Michael Fahning

Chaska, Minnesota

In 2001, I was diagnosed with Young Onset Parkinson’s at age 37. As a working professional with three young boys and a wife who also worked full time, I couldn’t afford to be sick. Taking my prescription and moving on, I didn’t talk about my Parkinson’s.

Pushing through my progressing symptoms, I attempted to work until 2011, when my health deteriorated tremendously and managing my numerous medications became overwhelming. Following a two-day evaluation, my neurologist put me on a new medication regimen and advised me to take disability.

While attending my first Parkinson’s support group meeting in November 2011, I met someone who had gone through a similar experience. He inspired me to make a change and file for disability. Without the stress of maintaining my job on top of my symptoms, I was able to focus on exercising and managing stress. After a few months, my medication amount was reduced by two-thirds, and my sleep improved.

Today, I engage with many Parkinson’s groups and have found that staying involved is critical to my personal health. Living well means helping others, and I’m passionate about the opportunity to help others recognize the positivity of living well today.

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