In 2000 I retired as a middle school administrator so that I could be a full-time grandmother. Then life threw me a curve ball, and I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in January 2007. I had noticed a tremor in one finger for several months but attributed it to nerves. When the doctor said “Parkinson’s Disease,” I was shocked. I knew very little about PD but was certain that I didn’t have it or want it. Upon moving to Oregon in 2009, I discovered a wealth of resources to help me meet the challenges. I feel that I am extremely fortunate to live where there are so many resources.
Everyone has challenges…..mine are related to PD. Exercise is vitally important to keeping the body moving. I participate in a wonderful tai chi class which is designed for people with PD. I also work with an exceptional pilates instructor. My husband and I do Zumba and walk, walk, walk. I also think that a positive attitude and sense of humor are important. I choose to concentrate on all the things I can still do and not on the things I cannot do. I get very frustrated because I am slower at everything and there is so much to do. When you live with a progressive disease, you realize the importance of making the most of each day.
I don’t think that people know a lot about PD so I try to educate people every chance I get. I am happy to talk about the disease and the challenges of living with it. I participate in fundraisers for Parkinson’s and make sure my friends and family have a chance to join the fight also.
I am so grateful for the support of my wonderful family and friends. I like to think that I have Parkinson’s; it does not have me.
This photo was taken at the home of Kathie’s daughter, playing foosball with her grandsons.