The day - or even more precisely - the moment a person is diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a locked in, long-term memory. On “Faces of Parkinson’s”, I often ask my guests who have been diagnosed what that moment is like. Terrified, stunned and, believe it or not, relieved are the top three answers I get.
Terrified and stunned make the most logical sense. Most people who aren’t directly impacted by PD don’t have a lot of information about it. They often know it viscerally from what they’ve heard and seen about Muhammad Ali and Michael J. Fox. They may know about the shaking and rigidity and, worst of all, the lack of a cure.
But let me hop back to that surprise answer for a moment: “relief”. How in the world could one feel relieved by being diagnosed with this (at present) incurable disease? The relief, it turns out, comes in clarity and a path forward. Not knowing what you’re dealing with opens you up to the possibility that you have the worst case scenario inside of you. And as many brave people with PD have told me, “There’s worse things to have than PD.”
The path forward with PD is also positive, for those who choose to walk it. And make no doubt about it, it’s a daily commitment to do what’s needed to live your best with PD. Medications are improving. Science is progressing. But no one will exercise, eat well or socialize for you - all of which have tremendously positive, measurable and scientifically proven benefits.
So if you’re reading this and you or a loved one hasn’t yet come to terms with a PD diagnosis, I invite you to do so today. The board members of PPLV are all active and connected with the goal of raising each other up. Some of us have PD, others are caregivers, some are medical providers. We’re all here to work together, with you, to connect, engage and refresh us all.
We are better together.
— written by Robert Cochrane