What has your journey been like since diagnosis?
Since being diagnosed in July 2017, I first went through shock, denial and anger. Then I met Pat Evans, herself a person with Parkinson, and she introduced me to different programs and services offered in my area. Soon I was boxing, attending specialized training classes and participating in regional support groups. My life changed when I met David Burnett, a Bowen therapist residing in Ajijic Mexico. David introduced me to the Parkinson Playbook, a book written by Rob Smith recalling his approach to keeping Parkinson’s at bay, through the use of a “Parkinson Protocol”, developed by David and Gayla Burnett.
This was a huge source of inspiration for me and made me realize that I wasn’t retiring, I was just changing careers. From now on I would dedicate my life to keeping Parkinson’s at bay.
I started putting together different exercise regimens and discovered that exercise isn’t just about strength and endurance. It’s also about stimulating different parts of my brain and helping the production and release of much-needed dopamine.
This journey has been life-changing. Not being afraid to ask people for help and implementing different suggestions have changed my life. Connection to and openness with others have made all the difference.
I look at the following mantra every day: ” When you feel like quitting, think about why you started.”
How do you live well each day?
I live well each day by implementing a routine that encompasses physical fitness, brain stimulation and clean nutrition. Throughout the week, I attend a variety of classes (physio, yoga, boxing) and carry out other physical activities like walking, hiking, cycling and playing pickle ball. I really need to emphasize how important the social component of theses activities is. The people I do these activities with have quickly become my family. We are there for each other, we push each other and we support and motivation.
I also love to stimulate different parts of my brain. I play board games against the computer, and I’m learning Spanish. Recently, I went climbing. I am always on the lookout for new ways to keep challenging my brain.
I am fortunate to have people help me during my journey. Now people talk about how much of an inspiration I am to them. I live well each day by taking my medication, exercising, challenging my mind and body and benefiting from the interactions I have with my fellow people with Parkinson’s.
What do you wish you would have known when you were diagnosed that you know now about living with Parkinson’s?
I wish I would have known that through exercise, proper nutrition, appropriate mindset you can most certainly live well with Parkinson’s.
I wish I would have had access to different resource materials available to people with Parkinson’s. When faced with a life-altering diagnosis, we have a tendency to want to keep the bad news to ourselves. In reality, sharing feelings and experiences with your peers becomes an essential part of your journey to living well with Parkinson’s
I wish someone could have told me that living each day with Parkinson’s is doable and that improvements can be noticed quite rapidly once you make the decision to fight this disease.
LOUIS MCCANN’S PHILOSOPHY
What do you wish everyone living with Parkinson’s knew about living well?
I wish that everyone living with Parkinson’s knew about the different resources that are readily accessible. I wish that all people with Parkinson’s and their partners and care partners knew about the value of support groups and the importance of reaching out to them. Parkinson’s is not a death sentence. It doesn’t define you. I wish everyone knew how important it is to make fighting this disease their priority.
SHARE YOUR VICTORY
Each month, we spotlight people from our Parkinson’s community who embody living well today – what we call Moments of Victory®
Your story, like Louis’s, could be featured on our blog and Facebook page so others can learn from your experiences and victories.