It began with a tremor in my left hand — my only symptom at the time. In summer 2008, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD). I was in shock the minute my neurologist confirmed my worst fear.
I went on a really low dose of Amantadine and Mirapex and life became pretty good again. My husband and I, along with our two grown children, had grown to accept the fact that I had PD. At this stage, over the next few years I was active and able to do all my daily chores at home and cook for the family.
Unfortunately, in the fall of 2012, I was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer in the right breast. The oncologist said that I had to undergo chemotherapy so he could shrink the tumor, because it was so large. After that, to be sure that cancer was completely eradicated, I would have to undergo surgery to remove the lump, followed by radiation treatment. Even in hard times, God has a way of giving hope and lifting your spirits. In my case, the prognosis for the cancer was very good and to top it off, the lymph nodes were negative. I couldn’t have asked for more.
As I was undergoing radiation and coming up on my last session, my friends and family mentioned that I was leaning to one side too much and was also falling down more than normal. When we went to see Dr. Bowman (for my PD), he immediately put me on Carbidopa-Levodopa. There was no question in his mind that my Parkinson’s had progressed. He also dispelled that my PD was not worsening because of my bout with cancer, which people had led us believe. So bad news again.
Humans have so much resilience in them that it absolutely amazes me. All of us somehow accept the things we cannot change and some have the wisdom and will to change the things we can. At this point, my neurologist told me that deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery was my only option. When I met the surgeon I was nervous because I was feeling a little weak from all my body had been through and I wasn’t sure I could withstand the surgery. But the surgeon assured me that I would do fine. And I did. The DBS was successful.
A couple of months later I had fully recovery. Friends and family complimented me saying that I looked much better and healthier. They also said I was sharp and staying on top of things. In my most recent checkup with my neurologist, he agreed, saying I looked much better than I did at my last visit.
My goal is to maintain this level of activity and improvement, while staying positive! I am so thankful for all of my family and friends that have supported me and want to show them that I can fight!
I signed up for the National Parkinson Foundation (NPF) Moving Day® NC Triangle to beat this disease and to help others like me. The money raised from Moving Day® will have a positive impact and help NPF further PD research —from studying new treatments to new exercise regimens. Join or support my Moving Day® NC Triangle team, “Nalini the Bionic Woman,” today!