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Sharon

"Mrs. Skindell, you have Parkinson's disease," my neurologist said. That was in April of 2013. That simple statement turned my world upside down.

It started when my students noticed my left hand shaking quite a bit and asked me if I was nervous about something. My primary physician referred me to a neurologist, who diagnosed me with Parkinson's disease (PD). My husband and I looked at each other, not quite understanding what that meant. After some online research, we came to understand some of what PD is and is not, at least what is currently known about it. First I was stunned, then angered.

Now I just take one day at a time, counting each and every blessing that comes my way. God's amazing grace has brought me to this place in my life. I know that He has planned something good to come out of PD for me and I trust in Him to lead me.

Since that day in 2013, my symptoms have increased. I experience tremors in both sides of my body, loss of smell and I walk a little slower. Exercise makes me feel better. My husband and I take tai chi, which has improved my balance, and we participate in the Rock Steady Boxing program new to El Paso, Texas. I also exercise through water aerobics.

I do not concern myself with anticipating worsening symptoms that may or may not be ahead because I focus on the here and now and look for the joy in today.

I am a born-again Christian from Texas, married to a wonderful man and I am the mother of two amazing sons. I was a Spanish teacher for 31 years, 30 of those years at J. M. Hanks High School in El Paso. Stress aggravates my PD symptoms, so I retired the same year I was diagnosed.

My big question was, "What am I going to do with all that time on my hands?" The answer: doodles. I doodle on just about anything. At first it was just for fun, but now it has become a firestorm of creativity that needs feeding. When I was younger I painted with oils, but I have discovered that doodling can be done anywhere on just about anything.

My artwork gives me joy and keeps my mind distracted on those days I am in pain. I posted a few pieces of my art online hoping that it would give someone else joy. One thing led to another and now I doodle for a cure. I have just started selling note cards, soup mugs and plates decorated with my artwork, but I continue to look for new doodling mediums. The proceeds from my artwork go to Parkinson’s charities.

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