I learned of my Parkinson’s disease about 11 years ago.
Like many other sufferers, I resisted hearing that I had an incurable degenerative brain disease.
Just 56 at the time, I didn’t know how it might affect my life.
My first challenge was to find the right medication combination to control my symptoms — a process that took more than two years.
I needed something more, though, because I was always tired and had trouble getting through the day doing typical things.
So I got involved with the Columbus-area chapter of the National Parkinson Foundation, which offers free exercise classes.
Before long, I could appreciate what the foundation has to say about daily exercise and Parkinson’s: Even though the disease has no cure, daily exercise has been found to help slow the progression.
Experience has shown me how true that is.
Even though I cannot do all that I did every day before the diagnosis, my life remains relatively normal. More important, I remain highly independent.
I know that one day I will need more help with daily activities, but the longer I can delay that day, the more fulfilling I know my life will continue to be.
Through the foundation, I have had the opportunity to meet many Parkinson’s patients and caregivers in the area. I’ve been greatly surprised to learn how many people, in choosing not to exercise, are ignoring the research and the patient testimonials.
The notion upsets me because, even though we patients (an estimated 3,500 central Ohioans have Parkinson’s) cannot stop or reverse the disease, we have the power to control it. And, with so many other things in life not within our control, I can’t imagine letting a few hours of exercise stand in the way of future mobility and decent health.
Why not start taking control today?
You’ll begin to feel better faster than you think — and might again be able to do what you were doing before your diagnosis.
All you need to do is get moving.
Jerry Yarov, 66, lives in Columbus.