It has been a hot minute since my diagnosis, several hot minutes. Hot minutes to feel all of the feels, but also hot minutes to learn a thing or two that I thought worthy to pass along.

  1. Get a team to help you, but always remember that you are the coach. The first neurologist I saw was terrible, actually taking a call in the examination room during my second visit. It’s okay to question and even “fire” a medical professional, in spite of their education and credentials. Fortunately I live about thirty minutes from the UAMS Movement Disorders Clinic. My doctor and nurse practitioner have received additional training in order to better serve me and my fellow sufferers. The staff are kind, patient, and very encouraging.

2. Move! Exercise, no matter what form, is paramount in combatting the progression. For me, running, biking using the Peleton app, and strength training has improved my agility, increased my muscle mass, and, more importantly each day, has “calmed the tremors. I’m more confident in my gait, and haven’t fallen in quite some time. Of course, exercise is always mentally and emotionally beneficial. According to the wisdom of Elle Woods, ” Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t!”

3. When researching, go to reputable websites. There is hope, and I’ve found it on the Michael J Fox Foundation and the Davis Phinney Foundation. These websites provide valuable information on living with Parkinson’s, give updates on the newest scientific findings, and also provide connections to others walking this journey.

4. Seek out support. I belong to a wonderful Facebook group, Life With Parkinsons. We share our stories, our struggles, and also our victories. I actually look forward to going on Facebook these days because I have cheerleaders all over the world doing really cool stuff, carrying me through my day.

5. Keep Living!!! Plan that trip! Run that race! Hold that grandbaby! Get that dog! When I called Anita, my aunt who has suffered with Parkinson’s for more than twenty years, she told me, “This is not a death sentence. You can still live your life, and you should live your life.” I took that jewel of wisdom to heart. Since my diagnosis I got a new job, started volunteering with the homeless, became a eucharistic minister in my church, traveled around Lake Michigan, taught myself to draw, ran a half marathon, and helped Kurt throw about 350 bags of rock in our yard. I refuse to give in, and, with an ample supply of Grace and Strength, that won’t even be an option.


5 thoughts on “Lessons

  1. So proud of your my cousin and friend. Thank you for sharing your story of inspiration and determination. Looking forward to seeing what ALL GOD has in store for you. With much love.

    Liked by 1 person

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