Much to my surprise on April 21, 2004, at age 60, I was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease (PD). I say 'much to my surprise' because in the spring of 2002, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, obviously, a misdiagnosis.
Prior to taking any PD medication, I had a Involuntary shaking of the hands, arms, legs, jaw or tongue. The typical Parkinson’s tremor is “pill-rolling” – it looks like holding a pill between thumb and forefinger and continuously rolling it around. Some people report an internal tremor, a shaking sensation inside the chest, abdomen or limbs that cannot be seen. Most Parkinson’s tremor is “resting tremor,” which lessens during sleep and when the body part is actively in use. in my left leg and my left arm was not swinging naturally. My son, Trent, whose first question upon my diagnosis was “what can I do to help my Mom?” contacted the Pacific Parkinson's Research Centre and eventually I was referred to Dr. Stoessl and his great team.
Today at 72, I lead a regimented and very active lifestyle. I participate in a variety of activities; X-country skiing, snowshoeing, swimming, walking, golf, line dancing, dance steps, singing, writing, reading and board games. I recently organized a weekly Parkinson's exercise group. Our physiotherapist completed Dr. Becky Farley's “Parkinson Wellness Recovery” fitness course and instructs the group. At age 71, I also completed the same course and instruct the class when our physiotherapist is absent.
At age 72, I have been facing the challenges of Parkinson's disease for approximately 15 years. I try and remain positive. The future is unknown, and the present is what I do know. I am single and finding a person with Parkinson’s with similar interests and doing reasonably well has eluded me.
I do believe in The brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new connections. This allows the brain to compensate for injury and disease and to respond to new situations and changes in the environment. and the ability of the brain to repair itself. I’ve had bouts of Temporary, involuntary inability to take a step or initiate movement., Abnormal, involuntary body movements that can appear as jerking, fidgeting, twisting and turning movements; frequently caused by dopaminergic medications to treat Parkinson’s., and tremors, but these experiences are sporadic. I continue to have an excellent care team that supports me. I would like to branch out and have more friends who are living with Parkinson’s.
The two most significant members of my support team are my grandchildren, ages 9 and 7. Their love, support, knowledge, encouragement, caring, and sensitivity go far beyond what words can express. I am deeply grateful to have them in my journey.
Footnote: When I was officially diagnosed, I was asked if I was depressed. I was stunned by the question. I came home and wrote how I felt. The following is exactly how I recorded my thoughts: “It turned out to be a beautiful spring day. We sat by the lake. Nature seems at rest and so was I. There was so much beauty, peace and serenity surrounding me I wanted to be wrapped in its gentle cloak and surrender myself to everything that was so good in my life.”