David Rathgeber

Fallbrook, California

I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in March of 2019. My first symptoms were a tremor in my dominant hand and my wife noticing that when I walked, I was not swinging my arms. I went to the VA who assigned me a neurologist—who was also a movement disorder specialist—and she made my diagnosis.

One of the first things I did was get a Parkinson’s buddy—a person who had been a stranger but with whom I now share a very close friendship. That encouraged me to start attending my local Parkinson’s support group. Knowing that we are not alone in this journey and that there are others who are also struggling but who will work with us, support us, and just be there for us with understanding is an especially useful tool.

Living well with Parkinson’s means simply living and continuing to contribute. My neurologist who told me people don’t die from Parkinson’s they die with Parkinson’s. What that means to me is that by working hard, taking care of myself, and doing the things I should do, I can still maintain a rather good quality of life while living with this disease.

My introduction to the ambassador program was when a Davis Phinney Foundation Ambassador was the guest speaker at my local Parkinson’s support group meeting. I was impressed by her knowledge, enthusiasm for helping others, her understanding of what we were going through, and what our needs really are.

I love to exercise. I still compete in kettlebell competitions. to music, and to read. I spend a lot of time with my friends, and my wife and I really enjoyed going out to restaurants and enjoying a delicious meal with a nice glass of wine.

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