Sylvie Parent

Collingwood, Ontario, Canada

I am 62 years old and was diagnosed with Parkinson’s approximately nine years ago. I remember having sore shoulders for quite a while. I was working out every day, so I assumed that my shoulder and neck pains were normal. I started to lose weight and was fatigued a lot. I associated these symptoms to grieving the death of my husband in 2011.

It was after friends noticed that my speech was slurred and was slow in movement, that I started to pay closer attention to my body. When I spoke to my family doctor she immediately said, “It could be Parkinson’s.” I was a young widow with a nine-year-old son and no support. I was really scared. I saw several neurologists and had many tests before I was diagnosed in 2015. I kept working and continued my workouts. I started to read everything about Parkinson’s. The more I read, the scarier it felt. I did not talk about my health to anyone except with my family and close friends; I was ashamed to share it with the world. I started to go to a YOPD group and started to open up. I really don’t remember when I accepted it. I just know that I have Parkinson’s, but Parkinson’s does not have me.

Living well with Parkinson’s means loving myself and showing the world that life is not over after your diagnosis. It means you must keep fighting to help find the cause and a cure.

I was involved in a Parkinson’s group and find that we talked a lot about pills and treatments. I wanted to know more about Parkinson’s and the community out there and how I can be part of a bigger community, so I became involved with the Davis Phinney Foundation. I am excited to meet others and share information that can help this community.

A perfect day for me is walking my dogs and jumping on my Peloton bike and completing a few classes. I enjoy talking to my two children who are very supportive.

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