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!