Theresa Snoeyenbos, 50, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease when she was 32 years old, but it was over a decade before she got the real help she needed.
For years, Theresa’s treatment primarily consisted of a fistful of medictions she swallowed each day. “I ended up getting really sick, suffering from depression and being hospitalized for 12 days,” she said. Eventually, the Wisconsin mother-of-three and her husband were forced to sell their family-run motel. She took a desk job, but her symptoms interfered with work so she resigned. “I felt pretty worthless,” she said.
After job loss, divorce and a move, “lock, stock and barrel,” to her parent’s home in suburban minneapolis, the nightmare finally ended. Theresa got an appointment with a top neurologist at Struthers Parkinson’s Center, an NPF Center of Excellence. “Dr. martha Nance took me off of every med I was on and had me start completely over again. I went from 12 meds to three,” she said. “And her wonderful staff treated the whole person. They taught me all kinds of things to help myself, and it’s made a big difference.”
Since her diagnosis 18 years ago, Theresa earned a black belt in Taekwondo. more recently, she reached another turning point. "I had A surgical treatment for Parkinson's disease. A special wire (lead) is inserted into a specific area of the brain responsible for movement. The lead is connected to a pacemaker-like device implanted in the chest region. This device creates electrical pulses, sent through the lead, which “stimulate” the brain and control abnormal brain cell activity. surgery in may," she said. "It's given me such hope."