What has your journey been like since diagnosis?
I was diagnosed in 2017, but surprisingly, I wasn’t freaked out by the diagnosis. I’m older than many of my fellow people with Parkinson’s, but I exercise regularly and modify my program as symptoms increase. My family appreciates sarcasm and irony, so we find ourselves laughing a lot despite my diagnosis. I’m not a complainer, but I think it’s important to be honest about how I’m doing and how my Parkinson’s is changing.
How do you live well each day?
Exercise and attitude. I especially enjoy swimming and water aerobics. I struggle with sugar because not having a good sense of smell has left me with an unfortunate craving for sweet food. I recognize that this is a challenge that I know I’ll give in to occasionally, but I also know to be patient with myself. I also really enjoy painting as a way to express myself.
What do you wish you would have known when you were diagnosed that you know now about living with Parkinson’s?
There’s a lot of misinformation about Parkinson’s out there, and it’s sometimes difficult to tell fact from fiction. However, the Davis Phinney Foundation and the Michael J. Fox Foundation have great, accurate and sensible information; so, and that’s where I go when I have questions.
MK CHANDLER’S PHILOSOPHY
What do you wish everyone living with Parkinson’s knew about living well?
It’s really important to build a community. I belong to STRONGHER, a site for women with Parkinson’s where women of every stripe can go for humor, compassion and comfort. I have really benefitted from this group, and I believe that everyone with Parkinson’s needs to have a strong support system in place.
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