In March of 2016 I was diagnosed with the early stages of Parkinson's disease (PD). I actually noticed new symptoms for a long while, but it was not until I went in to see a doctor for a checkup when I asked about these symptoms that were beginning to get noticed by my coworkers, and a few family and friends. My doctor ordered some tests. After blood work, MRI’s and ultrasounds I was sent to a neurologist, who came to the diagnosis of Parkinson's disease.
At first, I really went off the deep end. The only thing I could think of was Michael J. Fox and Muhammad Ali… and all I could do was picture myself in their shape. But, my doctors explained that technology, treatments and medicine for PD is totally different these days. They have treatments that can almost greatly improve symptoms, compared to the times of yesteryear. Though clinical studies and a cure still have a long way to go. It is what it is, so I decided to deal with it as a part of my life.
Dealing with life altering illnesses is not exactly foreign to my family. In the 1990's, my wife Tammy was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Both Tammy and I were divorced, with three children each. We both have two daughters and one son — a total six children for those keeping count. Tammy was already diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when we began dating, though I did not exactly know what that entailed. Over time and with many trips to the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio for treatments, I quickly learned.
Honestly, many times I wondered if I was going to be able to handle her illness for the rest of our lives, especially later in the late stages. But, we committed ourselves to each other and moved forward with our lives. Ten years quickly went by and I was diagnosed with Parkinson's.
Now, two years later, call it fate, coincidence, cruel joke from our universe or perhaps the Divine plan of a higher power, but this I know, when we say "I understand" to each other, we really do! Concerning our treatments, medications, pains, aches, twitches, numbness and even concerning the same neurologist that we both see.
Just know, even with both of us living with illnesses, we’re busy, happy and lead content "productive" lives. Life goes on. Tammy has her degree in education and theater. She is currently going to graduate school at Oxford Graduate School in Tennessee, where we now live. I have my BA in social work and theology. I worked for the State with Child Protective Services, Criminal Child Division and Foster Care.
As a hobby, I raise, train, hunt and competition field trial beagles. I am active in the American Kennel Club, National Kennel Club ARHA and the United Kennel Club, all of which host Beagle Field Trials and Bench Shows. I also write and have had more than 200 articles published in various hunting and sporting magazines. I am also a licensed judge within the various shows in the field and show groups, along with being a Master of Hounds.
Life is about good decisions. Every choice or decision we make is like a brick, and with every brick a path is laid that we walk on our future. It's a funny thing about decisions, you never have to talk yourself into the right ones.