Debbie

Member for

1 year

How did I, a 53 year old, active, athletic, healthy woman manage to accept a diagnosis like Parkinson’s disease? Well, the most obvious answer is I had no choice. But that didn’t mean I was okay with it!

At first, I grappled with who was I now? I had always prided myself on my physical condition and strong body. I was confused and lost. I wrote a lot of poetry trying to figure out who I was now. It took me one long year to figure it out. One quote resonated with me and people started to identify these words with my attitude. “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain.” 

DebbieA year after my diagnosis, I met a woman diagnosed the same month as me. She lived in Texas, 1,700 miles away from my south Jersey home. We talked endlessly through emails and phone calls. We quickly became best friends.

Over time I realized that since I met this new friend, Katrina, I was happier and more motivated. We had to meet in person! The Annual Parkinson’s Unity Walk in New York was coming up, so that seemed like a good time for us to meet. My husband arranged to fly Katrina to New Jersey so she could meet me and the many people I worked with who supported the walk.

It was a little scary to meet. Would we still feel this strong connection? Would our relationship lose its magic? Meeting face to face is a whole new way to connect with someone! The day finally arrived, but we had to wait until her flight arrived that afternoon. My husband and daughter drove me to the airport for this special meeting that felt more like a reunion! 

The magic was instant! This southern belle was my instant soul sister and still is! Finding a Parkinson’s partner has been a Godsend. It has lightened the journey a bit for me and might just lighten your load too! 

There are plenty of online groups that can give you the opportunity to connect with someone. Or perhaps there is a good support group in your area. Whatever works for you is the right road to take!  Just do not be afraid. We are all scared, but it’s less scary dancing in the rain with someone else at your side. 

Find a support group near you by contacting our Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO (473-4636) or helpline@parkinson.org or visit Parkinson.org/Search.

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