I was diagnosed with Parkinson's at 45 in 2018. A year prior, my spouse had been urging me to get the tremor in my right hand checked out as it started to become very apparent when doing everyday tasks. My first appointment was difficult as I sat alone and heard the possibility that I have this disease. Parkinson’s was the farthest thing from my mind at 45.
My second opinion connected me with Struthers Parkinson's Center, a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence, and Dr. Daniel Kuyper. I am grateful for this referral and the care I have received.
I chose then to share my diagnosis openly, and it has been helpful to me and my mental health. Through this, I have made many connections.
Since my diagnosis, I have gotten involved in a young onset Parkinson’s disease (YOPD) group and have supported others that are newly diagnosed. My spouse and daughter have been fantastic and supportive. They have said the one thing they can't do for me is exercise and make sure they support me every time I leave to exercise. Exercise has become very important and enjoyable. It has helped to find a variety of activities to keep me moving. I play roller derby 2 times a week, box once a week, yoga and go to a local gym 3 times a week.
Taking part in Moving Day has also been a rewarding event. My sister has been supportive in many ways with this event (and every day) so much, so she was on stage at the event in 2019 recognized for her fundraising efforts. Through these opportunities, I have found supportive communities that have lifted me!
Recently, I went to a workshop sponsored by Struthers, and I learned not to use the word "yet" with taking about my diagnosis because everyone's experience is different and my journey is unique.