Hug distribution officer, band-aid administrator, quarrel solver (mom)
Hometown: I grew up in Naperville, Illinois and moved to
Upland, California in 6th grade
What do you like to do in your free time? I like to nap. I
wish I could say that I like to read or scrapbook or work out... but honestly
I like to nap.
Do have a family?
I am child number four of eight. I have 1 sister and 6 brothers. I am married and have four children ages 11, 9, 8 and 6.
were you diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease? I was officially diagnosed at 32.
What were the first signs that something was wrong? I was at
work trying to engrave a baseball glove for a customer and my hand began
to shake. I thought maybe I had pinched a nerve or maybe I was hungry or my
blood sugar was low (Food solves a myriad of problems) I was able to shake it
off but it kept reoccurring. My PCP said I had essential tremor.
I asked to go to a neurologist at UCLA who told me I had a Parkinson-like
tremor with no other symptoms of PD. I was pregnant at the time so the doctor
told me to come back after I finished nursing the baby for another evaluation.
My insurance changed in the meantime so I went to another neurologist about a
year later at Loma Linda and he diagnosed me with PD. I was able to get a PET
scan at UCLA in July of 1999 and it confirmed that I had been diagnosed
Where were you diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease? Loma
Linda Medical Center by Doctor Swoop.
Before you were diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease, did you
know anybody that had it? I was familiar with MohamedAli and it was right
around then that Michael J. Fox announced that he had it. A friend from church
who was only a few years older than myself had recently been diagnosed.
What types of medications are you taking? I am on Requip,
Amantdine, Lexapro and Provigil
Do you have plenty of access to medicines you need? We are
blessed to have good insurance and haven't had any problems getting meds.
Has your life changed since you were diagnosed with
Parkinson's Disease? If so how? I
had to retire from my retail job of 20 years because it was too difficult to
multitask and I was beginning to move much slower. I have a difficult time
getting everything done (ie. Laundry, housework in general, helping with
homework, etc.) On the positive side, I believe that God will use any
circumstance we find ourselves in to mature us and refine us. God has taught me
about being empathetic toward those with disabilities. This has helped
me deal with my 8-year-old son who has cerebral palsy and my 6 year old who is autistic.
God has taught me to look for the good in life.........to not hold on to bitterness.....to
appreciate others.......to try to make a difference..........to pray more.....to
accept help from others......and to laugh a lot.
What are the biggest challenges you face now that you have
been diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease? The biggest challenges have been not
being able to be the mother that I would like to be. I always thought that I
would be the room mother to all my children and be involved in Little League and
still be able to have the ultra organized and beautiful home. I realize that is
a near impossible dream for even a healthy mom. However, when you
fall asleep reading to your children or find yourself snapping at them in
frustration because you are just too tired to deal with their problems it tends
to get me down. I think that the disease has caused me to become more
introverted and definitely more distracted so I am not able to complete tasks or
What would you like the general public to know about
Parkinson's Disease? It is not just a disease for the
elderly. Please remember that a person with PD is a person....a sister, a mom, a
wife, a friend, a coworker, etc. We are more than just a wiggle.
We like to laugh and
to talk and to hang out. Sometimes we can be misunderstood especially if the
disease has robbed us of our facial expression or our voice. Just remind us to
talk louder instead of nodding knowingly and quickly walking away like we have
the plague. Give us a little time because we are slower. It's okay to ask us
questions about the disease or about how we cope or if we need assistance. It is
okay to laugh at our jokes about being the next bobble head spokesmodel or
getting a job at the lemonade shake-up stand. It's okay to feel
awkward because we do too....let's just talk it out and grow together. Let's do
what we can to work toward a cure.
What advice do you have for other people who have just been
diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease? Live your life!! Don't let it be the
end of you! Learn what you can about the disease but don't project it upon
yourself. Look for the blessings in your life and learn from the yucky stuff.
Choose to be happy and content rather than negative and bitter and a whoa is me
type person. Be transparent about the disease.....let people know what you are dealing with rather than trying to do it all on your
own....Super Parky Person is not reality. Laugh a lot. Surround yourself with people who love
you and with people who can relate to you.....ie. a support group or a church
group, etc. Hey, maybe Super Parky
Person would be a great Saturday morning
cartoon......Strange wiggly visitor from a slower planet.....shuffling their way
to fight for truth, justice and freedom from constipation.
What words of wisdom of encouragement do you have for the
researchers who are working on a cure?
There are a lot of people who are placing their hope in your work. I am
thankful for your efforts and I pray for the success of your research. I will do
what I can to help you find a cure or treatment for PD. I am committed to help.