"Remember you are the same person you were before you were diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease!"
Name: William Gibson
Home: Santiago, Chile
Parkinson's Status: Patient
Major Symptoms: Tremor, balance and slowness
William Gibson and Todd Borgie, Chile 2004
"Live your life the way you did before you were diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease." "Don't fear it, you are still the same person you were before the diagnosis!" says 59-year-old William Gibson, D.D.S., who is married and is the father of one. He grew up in Conception, Chile, and after studying dentistry he moved to Santiago, where he practiced his craft for 30 years. He practiced dentistry until he was forced to give it up five years ago due to the progressive degenerative effects of Parkinson's, a disease he has been battling for 15 years.
His first hint that something was wrong was when he began experiencing problems with sleeping and balance. When these problems didn't go away, he went to a doctor. Soon after, he was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. Gibson has not let his illness break his stride, although he says his speed isn't what it used to be. The biggest challenge he has experienced is that everything seems to have slowed down.
"Things take much longer than they used to", says Gibson.
He is making every moment count. Three years ago, he began volunteering at "the clinic", the Liga Chilena contra mal de Parkinson (www.parkinson.cl), and now he has been elected to a directorship role.
The League provides patients with affordable medicine, counseling, and physical therapy twice a week, and now, thanks to Mr. Gibson, they also provide dentistry service to more than 20 patients. Because Parkinson's patients are on a lot of medication, medication that they will have to take the rest of their lives, even a trip to the dental chair can be complicated. Dentists need to be familiar with the different types of medication patients are taking in order to provide them with the best possible care. That is why Gibson donated his dental equipment to the clinic. Now they have specialized dentistry care for the local Parkinson's community, and it is as if Gibson's dentistry practice is continuing.
Before he was diagnosed, he did not have any friends or family members suffering with Parkinson's Disease. Now he is an integral part of a Parkinson's Community, where people depend upon his strength and wisdom in a fight that is definitely bigger than just one person.