Paula Fowler

Member for

1 year 7 months

I am 72-years old, and I have Parkinson’s disease (PD). I was diagnosed in July, 2018.

My journey with the disease started unknowingly to me. Early on, I broke down in the doctor’s office one day due to the lack of sleep. She immediately put me on a sleep aid to take as needed.

Weeks later, I ended up in the ER with high blood pressure and was put on blood pressure medication.

Paula-FowlerThen, in the winter of 2018, my husband and I were working on a puzzle and I noticed the thumb on my left hand was twitching. We both laughed about it as I tried to make it stop but couldn’t. That continued off and on without any concerns from me until I had my annual physical with my Primary Care Doctor. I casually mentioned it to her and she set me up with an appointment to see a Neurologist. Hence my diagnosis.

Shockingly, I was not upset or scared when I got the news. My husband and I both agreed that there are many more diseases that are much worse. We could deal with this.

The Neurologist told me I was in a very early stage and prescribed medication which I take four times a day. He gave me many pamphlets to read to better understand the disease and I also rely on the Foundation’s site for information. In particular, it helps me to read about others and their stories.

Today I experience a left hand and arm tremor, stiffness and pain in my left hand. Occasionally, I experience balance issues, too.

I am determined to remain active! I still do my daily household and outside chores and try to not dwell on the disease. I attend a Silver Sneakers class three days a week which really helps my strength. We use weights, resistance bands and cardio. I made sure my instructor knew my health history and she is very helpful with giving me other exercises to help with balance. I also attend a line dancing class twice a week. This is also great for balance and the brain and it is so much fun! Now that the weather is nicer, I can get out and walk more, too. I am thankful to have a group of friends that enjoy playing cards and I also discovered that I enjoy coloring with colored pencils. I crochet and enjoy gardening as well.

I am not ashamed of my disease and will share my story to anyone that wants to listen. All of my friends and family know that I have Parkinson’s and I educate them as much as I can.

Bottom line, my life has really not changed much yet and I intend to keep pushing myself to remain strong both physically and mentally so I am better able to deal with the disease as it progresses.

If you have questions about Parkinson's disease symptoms, call our free Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO (473-4636) from Monday to Friday, 9:00 AM ET to 8:00 PM ET.

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