I thought I’d had a bad day today, but quickly changed my mind after reading about a part-time teacher, married mother of four kids who was only 37 years old when she received her diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease (PD).
I feel so inspired and am humbled with the many gifts I am able to enjoy in my own life—physical and mental health being two very important gifts! In case you aren’t familiar with Parkinson’s, you can read more about it here. It’s a progressive movement disorder disease that attacks the nervous system, causing a depletion of dopamine cells and ultimately, robs people of control of their bodies.
Symptoms of PD:
- Freezing episodes where movement feels impossible that typically impact arms and legs
- Tremors and shaking of limbs
- Rigid muscles that can affect any muscle group
- Balance issues
- Impaired automatic (unconscious) movements – ability to blink, swinging of arms when walking, smiling
- Changes in handwriting
- Changes in speech
- Sleep disturbance
- Cognition issues
- Loss of awareness in how Parkinson’s is affecting them
- Trauma to the head
- Abnormalities in genes
And yet, this young wife and mother is fighting back against this nasty disease. She has educated herself and it sounds like she’s become her own health advocate—at least while she still can. Bless. She has her eyes wide open. She knows that medications won’t cure the disease, nothing will. She struggles daily. But her love for her children—her desire to give them a happy childhood drives her forward.
This isn’t FAIR. She is young! She is the new face of Parkinson’s and she’s not going down lightly. She’s exercising, keeping up to date on trends and treatments; education is key. She’s probably doing everything she possibly can to take care of her body and mind. What I want to know is: How do you do that in the face of knowing your disease may progress at a different pace than others—faster or slower? Living with this uncertainty blows my mind.