    In this premiere episode of season three of the podcast, my wife Rebecca, co-host Niki Reitmayer and I discuss what life it like with Parkinson’s three years after diagnosis and what impact has COVID-19 had on us and others with PD.

    Communication came up as a relatively new and big issue in the Gifford home. For 20 years, our instinctive interactions were a fun and easy part of our relationship. Now I take things literal when Rebecca is being figurative, she has to repeat herself over and over again, and I get trapped in my Parkinson’s bubble at certain times of the day.

    “It gets frustrating,” says Rebecca. “Because, I've repeated myself a couple of times on something and it's still not retained. For me, it's re learning patience and understanding and knowing that it's not just that he's too busy and he's not paying attention or whatever. No, it's the Parkinson's.” Larry and Rebecca also share how they are working together and individually to improve the communication glitches the Parkinson’s is causing. 

    Thank you for listening. Add your voice to the show and leave a message for us here; https://www.speakpipe.com/WhenLifeGivesYouParkinsons

    Follow us, Larry & Rebecca Gifford 

    Twitter: @ParkinsonsPod

    Facebook: Facebook.com/ParkinsonsPod

    Instagram: @parkinsonspod

    Follow Co-host and Producer Niki Reitmeyer

    Twitter: @Niki_Reitmayer

    Thank you to…

    Omotola Thomas www.parkinsonafrica.com

    Sally Bromley https://oxfordparkinsons.org.uk/

    Jayne Calder https://www.raise-a-million-for-gdnf.org/

    For more info on our presenting partner Parkinson Canada head to http://www.parkinson.ca/

    The toll free hotline 1-800-565-3000

    Or follow them on Twitter

    Parkinson Canada       @ParkinsonCanada

    Thanks also to our content and promotional partners

    Parkinson’s IQ + You– A free, series of Parkinson’s events from the Michael J. Fox Foundation

    Spotlight YOPD – The only Parkinson’s organization dedicated to raising awareness for Young Onset Parkinson’s disease and funds for the Cure Parkinson’s Trust. 

    PD Avengers - We want to help end Parkinson’s disease. Join us.

    World Parkinson Congress 2022 –Make plans to join us for #WPC2022 in Barcelona, Spain.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 48 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
223 Ratings

223 Ratings

Caseyshap ,

... Make Time to Listen

When Life Gives You Parkinson’s is an honest, funny and engaging podcast chronicling host Larry Gifford’s personal journey with Parkinson’s disease.

Gifford, his wife Rebecca and their son, Henry live in Vancouver, British Columbia. Gifford has worked as a radio reporter and manager for almost 30 years. On August 17, 2017, Gifford was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at the age of 45. A year later, on June 29, 2018, he started recording his podcast. Now in its second season, When Life Gives You Parkinson’s is a first-hand account of what it’s like to live with Parkinson’s disease for Gifford, his family, and other members of the Parkinson’s community.

Along with co-host/producer, Niki Reitmeyer, the episodes in Gifford’s second season are released every second Wednesday, with bonus episodes called “Extra Dosage” in between. He shares his journey with Parkinson’s through conversation with and audio clips of Reitmeyer, his family, medical professionals, experts, and other patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Gifford’s podcast works best when it is honest and personal. In the first episode of season two, “Still Me, But Not The Same”, Gifford shares the changes that he and his family have noticed in him in the past year. Gifford updates listeners on his symptoms, and his wife and son talk candidly about his changing behaviours. Rebecca gives examples of Gifford’s shortened fuse, and 10-year-old Henry tells his dad that his friends are afraid of him. It’s heartbreaking until Gifford asks, “How’s my walking?”, and Henry responds with an over-exaggerated, “Terrible!”

In “Extra Dosage: Fundraising is a Family Affair”, listeners have the opportunity to meet Gifford’s extended family in Pickerington, Ohio. His nephew, Anthony Kerman, 32, is an avid runner who organized a 5K walk/run called “Tremor Trot”. The race raised $8,000 for The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. Gifford’s family is supportive but worried. Gifford’s mother tells him that she thinks he’s doing too much and she’s worried that he’s never at home with his family.

Gifford’s show is educational too. In the “Extra Dosage” episodes, the podcast highlights a series of free events called “Parkinson’s IQ + You” from The Michael J. Fox Foundation. Gifford will be travelling around the United States to host these events in the coming months.

In “Extra Dosage: Dyskinesia”, the listener learns about dyskinesia. Dyskinesia is uncontrolled, involuntary movements that occur as a reaction to the long-term drug, levodopa. Fellow Parkinson’s patients Jim Smerdon and Becca Miller join Gifford to talk about their experiences with dyskinesia. It’s interesting and informative, but when it’s not relatable to the listener, it’s not as engaging.

The podcast doesn’t advertise products, but there are presenting partners. Parkinson Canada, Spotlight YOPD, and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research Parkinson’s IQ + You are organizations and events concerned with Parkinson’s disease, and a great match for the target audience. Judging by the reviews, a lot of Gifford’s listeners are people who have Parkinson’s disease and their loved ones.

Gifford and his family have opened up their lives to their listeners. Using humour to diffuse heavy content, Gifford keeps the tone of the podcast positive and light. When Life Gives You Parkinson’s is engaging and relatable, especially when it is about Gifford’s family. In the moments where the podcast becomes more educational, it can sometimes start to lose its audience. All in all, When Life Gives You Parkinson’s is an inspiring and honest podcast which invites the listener to share the experience of living with a family member who has Parkinson’s disease.

taro1504 ,

Amazing information

I was a caregiver of a common law partner who has Parkinson’s . We are no longer living together, as the disease took over and we had no choice but to move him into a care home.
I wish I had known of this podcast while I was living thru his and my journey with Parkinson’s
Very informative, can’t believe how much the story is very similar to my life.
Thank you very much for this podcast, I greatly appreciate it!!

Szn311 ,

Never too old to learn

Dear Larry and Rebecca: I am a long time listener to your podcasts and thoroughly enjoy them. At 80 years old, I am far from being a young onset Parkinson's patient but still the podcast gives me comfort and serves well to educate me.

Podcast participants shared incidents to which I could relate and confirmed for me that my symptoms are not simply old age but yes, Parkinson's .

Dave Clark hiding in the cupboard trying to put on his cufflinks before going on stage reminded me of the difficulty I have putting in my hearing aids.

Larry trying to put on his underwear. As I struggled with this myself I realized that putting two legs in the same opening is all part of Parkinson's!

I have noticed increased clumsiness lately and when Deana Grinnell and partner Jim shared their story highlighting Jim’s limited dexterity in the fingers and hands, his inability to turn over in bed, I had a couple more aha moments.

And every day is different, Larry says. “One day I can open the pickle jar and the next day I can’t.” For me, one day I can open my bottle of wine, my pack of gum, my frozen dinner, the next day I can't. I can't see. I can't coordinate! I just can't do it.

So thanks Larry and Rebecca. The podcasts are a great source of information for me, not overbearingly pedantic but warmly light and kind hearted. Please keep up the encouraging words.

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