Several years prior to her diagnosis, Lorraine visited her family physician about a sinus infection and joked that she was writing a short story titled, “When My Fingers Began to Dance.” He observed her left hand and said it was most likely essential tremor, but to let him know if anything else unusual began to occur. Additional symptoms brought her back a few years later, and she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s early in 2017. Lorraine can still recall every detail of exiting the neurologist’s office and walking to the elevator while sharing the news with her husband of 40 years. They moved into bright sunlight as they left the building, yet she recalls feeling dark inside, numb, guilty, and afraid.
As an educator and self-described life-long learner, Lorraine knew she performed best when teaching so off she went to educate herself about this intruder in her life story. Studying helped her leave the pity party pretty quickly, and she hatched a plan to reach out to other people with Parkinson’s in the community. By mid-2017, Lorraine assembled a multi-disciplinary team of colleagues at the university where she was teaching, and her personal and professional journeys joined forces as they began an exercise study with a fresh look at resistance training with instability and cadence walking. She connected with others in the community through a support group and shared local, regional, and national resources with participants in the exercise study. Lorraine founded the Parkinson’s segment of a nonprofit at a local fitness center to help people with Parkinson’s find an encouraging exercise outlet. Lorraine says the support from family, friends, and others with Parkinson’s is critical to living well each day. Maintaining a positive outlook may not be easy, but it is a worthwhile effort that lends support to others, making life that much better.
Read Lorraine’s Moments of Victory® submission here.