Life was filled with life! Professionally, I worked in the field of education. I belong to the Grand Rapids Dominican Sisters whose mission was primarily education. As a member, I enjoyed many opportunities teaching, as an administrator, and as a listening and challenging role with adults. I am grateful that Sisters and Associates are with us today and for the financial support of the community.
Parkinson’s was a foreign word. I never thought about this condition, let alone that I might someday be diagnosed. My knowledge came from seeing Michael J. Fox and reading a few articles about him.
One day I was reading an article from the Parade magazine, part of the Sunday newspaper. As I remember, he indicated that he was experiencing some strange symptoms. Like many of us, he did not act on these symptoms. Instead, he waited a year.
As I reflected on my own health, I realized I too was displaying some similar signs. I had tremors, I felt unsteady when walking, my handwriting was so small that even though I had written the words, even I could not make out the message. The wonderful aromas from the kitchen, the taste of those dishes – I was no longer able to enjoy them.
Of course, I denied the signs. As I reread the article, I asked myself do I want to wait a year or do I want to check it out now. It was 2012. I decided to make an appointment with my primary physician. Normally, it takes a few weeks or more to get an appointment. I was able to make that appointment in just 2 days. A referral to MSU neurology within a few weeks confirmed that I had a mild case of Parkinson’s. With that, I began medication.
I heard about a meeting for those who were newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s sponsored by Michigan Parkinson Foundation. After that introduction, I began attending the monthly meeting of Lansing Area Parkinson’s Support Group, a group whose mission is to offer support, education, and other resources and more to people with Parkinson’s and their loved ones.
After a few meetings, I agreed to greet people at the support group meetings. I began and learned that included attending the steering committee meeting. I must have asked too many questions because I was then asked to chair the steering committee.
I continue to serve as chair. I would recommend that others – both persons with Parkinson’s or/and their caregivers – consider joining the Lansing Area Parkinson’s Support Group in this worthwhile mission. Together we can make a difference.
On behalf of Persons with Parkinson’s and their caregivers a heartfelt thank you.