My PD Story

People with PD

Chris Runge

I am 63 years old now, but I was diagnosed with tremor-dominant Parkinson’s disease (PD) four years ago. After much encouragement from my children, I decided to visit a neurologist to get answers.

I underwent a 30-minute diagnosis session with my local neurologist. At the appointment, he said, “You have Parkinson’s. You have 10 years to live, and it will not be good.” Then he walked out of the office.

I sat there in shock, not knowing which way to go.

A dear friend connected me to Dr. Joseph Jancovic from Baylor College of Medicine, a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence. Dr. Jancovic is a specialist in Parkinson’s and movement disorders. After a thorough exam, he affirmed the PD diagnosis but decided to completely change to my medications. Within two days after this appointment my symptoms diminished, and my sense of self returned.

I have retired from work and filed for disability because Parkinson’s has affected my mental capacity, especially when it comes to dealing with stress. Despite this, I am determined to not allow Parkinson’s disease to define who I am.

I do everything I can to exercise and stay active. In the last four years I’ve hiked to tops of mountains in Colorado, taken up long range rifle marksmanship at 1,000 yards or more and continued with my love of Argentine tango. I have also put 1,000 miles in my bicycle in the last three months, and I do not plan on stopping.

I found out about the Parkinson’s Foundation while searching Facebook for Parkinson’s-related groups. I have started looking through the resources on their website for support as I continue to navigate this disease.

My best advice is to live life day by day — and sometimes minute by minute. You never can tell what will happen next.

Find a good a PD care team. Know that there will be good days in there, too, and make the most of them.

Here’s to a cure!

You are not alone. Find expert Parkinson’s care in your area.

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