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Mary Craig

It's been five years and I'm NOT in a wheelchair — far from it! Five years ago, after I saw a neurologist, I was told I had Parkinson's disease (PD) and that I'd be in a wheelchair within five years. I still remember the shock I felt from her cruel words. She didn’t run a single test. I knew nothing of Parkinson's disease. No one in my family had it. I left her office in shock and tears and totally not accepting her dire prediction. I went for a second opinion and saw another neurologist, a movement specialist. Her recommendation was for us to wait and see how the disease progressed, no mention of a wheelchair. I left determined to not let PD take control of my life.

Unsure where to go next I happened to see an ad in the newspaper for Sentara Parkinson’s Disease Program and made an appointment. To say this group and its impact on my life has been a God-send is an understatement! To quote my first journal entry, “Before I knew what was happening, a team — speech therapist, physical therapist and intern — seemed to appear in a puff to tell me how WE were going to work hard to delay its progression, that I wouldn't be using a walker tomorrow.” To this day, I still love the way the term “we” is used by my PD team. We’ve hit the last five years hard!

My PD team includes Dr. Thomas (neurologist), Trish (my physical therapist, counselor and friend), Wendy (my exercise therapist), Celeste (my speech therapist) and Marx and Nina (my trainers). Since I’ve had an entire team help me manage my PD I have: run a 5K, professionally photographed more than 50 weddings, which led me to be recognized three times in “The Knot” website for my wedding photography, walked the Rock-n-Roll "Mile in the Sand," Run with the Hounds, jump roped to 50 and rode a Segway in the mountains. I’ve also trained using kettlebells, yoga and strength training. My new bicycle just arrived and I can’t wait to ride. I also just started Rock Steady boxing and can’t for my next class! YEEHAW!

My biggest cheerleader is my husband Bill who constantly encourages me and continues to be the wind beneath my wings.

For a list of Parkinson’s centers and programs in your area, search our Resource Map.

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