Welcome to My Personal Page
Thank you for visiting my Parkinson’s Foundation Moving Day page. I was diagnosed with Young-Onset Parkinson’s Disease (YOPD) almost 11 years ago at the age of 31. YOPD is classified as anyone under the age of 50 with Parkinson’s Disease and represents just 4% of the one million people with Parkinson’s Disease in the US. Most individuals with YOPD have a family history of Parkinson’s (which I don’t have). In general, YOPD has a slower progression than for older patients and has a lower incidence of dementia. At the same time, YOPD presents a host of other issues, such as managing Parkinson’s while working and raising a family.
Personally, I have been fortunate that my Parkinson’s progression has been relatively slow. I’m 11 years into it without many noticeable symptoms or limitations. However, Parkinson’s is a constant part of my life. I take 20 doses of medicine a day, am usually only able to sleep 5 to 6 hours per night and have brief periods where my toes curl making it hard to walk. Compared with most other Parkinson’s patients, these issues are mild, but they’re a regular reminder of PD in my life.
Parkinson’s is commonly known for its physical symptoms (tremor, involuntary movements, etc). However, I think it’s important to highlight the emotional and psychological aspects of YOPD. I remember being in an extreme state of shock right after I was diagnosed, and in a challenging place for a few months after that. Over time (and with some counseling) I have overcome that initial state of shock and have a much better frame of mind. My philosophy is along the lines of “control what I can and accept that which I cannot”. This attitude has worked for me and helps me focus my efforts on helpful activities like exercise, stretching, and diligently taking my medication. There are lots of unknowns with this disease so for right now it’s easier to focus on “what is”, rather than “what might be”.
While PD is a constant part of my life, it has not limited my life. I was very lucky to meet my wife Lori Ann who is understanding and supportive of my challenges with YOPD. I am also able to actively participate in raising our 3 children: Griffin (8), Annika (6), and Corrine (4). They know I have Parkinson’s Disease, but not much beyond that. I am fortunate in that most of my symptoms aren’t noticeable which limits the amount of questions they have about the disease.
As I write this, I see many different facets of Parkinson’s where I have relied on the Parkinson’s Foundation for support. The PF site has resources spanning the whole range of issues for people with Parkinson’s no matter if they’re recently diagnosed or have had it for years. Therefore, I strongly encourage you to make a donation to our Moving Day team to support the efforts of the Parkinson’s Foundation and the resources it has for my family and others battling Parkinson’s Disease.