Ten years ago, my life changed forever when I found out that I have Parkinson’s disease (PD). Thoughts started swirling through my head like, “how will this impact my husband and my two beautiful children, the youngest starting middle school?”
After getting confirmation about my Parkinson’s diagnosis from two other movement disorders specialists, I realized two things:
- I could not eliminate my Parkinson’s since there was no cure for it.
- What I could control was my attitude towards it to live the best life possible!
Instead of wallowing in negativity, I vowed to find the best available therapies to help slow down the progression of my disease. Within days of my diagnosis, I started physical therapy, followed by acupuncture, Tai Chi, yoga, stationary cycling and targeted nutrition. Most importantly, I made a pact with myself to enjoy every moment of my life!
While these efforts helped, I realized that nutrition, exercise and a positive mindset were not enough to manage my weird motor-symptoms such as drop foot, joint stiffness, slow movement and freezing!
A year into my journey, I started taking Carbidopa/Levodopa. Like any other prescription drug, this medication came with some negative side effects. However, with perseverance on my part and the collaboration of my neurologist who ordered a few dose adjustments, those side effects are mostly under control.
Shortly after I found the right individualized dose of medication, I regained strength, which allowed me to go back to playing tennis, cycling longer distances, boxing, dancing, playing piano, hiking, traveling, working part-time, cooking, driving, shopping and much more!
Over the last decade, I have realized that my experience with Parkinson’s has put me in a unique position to do something positive and profound. I owe to Parkinson’s:
- The special connections that I have made with other Parkinsonians who understand and accept me better than anyone.
- A deeper empathy for the 1,600 families with special needs that I have served over the past 20 years as a special needs nutritionist.
- An unwavering commitment to preserving my health since now I realize that to live a quality life, I have to care for myself first.
- My attitude of gratitude for all that I still CAN do.
- My lifelong purpose to educate and inspire others to learn the most effective dietary and lifestyle strategies for management of Parkinson’s symptoms and enjoyment of life.
Connect with others living with Parkinson’s who share your interests and challenges by joining PDConversations.org.