Parkinson's Disease

3 lessons Parkinson’s taught me about life

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Patience, Self-love and Strength.
Patience, Self-love and Strength. If somebody would have told me a couple years ago, before I got diagnosed, that I would go through a process of a disease in which I would learn to love myself – and I mean really love myself – I wouldn’t have believed it. In fact, I would have laughed at them. I married my husband when I was 26, traveled the world, had 2 kids and a good corporate job as an accountant in a law firm. A 32 year old confident woman whose life was stable.

A Parkinson’s disease and dose of reality later, I started to have impairments with basic physical abilities in my mobility. Not being able to control my body really messed with my head. Never before had I experienced a feeling of uncontrollable movement of my body. It was worse knowing that I would lose more and more control over it soon. I can’t lie, anxiety and insecurity creeped up fast and as a consequence I lost my belief of who I thought I was. I love my family and friends, but this is something that happened to me and only me. Nobody would understand – and I can’t blame them – what it felt like to get every perfect thing in your life ripped out of your hands. All this, because I have a genetic disease called “Parkinson’s”? I don’t know how genetics work exactly, but THAT is not what happens to me. To me?. Nope, definitely not. Because I get to marry the love of my life and I get to move into my dream house and I get to get my dream job, right? I knew it wasn’t the end of the world, but it did feel like it was the end of my world.

It is so weird to put myself back into that position. I don’t even feel like that person was me.

Today, 5 years later, I am now the mother of 4 beautiful children, I am still married to the love of my life and I still live in my dream house – and that’s the thing.

I never knew my dream house was my dream house. I never knew how blessed I was getting many things handed to me like that. I’ve always seen it as a given. It took me a while to get over it, but my diagnosis really did put things into perspective for me. I feel like I have opened my eyes now and I don’t wander around the world without spending a single thought about the things in my life that are not . I am not saying everything is perfect and I am definitely not saying that it is easy. But everything not being perfect has taught me to see the things that are.

Life is about more than my tremors. I am so lucky to be able to see my kids get ready for school everyday, spend time with them, hear them laughing. That is perfection. Tremors or no tremors. It doesn’t change anything.

In the past 5 years I have learned more than ever. I learned to accept myself and stop the people-pleasing behavior I was always putting up with. Through all of this I know now, I have the strength to overcome anything. Because perspective matters. Because living in the moment matters. Because being able to look into the eyes of the person you love most on this planet and being grateful for them matters. Tremors or no Tremors. I don’t know how bad my symptoms will get but one thing I do know
I am going to be okay.

It won’t be easy, but whatever may happen, I am going to be okay. I know now how much power lies in mental strength and I will hold on and never let go of that.

This is how other patients with Parkinson’s describe their first symptoms

I felt so much tension in my chest. My voice started trembling and my pronunciation started to shake. I couldn’t stop. The harder I tried, the worse it would get. Sometimes, I feel trapped and powerless in my own body. – Aaron P., 38

I would slow down at certain times of the day. My arms turned numb and the muscle pain after activities was getting really intense. It started so subtly and went downhill from there. This affected so many parts of my life that I quickly started to understand I need to get serious about treating my symptoms. – Paul K., 45

In the beginning I didn’t really notice my sleep disturbances. However, I started to get a little concerned after my Fatigue got worse. Fatigue was terrible at that point. I would have to lay down a couple hours of the day just to get my energy back. After my diagnosis I went through a period of denial; but not just me – my family too. I guess we didn’t really understand the disease. It’s weird to say it outloud and it sounds so naive but I knew I had it, and I thought I was handling it because I was not going to give it a lot of thought and attention, of course.

About a year after I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s I suffered from a very severe form of depression and anxiety. I had no clue that Anxiety is such a huge part of Parkinson’s. Anxiety issues are an ongoing battle that so many work very hard against every day. I was so unaware of many symptoms. – Lisa M.,, 28

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