When did my PD start?
Nobody knows. The first signs that there was definitely something wrong came about a year and one half prior to being diagnosed. That evidenced itself, in of all places, my handwriting. My penmanship, which was bad to begin with, got progressively smaller. This, I later learned is a common symptom for people with PD called micrographia.
What caused this?
Again nobody knows. Sure they can give the chemical answer that "Parkinson's disease is caused by the progressive impairment or deterioration of neurons (nerve cells) in an area of the brain known as the substantia nigra." http://www.webmd.com/parkinsons-disease/parkinsons-causes. Say that to me and I say that, "I thought that it was because I had an overextended Humperdink that rubbed against my Frumpsh." It has no meaning to me.
Is it hereditary? In rare cases. Not in mine. I know of no blood relatives who have had the disease.
My physical therapist, thinks that a car accident that I had when I was 25 may have been partially to blame. I'm not convinced.
When I look back now, I was always unusually stiff and clumsy. Is there a possibility that I've always had the disease? Nobody has convinced me otherwise.
Parkinson's strikes one side first. Mine was my right side. Since I am extremely dominant right handed, I'm not sure we would have diagnosed it yet had it been my left side.
What lies ahead, is retraining my brain. "My brain: it's my second favorite organ." (Woody Allen, Sleeper, 1973). I can still do most things, however my brain just doesn't know it. (Feel free to put in punchlines).
When my Doctor diagnosed me, all that I knew about the disease was that Michael J. Fox, Muhammad Ali and Janet Reno all suffered from it. I asked my Doctor, "What's the Prognosis?" I don't remember his exact answer, but I do remember thinking that it isn't fatal and the course is unknown.