I have had Parkinson's disease (PD) for 10 years now. I am 35 years old with a family history of PD. I also have intense complex migraines and Psoriatic Arthritis (rheumatoid arthritis' cousin).
It took four long years to get a PD diagnosis. Being young presents its own unique challenges. I was just starting to get further in my career as a Veterinary Technician. I was considering Veterinary School to become a Veterinarian. I also had one child when symptoms started. My second child was a very challenging pregnancy. My doctors were not sure what to do. I was heavily monitored.
Ten years into this disease I have given up becoming a Veterinarian. My tremors and numerous other symptoms have made it difficult to maintain being a Veterinary Technician. I am on disability but still need to work part-time to make ends meet.
My off-times mean tremors in all four limbs, shuffled walking (very exhausting), slow movement, stuttered speech, memory problems, balance issues and so many symptoms. Currently I take 10 medications daily for PD and my other conditions. One symptom I find so odd is hallucinations. I started seeing animals that were not there.
I have always battled anxiety and depression. My life is a daily challenge. I wake up every morning wondering just how I am going to do it. I have to get up. I am a mother first and always. If I have to crawl to do it, I will, and I have. When my second child was a newborn, I was terrified of dropping her because of PD. Now I worry I will forget to make her food, thankfully she is really good at reminding me. I shuffle and shake while getting the kids ready. I huff and puff while getting myself ready. Some days I have to remind myself why I do this.
I push hard to go to work. I love my job, but my body limits me. Each year it gets worse. Each year I find ways to get through it and keep moving. I have fantastic doctors working hard to keep me moving for myself and my family. I have an amazing boyfriend that has been there with me from before diagnosis to now. I have great support from family and friends. I am a fighter no doubt about that. I seek many ways to keep my brain active and challenged and keep my body going.
There are days I can only celebrate that I get out of bed for a couple minutes. I have to keep fighting. I have to keep moving.
Monica is a supporter of Moving Day Phoenix and was honored at the event in 2018. She is already looking forward to the fall 2019 event.
Find your nearest Moving Day, A Walk for Parkinson’s, at MovingDayWalk.org.