My PD Story

Margrethe Hansen in pier by boat
People with PD

Margrethe Hansen

I am Margrethe. Age 74, diagnosed in 2004.

When I was diagnosed, it did not come as a shocking surprise. Working in a pharmacy for 32 years I knew something about Parkinson's disease (PD) and the first signs: difficulties when typing or writing, no swing with one of the arms. But the neurologist wanted me to take a scan "just in case."

That evening I saw a show about a women with a brain tumor on TV. and suddenly I understood why the doctor ordered the scan. My entire world broke down, but a week later I was relieved when my diagnosis was "just Parkinson’s."

I decided to fight back and find out everything about Parkinson’s. While not everything that I read was promising, soon I learned I needed to sort all the information. I told everyone that I had Parkinson’s and that was the cause of my strange walking. At once I became a member of the Danish Parkinson Association, and soon I was a member of the board. I also took part in the local handicap organization fighting for the rights of people with disabilities in the municipality and for accessibility for all.

At the age of 60 I stopped working. Something I had planned long before. I had given up the hikes abroad and saw and wandered nearby where I live. I could not walk so fast, so I began to photograph what I saw around me. I tried to focus on what I was able to do instead of what I could not do anymore. I hosted an exhibition of my photos at the local library twice.

In my working life, I instructed students — something I liked very much — so I began to help refugees learn the Danish language and helped them with their homework. The Corona Virus temporarily stopped that. I also work in secondhand shop for the Dan church Aid.

Trying to help other people is self-help. It’s a good feeling to be able to help others. Little by little, after 18 years with Mr. Parkinson by my side, I'm retiring from volunteering too. I have not given up the fight, but my abilities have diminished. It's not nice to now be the one who must accept help and not the one who gives help, but it is something I am learning to accept.

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