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I was diagnosed with PD in 2015, a month shy of my 58th birthday. My main symptoms were stiffness, rigidity, and slowness of movement. I chose to continue working and tackled my new diagnosis with exercise and supplements. Six months later, I was in my car at a red light. When the light turned green it took what seemed like an eternity for my foot to press down on the accelerator. That day, I told Mark I was ready to start the PD meds.
In October 2015, I met a Care Advisor at the Neuro Challenge Foundation for PD. She shared info about the many FREE resources they offered. I left our meeting feeling hopeful! Mark and I immediately began attending support groups, dance classes, seminars, boxing workouts and Pedaling for Parkinson’s classes.
In 2016, I retired. For my sake and the sake of my family, it was time to do everything I could to keep my quality of life at the highest level for as long as possible. Fast forward to today, ”Team Murphy,” as I refer to our family, is 9 years into our PD Journey. We have learned that just taking the prescription medications is not enough to live a productive life with Parkinson’s.
I believe “It takes a village to navigate life with Parkinson’s”. Our Village includes: family, our PD friends, daily exercise, supplements, acupuncture treatments, massages & quiet time. Also a Spiritual connection is essential. Before I get out of bed, I thank God for the gift of another day, for the gift of my family & friends & for the GIFT of PD. Then I look in the mirror and say: PD…I’m going to kick your ASS today!
From the beginning of our PD journey, Mark and I recognized that the best way to deal with this diagnosis was with courage & a positive outlook. The last thing we wanted was for our kids to think that because life threw me a curve ball, I was going to strike out. On the days I feel sad, challenged, frustrated or angry. I remind myself: I have PD. PD doesn’t have me. PD doesn’t define me. Then I remind myself of my blessings!
Edna Culp from San Diego, CA is an Advance Practice Nurse/Clinical Nurse Specialist with focus in adult Gerontology, currently affiliated with University of California San Diego Health. Edna was married to Mark who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in 2000 when they had been married for 10 years. They lived with this uninvited guest in their home for more than 20 years.
This has become a life of service and there is passion, joy and reward in sharing with others what was experienced and learned down this difficult road.
I have been a teacher all my professional life and as a past president of the Parkinson’s Association in San Diego I received lots of phone calls from newly diagnosed patients and was able to talk them through the shock of the new diagnosis and show them all of the resources that are available to them at our association.