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My New Reality

This is the story of an umpire who loved his job. He had worked many tournaments including a Big League Softball World Series.

He’s worked Little League, ASA, USSSA, NSA, NFHS and some Jr College. He had his sights set on the NCAA and the College World Series and maybe the Olympics. Plans, good plans doing what he loved to do. He still finds it hard to believe they pay him to do this.

Then he’s told he has Parkinson’s. One of the first things he feels is fatigue. Two games a night was nothing, not now. Next it was apathy, didn’t care to read a rule book, watch plays. Nothing made him happy.

So he quit, now he sits at home and does nothing. He try’s to remember the days he smiled.

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.


  • KellyW moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi smswv1956. I, too, had to stop working due to Parkinson’s. I was diagnosed at 29 and “retired” at 39. The side effects of medications and disease progression (more cognitive) made it very difficult to continue in my job.
    It was an incredible loss for me. I loved my job and the people around me. I felt like I had lost my purpose, my passion. And, like you, I tried to remember what made me happy.
    I spent a lot of time in therapy coming to grips with my new life. So many aspects of my life had changed and I felt like I had lost control over almost everything.
    Over the years, I found I did have a passion. It was helping others with PD find their way. I started two young onset support groups. I’m involved here at Health Union and with the Parkinson’s Foundation and the Michael J Fox Foundation.
    I still struggle with apathy and fatigue and I miss my old life. But getting involved in the PD community, for me, has been extremely rewarding.
    I’m sure you have talked to your doctor about apathy. But if you haven’t, please do. Don’t let PD take your happiness from you without a fight. Consider seeing a mental health professional (it works, trust me), talk to your doctor about your sleep patterns (are you sleeping well? Apathy is the worst but if you can set a goal for yourself each day (something small at first) and get a sense of accomplishment, maybe those small things will turn into large things and shine a little light in to the darkness.

  • jeanita
    2 years ago

    I cannot image being diagnosed at 29; were devastated when my husband was diagnosed at 45. Like you, he worked another 10 years. My husband has not gotten involved with any support group but he has become a messenger for DBS and the importance of seeing Movement Disorder Specialist. We have a caregiver/running buddy/partner in crime who comes in 3 half days a weeks to assist with hygiene and takes him out. They go to a local diner were he interacts with a couple of men with PD. He has become an inspiration to them after his DBS. When he meeets anyone with PD, he encourages them to see his movement disorder specialist.

    Your story is an inspiration to anyone who has faced an adverse situation. Take the lemons and make lemonade. Happiness is a choice.

  • KellyW moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi Jeanita. I am so glad to hear that your husband has become an advocate for DBS and the importance of Movement Disorder Specialists. I had DBS in 2016 and it has been wonderful! It was not without its own challenges – it took about 6-8 months to get the programming correct- but it was very much worth it.
    You are correct – happiness is a choice. Life is not easy but understanding and accepting that makes even the toughest challenges a bit easier.
    Thanks for commenting! Regards, Kelly, Team Member

  • Karl R moderator
    2 years ago

    Hi smswv1956, I have had PD for over 30 years and am still working and active. I encourage you to stay motivated and engaged. Find the things that you still can do and enjoy. If you can’t paint anymore for example, take up photography. Keeping your mind active, your body active, and staying socially active are 3 crucial components to living well with this illness. It is when we do little or nothing for ourselves, that this disease can become more of a burden. Reducing stress, eating healthy, getting sound sleep, keeping positive, and working with a good neurologist (movement disorder specialist) are all going to benefit you. Finding a local support group can be very helpful so that you can learn and share information with others. My wife and I started our own support group and ran it for 12 years. We wanted a positive group that offered ideas and shared stories of what was working and what wasn’t. Members always left more educated about meds, therapies, doctors, etc. It was very empowering. This website has tons of resources that I encourage you to read and see that there is a great deal to do. I have just started Rock Steady Boxing in my area and encourage you to look into it in your area. It is entertaining, motivating, a great workout, and I have met wonderful people! Be well and stay positive!

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