What has your journey been like since diagnosis?
The beginning was lonely. I didn’t want others to know of my diagnosis, and I didn’t know what would become of me. As a professional dancer, movement was my world; it defined my identity, my income, my place. Who would I become and what would I do now?
Initially I stopped taking daily dance class, I stopped performing and I searched for answers.
Still wanting to both hide and combat my disability, I turned to my dance training to help me understand what was happening to my body. I began to develop techniques to thwart Parkinson’s hold on me. I found ways to compensate for my limp, my stiffness, my unresponsive arms.
Then, when I was ready to come out with my diagnosis, I began to teach others.
I have now been teaching my approach to movement for over 10 years in a class called PD Movement Lab. I also write about Parkinson’s issues like festinating gait and posture online at pdmovementlab.com. Sharing my knowledge through teaching and writing has been more rewarding than I would have ever suspected. Like the Hindu proverb says, ”help your brother’s boat across and yours will reach the shore.”
How do you live well each day?
I don’t live well each day; however, I do my best to not dwell on my own problems. I work to help others and I tell myself that Parkinson’s is not the worst disease I could have. It’s not life-threatening and best of all, I can still be with my family and people I love.
What do you wish you would have known when you were diagnosed that you know now about living with Parkinson’s?
I wish I had known that you can live a good life with Parkinson’s – a life of many years and deep friendships. It would have saved me a lot of time spent dwelling on uncertainty.
PAMELA QUINN’S PHILOSOPHY
What do you wish everyone living with Parkinson’s knew about living well?
I wish everyone knew that they can have a tremendous impact on the course of this disease. I wish that people were given a thorough physical evaluation upon diagnosis AND taught the various ways of managing their bodies. I wish that the industry found ways to encourage and uplift people rather than focus on the fact that Parkinson’s is a neurological progressive disease with no cure.
Pamela Quinn danced professionally for 20 years and has had Parkinson’s disease for even longer. Her personal experience of living with Parkinson’s combined with her keen knowledge of the body, allows her to analyze movement problems and help people with Parkinson’s live a more mobile life. Places her work has been featured include three World Parkinson Congresses, ACRM, numerous universities including Brown, Rutgers, Tufts, NYU and Columbia, and news outlets such as CBS and the New York Daily News.
Pamela teaches PD Movement Lab regularly for people with Parkinson’s at the Mark Morris Center in Brooklyn and for NYU’s Parkinson’s program at the JCC in Manhattan You can learn more about her work on her website, pdmovementlab.com.
SHARE YOUR VICTORY
Each month, we spotlight someone from our Parkinson’s community who embodies living well today – what we call Moments of Victory®
Your story, like Pamela’s, could be featured on our blog and Facebook page so others can learn from your experiences and victories.