I was diagnosed nearly 16 years ago, and although I have had some physical decline, I maintain a generally optimistic outlook for the future. Early on, I made the decision to take the initiative to find out how to live my best life moving forward with this disease. As an athlete, I was happy to discover that exercise was key to slowing the progression of the disease. I also learned early in this journey that everyone’s experience with this disease is different, and that I shouldn’t “borrow trouble,” by assuming that symptoms other PD patients experienced would ultimately be my fate as well.
I have had not one, but two DBS surgeries, so I can speak of that experience first hand. Also, as a facilitator of the PD SELF program (a fantastic program that teaches self efficacy tools to newly diagnosed people with PD and their care partners) in Detroit for 5 years, I feel that my experience with that program would be helpful to those folks who are overwhelmed by a new diagnosis.
Although I have had to hang up my hockey skates, I can still golf reasonably well, and still enjoy a vigorous bike ride. My nature photography hobby which used to include walking great distances, lugging heavy cameras with huge lenses, has transitioned to short walks carrying a single lightweight camera and a built in zoom lens.
I am blessed to have my incredible wife Rose as my care partner, and tremendous support from my friends and family. I don’t know for sure what the future holds (but then again who does?), but my faith allows me to face that future peacefully.