Sarah was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2018 at age 51, after experiencing a tremor in her right hand and bothersome rigidity in her right leg. Sarah clearly remembers noticing that the fingers on her right hand wouldn’t cooperate while trying to take piano lessons at age 44. Her historically excellent handwriting was also taking a turn. Sarah began a handwriting program, thinking she was using a keyboard too much and needed to exercise her hand. Every day for three months, she filled a notebook page with “A quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” Finally, dropping out of intense spin classes after being considered a “regular” for years due to adductor rigidity, Sarah knew she needed to talk to a doctor. The diagnosis came as a no-brainer for the doctor and in “true Sarah fashion,” she wasn’t convinced until she had a second and third physician opinion.
Quickly after hearing the same diagnosis, Sarah enrolled in a clinical trial, connected with young people in her community living with Parkinson’s, joined a Rock Steady Boxing class, and ramped up her exercise regimen. Surrounding herself with a wide variety of activities, interests, and people, and pushing herself beyond what she might otherwise be more comfortable doing, has certainly kept Sarah healthier and likely slowed the progression of her symptoms.
Living well with Parkinson’s to Sarah means continuing to live an extremely full life of being a hands-on, full-time single mom, while managing her home, working full-time, spending lots of time with friends, hiking, riding her Peloton, attending boxing, yoga and Pilates classes, decorating, doing yard work, and cooking—to name a few. Sarah is most excited to help others advocate for themselves and push forward into a rich and rewarding life living with Parkinson’s.