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April Fools… Who is the Joke On?

April is Parkinson’s Disease Awareness month! I guess it is fitting in a way that the first day of the month is also April FOOLS Day. I reflect back on the past 20 years of my diagnosis and remember the times I wish someone would jump out and yell “APRIL FOOLS!!!”

No one jumped out!

My diagnosis came at 32 years old. I was too young! I had too much to do! I had a kid! I had a career that came to a screeching halt because of this disease. Parkinson’s for me was rapid in progression. As I would learn much later, Parkinson’s is very different for everyone.

How many times did I wish that as I fell or tremored so badly I spilled stuff or could not get dressed because I could not button my clothing that someone would yell APRIL FOOLS? How many times did I wish that as my body was racked with pain because of dystonia as I was twisted up like a pretzel, or worse, the emotional pain of the loss of a marriage and having to explain this hideous disease to an 11-year-old child, that someone, ANYONE, would jump out and yell, APRIL FOOLS!? But no one ever did.

The punch line

Twenty years ago when I was diagnosed with young onset Parkinson’s, there was very little out there for us in the way of information or support. I was living in a small rural town in Tennessee and had no idea what was going on with my body, much less how to explain to my former husband or my child what was going on! My marriage crumbled and I found myself in a very dark place. Emotionally and physically drained and just lost. Wondering if THIS was all there was and if I was even going to live long enough to see my sweet daughter graduate from high school?

The joke was on Parkinson’s

But as the years passed, I began to not look at it that way anymore! I realized God had a plan for me! I just had to be patient. I finally reached way down somewhere within myself and with a strong faith, began to crawl out of the depths. I began to scour the internet for connection, found an online message board, that would change my life forever. I found young people from all over the country, just like me, including the man who would become my business partner, and husband today! I also found a family of people that understand what I was going through! A wealth of knowledge and support!

Our punchline!

Each of us has a perspective on life; we see and think about things in a specific way. Some people are quick to see all the problems and magnify them, while others make a choice to minimize them and look for the good in life.

I have a wonderful husband, partner in crime, Michael Church! Yes, we both have PD. We also have our own non-profit for PD! And we are authors! We help others! We try to make a difference! We go to Washington DC and advocate for the PD Community! We travel all over the world and speak!

We are not alone in what we do! That is the cool thing! We have met so many others who have touched our lives and the lives of others because they have refused to let Parkinson’s win. We can all make a difference no matter how big or small!

  • Join a support group. Online or in-person
  • Educate others about Parkinson’s
  • Learn about PD and do not be afraid to ask for help!
  • Get involved!
  • Take an exercise class or dance class!

Anyone who will refuse to give up, no matter how challenging life may be, is far better off than someone who is without challenges. Why? Because a positive attitude will allow us to have joy even in the midst of a trying time

It is not PD that jumps out at me ANY LONGER! It is ME! I jump out at Parkinson’s Disease and yell APRIL FOOL’S! I win! Are you going to win?!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.