…I received my Parkinson’s Disease diagnoses, a prescription and a 90 day followup appointment. Yep, that was it, no handbook, brochure or even a ‘what to expect’ message. A lot has happened since that day five years ago and most, if not all, has been chronicled on this blog which will also be five years old in a couple of weeks.
Starting that day, Mara and I began researching PD, reading all of the information available from the Micheal J Fox Foundation and the National Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (now merged with the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation) among many others (see the resources tab for the complete list). We have traveled the country attending research meetings and PwP meetings including the 2016 World Parkinson’s Congress and even a week for PwP’s and care partners at the Kripalu Yoga Retreat. We have met and become friends with many other PwP, adding them to our support team and providing support to them as necessary.
We created a website listing resources for PD in Tennessee after finding many PwP’s had the same experience as I did, a diagnoses and a prescription and follow up appointment. We discovered exercise was the best prescription to slow the progress of PD and I am probably in the best physical shape I’ve been in for years. We are participants in clinical trials and served as ambassadors for the Fox Trial Finder Program.
Two years ago we began the Sarasota experiment after finding a strong and supportive PD community here. After two years of renting here, we have purchased a home and are now Florida residents. Being here allows us to easily get to exercise programs designed for PwP’s AND play tennis, a new sport that I took up just 18 months ago and now play 2 – 3 times a week. We enjoy tennis so much we often take our racquets and a can of balls when we travel, never know when the opportunity to play might present itself.
So today, as I start year 6, I may have PD but I’m not sitting still or waiting for the next symptom to appear. With the support and love of my wife and care partner Mara, we continue to explore new opportunities to exercise, to support PD research and to continue to fight to slow the progression. With the support of family and friends, we explore new opportunities to expand our horizons here in Sarasota and wherever we travel.
I have read many blog posts that echo today’s message – Never Give Up! Maybe the cure isn’t here yet, but in five years I have seen several new drugs approved and there are several more almost ready for prime time. In the mean time we can delay the progression by exercising and, if possible, having a Movement Disorder Specialist as our PD doctor. They are on top of the latest research and can provide access to the latest treatments.
And now on to the next five years …