Celebrating Peter

Parkinson's Disease and Us

It’s almost eight years since Peter was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.  Because of his excellent neurologist and (I believe) his compulsive exercise regimen, he has done very well. Although he has had to give up biking and has some balance and other challenges, we’ve changed very little in our lives other than to make some adjustments that most older folks make.  (You can read a recent good opinion piece on Parkinson’s disease here. )

One evening last week, I picked up a book (Making the Connection between Brain and Behavior—Coping with Parkinson’s Disease) that has been sitting in our study.  The chapter titles describe behaviors associated with the disease, e.g. Depression, Anxiety, Apathy, Dementia, Hallucinations, Delusions, and Confusion.

Had I read that book upon Peter’s diagnosis, I would have lived in constant dread, watching for each of those symptoms.  Even without reading the book, we worried that we didn’t have more than a year or two of good time left together.  Had I been the patient reading the book, I might have wanted to give up on life altogether.

But Peter’s case hasn’t gone that way.  That’s not to say that there won’t be some tough times ahead, but we have had eight terrific post-diagnosis-years and are looking forward to more.

Good attitude, good doctor, hard work—for us it has paid off.



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What an encouraging story. Mario Martinez, author of the Bodycode, warns against doomsday diagnoses. Far better to find your own way, as you two have done. I agree, it would have been awful to have read that list of symptoms straight after diagnosis.

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