October 28, 2014 | by Susan Speicher | [Editors note: Susan Speicher, resident of Atherton, CA is a Parkinson’s Women Support member, and she is also a member of the PWS team who will walk at Moving Day Silicon Valley on April 25. She is a top-notch pole walker too!] DB
My first indication that something was” wrong” was an involuntary toe tapping of my right foot in the winter of 2010. Strange, I thought, am I pressing on a nerve? If I moved my foot the tapping stopped…..but came back a few minutes later. No big deal I hoped.
By April my hand was tremoring and by June it was my whole right side. It was time (or past time) to see my internal medicine doctor. He referred me to a neurologist who couldn’t quite decide what was going on and suggested I return in three months.
Two months later I was visiting a friend with Parkinson’s and he said he wanted to try something. He asked me to shut my eyes and keep them shut. He left the room and returned with something that he put under my nose. “What do you smell?” he asked. I told him it was a strong smell but I couldn’t identify it. “Open your eyes” he directed. It was a newly opened can of coffee. We looked at each other and both knew. I have Parkinson’s. A trip to Stanford’s Movement Disorder Clinic confirmed our diagnosis.
What has living with Parkinson’s been like? It has been frustrating yet exhilarating. I have had great days and not so great days. I have met more doctors than I’d care to but also more people thriving despite Parkinson’s than I could have imagined. I have the comfort of a community of strong women in the Parkinson’s Women’s Support Group.
But most importantly, I’m still just me…..me with Parkinson’s. Just me going about my life with minor alterations like medicine and specific exercises meant to keep me strong and moving.
The biggest change since my diagnosis is not a symptom but rather a profound appreciation for each day. I don’t know what is ahead. It is different for each person with PD. I do know that today the sun is shining, the leaves are falling and the Giants are playing and I’m going to enjoy it.
Register for Moving Day: http://www.movingdaysiliconvalley.org
About Parkinson’s Women Support The mission of Parkinson’s Women Support is to offer moral support, encouragement and camaraderie for women who are Parkinson’s Disease patients. Check out our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/parkinsonswomen