Anniversaries abound!

When last we met, we were preparing for a visit from my daughter Holly, Paul and grandchildren Charlie and Kayla.  We had a great visit, spending most of our time on the lake where Charlie enjoys riding the tube and Kayla is an expert fisher person and the DJ for the ‘partyboat’.  Holly and Paul tried out the new paddle boards and we squeezed in a trip to Knoxville for a nice dinner.

Now for the anniversaries. Last week, Mara and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary with a visit to a wonderful B & B in the Smoky Mountains and a great dinner at the Foothills Milling Co.   After a busy month we enjoyed the R & R time which included a nice but strenuous hike to Spruce Flats Falls.  The trail was steep and rocky but the beautiful falls made it all worthwhile. As we walked the trail, we remarked that I probably could not have made this trip last year and what a difference the change in medication has  made in my symptoms.

We finished up the week by taking the boat out to watch the sunset and the ‘blue’ moon rise.  This 180 degree panoramic photo doesn’t do justice to the beautiful sunset but it was a great way to celebrate my birthday!

July 24th was the two year anniversary of my official Parkinson’s Disease diagnosis and August 6th marked two years of writing this blog. During the year I changed to a Movement Disorder Specialist at Vanderbilt Medical Clinic and I am happy to report that his changing my medication has made a remarkable difference in my symptoms and provided me with improved gait, balance and arm movement.  As noted above, I am walking at a normal pace and was able to hike the Smokie’s, something I could not have done last year.  I realize that PD is a progressive neurological degenerative disease and I haven’t been ‘cured’ but I sure feel much better than last year and I am not going to worry about when things will change but will continue to enjoy the ride while I can!

Also this past year we attended several conferences including Rallying to the Challenge in Grand Rapids, Partner’s in Parkinson’s in Atlanta where we were members of a panel discussion and again in  Ft Lauderdale to learn about being Fox Trial Finder Ambassadors, and the Southern Symposium in Spartanburg, SC which included the Davis Phinney Foundation Victory Summit. Again we have added many new friends to our global support group as we attended  these meetings and conferences.

This year we have become  MJFF Trial Finder ambassadors to help promote clinical trial participation, and we are participating in trials ourselves. We are working on a new website that will provide a list of PD resources in Tennessee that we hope to promote to PD patients, care persons and the  medical community.  We continue to promote the need for patient participation in the clinical trial process and will attend the second Rallying to the Challenge meeting in Grand Rapids, MI this fall.

I hope you will stick with me for another year as I travel this road of living with Parkinson’s Disease.  I will continue to write about PD research, how my PD is affecting me and I still plan to add a page about exercise programs for PD.  I will continue to advocate signing up for Fox Trial Finder and the Fox Insight programs on the blog and in person.   As I said last year, I am aware of what the future “might” bring but I will continue to fight to delay the disease and maintain a positive attitude because I believe we will beat Parkinson’s!  Thanks for your support, positive thoughts, and encouraging words.

“It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.” – Confucius
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