Around 2014, Chris noticed slight changes in the way he moved. He was very slow getting into and out of his car, periodically shuffled his feet when he walked, and found he could no longer stand at a sink without leaning on it. Chris attributed these symptoms to aging and normal fatigue, and because they didn’t prevent him from going about his normal physical routine, he didn’t think too much of these slight changes. After a recommendation from his primary care doctor to see a neurologist, however, Chris was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at age 55.
Chris’ initial reaction was calm and introspective. In one way, he was relieved to know what was going on and immediately wanted to know more about Parkinson’s. Learning that currently there is no cure, Chris felt his future was predestined and limited. Even so, Chris did not feel anger, fear, resentment, or sadness. He focused on what he has done in his life and how that influences his perspective: he has been teaching dance in his community for more than 25 years and enjoys the physical feel-good aspect of dance and also understands and appreciates how dance benefits you mentally as well.
As Chris faces the challenges of Parkinson’s, he keeps his focus on experiences and values. Through inspiring meetings with Parkinson’s support organizations and networks in his area, Chris has created a whole new perspective on Parkinson’s for himself. He finds that living well with Parkinson’s is maintaining optimism during challenging times (when the symptoms are high) and taking the opportunity to be your authentic self and share your hopes and dreams with people who have similar experiences. The Parkinson’s community inspires Chris, and he finds the support and encouragement infectious. Looking forward to sharing what has sustained him through his journey, Chris is excited to meet a vast array of people from all over to work through the challenges of Parkinson’s.