Rick was diagnosed with PD in 2006. His first response was something familiar to many Parkinson’s patients. He had so many other ailments: knee-replacement, blood clot, drop foot, Paget’s disease (bone deterioration) and open-heart surgery.

“What’s next?” He was wondering by this point. Then he learned that he had Parkinson’s. Unbelieving, he went to another doctor. He even went to a Parkinson’s specialist, who confirmed the diagnosis. He wondered how he could be diagnosed with only a few hand movements and writing a couple of sentences, and not even by, at least, some scientific method such as a blood test.

So, he spent a year in the dumps, thinking “Why me?” Familiar?

With his attitude, he lost the fatherly relationship with his son, became hysterical with his wife, threw fits at the office, and cried openly, something he had never done.

How did he overcome all this negativity? Rick woke up one day and told himself to make the best of it. His positive attitude over time seemed to slow down the progression of PD. Coincidence? Well, he’s now exercising vigorously five days a week. He has altered his diet. “I eat a vegetarian breakfast and lunch, and at dinner I indulge in my favorites, like barbecued ribs…I just eat a little less of them.”

“Despite my propensity to be emotional these days, being in the company of others is worth it.” He is saddened when he sees people with PD withdrawing and isolating themselves because of their condition. “I want to yell out, ‘Don’t be embarrassed! Come out into the world!’”

Rick mentions some things that all Parkinson’s patients would feel better for doing: acceptance, exercise, social contact, healthy diet and getting into a support group. He started one up with the help of the Parkinson’s Foundation in his area. If you live in an area with no support group, you may want to initiate one. Locally, a support group meets at Sterling Inn, on the corner of Tamarisk and Ridgecrest. Second Thursday of every month, 10 a.m. to noon. Good speakers and activities. Nice folks, too.

Rick’s advice to people with Parkinson’s includes these key points, some of which may be familiar to regular readers:

Don’t hide in a shell. Go out and face the world. People will support you.

Keep your mind active. Establish a mental goal and reach it.

Exercise every day within your limits of capability. Sweat!

Appreciate the care and sacrifices that those around you are giving. Never take advantage of them.

Don’t give up. A cure is on the horizon right now, with many talented and driven people working on it

Continue to open your heart to those that care about you.

“These are the principles I’m trying to believe. It’s not always easy. There will be some trying times, but it is on YOU to take control of how you feel and act.”

Join the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF) for free online educational seminars designed for people living with Parkinson’s, care partners and health professionals. Expert Briefings is a series of live seminars online or by phone, (pre-registration recommended) or view the library of 50 recorded online seminars on the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF) website. These are usually about an hour long and are very informative. Not online? Contact PDF to order a free set of DVD’s. There’s a new series beginning in September. www.pdf.org/info@pdf.org. Or 800 457 6676.

To learn more about the new series coming, visit www.pdf.org/parkinsononline

Stay cool, and Keep Looking UP!

Contact Ann at 760-242-2923, or eannminer@yahoo.com with Parkinson’s in the subject line.