Julie Obreiter

Bedford, New Hampshire

I was diagnosed at age 44. I didn’t know it at the time, but my first symptom appeared as I was reaching up for a cup from the kitchen cabinet and my shoulder was so stiff. I thought I had exercised too hard the day before. Soon, other symptoms started like slowness of movement (bradykinesia) and not moving my right arm when walking. After six months of doctors’ appointments, I was diagnosed with YOPD in January 2018. As a YOPD-er, my initial experience with the Parkinson’s community reminded me of being a freshman on the first day of high school: overwhelmed, not sure where I fit in, and no one looked like me!

Part of my journey is understanding everyone has their own path to discovering what works to help them thrive, including me. The path is not a straight line but a lot of random lines that only makes sense to the person drawing them. It’s okay to feel that a support group, exercise regimen, or organization is not the right fit and to try something new.

Living well with Parkinson’s means focusing on what I can do instead of what I can’t. Every day I connect with at least two PWPs via text, phone, FaceTime, or instant messaging; this brings me the most joy!

I’ve always felt the strongest connection to DPF. I’ve watched a lot of the videos and webinars. I’ve reached a comfort level with my journey and want to help others with theirs. I’m most excited about meeting other Ambassadors and learning from them, as well as advocating and spreading awareness.

I still work full-time (remotely) and have a blended family of six (seven if you count the dog), so we are always busy. A perfect Sunday is hanging out on our boat in the summer during the day and firing up the grill for dinner in the evening on the back deck.

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