It was after noticing a slight tremor in my left hand that I decided to go to the doctor. This doctor was a Neurologist and he diagnosed Parkinson’s disease in Oct. 1990. Until this, I enjoyed a clean bill of health. It was like going from 0 to 100 over night. Does that make sense? Nothing seemed to make sense at the time. Anyway, as I recall, my emotions were very mixed, from disbelief to outright fear. Until this, when I had a problem, I just looked for the answer and solved it. There was no solving this. I guess you could say I was kind of in denial about this whole deal. Being a realist though, my denial didn’t last long. Being a “glass full” kind of person helped me get out of denial and on track to try to discover what positives I could find to help fight this disease. I thought it would be better not to jump to any hasty judgments, like feeling hopeless or giving up on life. You might say, I’m an optimist. I have educated myself about this disease and joined a support group to continue to learn all I could about a subject that at that time, I knew little or nothing about. Joining the support group and becoming involved in Parkinson’s awareness in my community, was probably the best thing I ever did!
I have news that will help others in this horrific situation. Please take note, it will help. When I was diagnosed, I was very active and physically fit. Exercise was already an important part of my life, mainly playing sports, tennis, racquetball, basketball and jogging/walking six to seven times a week. Over the last 19 years, I have strived to continue to be, not just active, but almost active to a fault, so my wife says. Speaking of my wife, thank God for her. She basically works and is our biggest wage earner now. By doing what she does, I am free to do just about anything I need to do. For instance, I sing in a Choir once or twice a week which strengthens my voice and has made a huge difference in keeping my voice, which can be lost with PD. It allows me time to go to the gym weekly, play doubles Ping Pong 4 hours weekly, walk 2.5 miles daily and do Wii Fit which is an exercise video game that I highly recommend. My point is, my wife, by allowing me the freedom to do these things has yet to be a caregiver to me. I have remained independent, so far for 19 years and I believe exercise and involvement in my community have preserved my longevity.
Well, that is my story.
I sincerely hope you have heard the old saying, “if you don’t use it –you lose it”. Believe you me, it is right on target. Don’t give up, keep moving and keep stretching. God Bless!
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