Although I am a 72-year-old retired physician, Gastroenterologist, and knew quite a bit about Parkinson’s disease, having cared for a lot of patients from the GI standpoint and from my training, the diagnosis hit me and my wife, Leslie, quite hard.
I was diagnosed two and a half years ago. I couldn’t believe it! Over the three prior years before diagnosis, I had noticed that I could not hold a pen properly and even my physician-type handwriting had become much worse than normal. I started having some cognitive, perception issues and significant trouble swallowing. After a proper work up, it turned out to be a neuromuscular oropharyngeal cause, and turned out to be from the Parkinson’s. I later developed some tremor, mostly left-sided.
With excellent neurological care and medications, I am doing reasonably well despite the onset of balance issues. I have remained as positive and optimistic as possible, after an initial period of denial. I have a fantastic wife of 49 years (my rock), two great sons, two wonderful daughters-in-law and five incredible grandchildren.
I want to be around and able to enjoy my family for as long as possible. Therefore, I am pushing very hard with recommended therapy in a Rocksteady Boxing Program, therapy at home weekly with a PD therapist who has a master’s degree in Parkinson’s disease and pool rehabilitation, all for balance and strengthening.
Since the diagnosis, I have read more, become more involved with an online Parkinson’s community and recently was able to raise more than $2,200 for the Parkinson’s Foundation on a Facebook Birthday Fundraiser. I feel very strongly about the Parkinson’s Foundation and want to help in any way possible to improve treatment and hopefully find a cure someday soon for people with Parkinson’s! Many of medications that are helping me now are new within the past five years!!
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