The Parkinson’s diagnosis: constant companion & frenemy

global news


In August 2017, my wife celebrated her birthday, my son got a new backpack for school, we bought a new barbecue for the backyard and I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

We knew something was wrong. I walked with a clomping right foot, I was unfocused, I was losing balance and coordination, I had lost my sense of smell and recently my right arm was beginning to tremor. I honestly didn’t realize the symptoms were a collection. I saw them as separate and created individual excuses for each. I’d say to myself, “You’re overweight, Larry” or “Boy, getting old sucks.” The neurologist wasn’t fooled.

These were all Parkinsonisms and I had Parkinson’s. I was 45 years old, happily married, dad of a young boy, living in a new country, and working full time. And now, I had the Michael J. Fox disease.

How did I get a degenerative brain disease? Why me? What do you do when Life Gives You Parkinson’s? I’m not sure, but that’s what we’re going to find out.

In my podcast When Life Gives You Parkinson’s. I’m 46, and I’m navigating life with a degenerative brain disease, which has no cure.

On this week’s episode, my co-host Niki Reitmayer, and I explore my diagnosis, the symptoms, the drugs, and the emotions. I take you into my home to find out how my wife Rebecca and 9-year old son Henry are dealing with it, get inspiration and perspective from Nashville singer-songwriter Emily Chambers whose Dad has Parkinson’s and refreshing frankness from my appearance on the Sickboy Podcast. A Parkinson’s diagnosis is tough in many aspects; it’s clinically difficult for neurologists, it is personally difficult for friends and family, and it’s physically, emotionally and mentally taxing on the person with it – is it a frenemy for life?

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