I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2020, although I had symptoms for three years before that and was misdiagnosed twice. The first year of my diagnosis was hard: I felt depressed, alone, and confused about my future. It was months before I met someone else with PD; once I did, it was great to have someone to talk to who understood my experience. I met more people with PD through exercise classes and online support groups. There is a large and vibrant community of people with Parkinson’s, which is a positive thing about having Parkinson’s compared to other diseases: We are not alone as there is a wide network of support available.
I was the single parent of a 14-year-old at the time of my diagnosis, and one of my main concerns was her experience. She manages well, and it isn’t really an issue for her now.
I still work as a psychologist. Sharing my diagnosis at work is an ongoing process but has been nothing but positive, as everyone expresses their love and support. I love Rock Steady Boxing and found a Pedaling for Parkinson’s class. I exercise about 5-9 hours a week.
Living well with Parkinsons’s means living an active life full of connections to family, friends, and other people with Parkinson’s. It means focusing on the present and not worrying about the future. None of us know what the future will bring, but I do know what is happening today, and I know I can manage what’s happening in my body now.
I have started an online listserv for my local Parkinson’s community. Becoming a Davis Phinney Ambassador seemed like a natural way to me to expand connections and support for people with Parkinson’s, and to engage in advocacy as well.
I like spending time with my daughter and our two cats and one dog. I enjoy going on walks, binge-watching TV shows, and reading online. I’ve started learning beading with a friend with PD. I am planning to take a pottery class and some other art classes. I like to write.