When a person shows up in a doctor’s office with symptoms that may be related to Parkinson’s disease (PD), the diagnosis may not be obvious since symptoms often differ from person to person or could be indicative of other conditions. It’s not uncommon for people go from doctor to doctor over months or even years before they get a correct diagnosis. A visit to a movement disorders neurologist may result in a faster PD diagnosis, but unless PD is suspected, that may not be the first medical specialist on someone’s list.
For some, a Parkinson’s diagnosis comes as a relief; an explanation for previously unexplained symptoms. Others may be stunned, struggling with what the future may look like. As you begin processing your emotions, which can be wide-ranging, it’s important to know you are not alone. In this episode, Gretchen Rosswurm describes her experience with getting a PD diagnosis and how she dealt with it. One way was to take advantage of many of the resources of the Parkinson’s Foundation. Gretchen is now the Chair of the People with Parkinson’s Council of the Foundation. Certainly not everyone accepts or approaches a new PD diagnosis in the same way. So Anna Hedges relates some of the questions she has fielded from newly diagnosed callers as a Parkinson’s Foundation Helpline Information Specialist for the past ten years.
About This Episode
Released: October 6, 2020
Gretchen Rosswurm, M.S, Chair
Term Ends: 2021
Gretchen Rosswurm was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2017 at the age of 52. Her commitment to the Parkinson’s community springs from a deep history of PD in her family while at the same time believing that what seems an impossible challenge creates opportunities for connection, healing and hope. Professionally, Gretchen’s work experience centers around corporate philanthropy. She also blogs and writes short fiction. She lives with her family in Dallas. Gretchen was selected to join the Parkinson’s Foundation People with Parkinson’s Council in 2018 and was elected as Chair in 2020 after serving as vice chair.
Anna Hedges, MSW
Anna Hedges, MSW is a Parkinson's information specialist with the Parkinson's Foundation Helpline. She has a Master of Social work from Washington University in St. Louis and has been working on the Parkinson's Helpline for over 10 years. She enjoys interacting with patients and families and witnessing their amazing resiliency.
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