My Parkinson’s journey and art

By Anne Atkin March 16, 2010

In 2005, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and straight away there was this persistent voice in my head that was saying the same thing over and over, “You’ve got Parkinson’s. You’ve got Parkinson’s”.

So I sat in the neurologist’s room trying to cope with what was happening, still thinking that the diagnosis was wrong. I couldn’t have Parkinson’s. That was something elderly people got, elderly people who shook a lot and I didn’t shake. The diagnosis must be wrong. My frozen shoulder was just that, a frozen shoulder. Admittedly I had had it for years but maybe mine was stubborn. As for the other symptoms – the weakness on my left side, the drooling, the pins and needles, the fatigue, the aches and pains – there was a perfectly logical explanation. “it’s menopause, it’s because I’m middle-aged, it’s anything but Parkinson’s.” I was scared and as far I was concerned, this was the end of my life as I knew it. All my plans had just flown out of the window.

But the voice in my head knew what it was talking about. I did have Parkinson’s. The twenty eight 11 year olds in my [...] continue the story

It changed my life and our relationship

Two years ago I went through the agonizing process of finally being diagnosed with PD. Thinking it was developing faster than the “usual” process I was referred to the Booth Gardner Center at Evergreen Hospital in Kirkland, WA. What a blessing this PD research center is! In the year and one-half I have been seen there both my wife and I have learned how we have needed to “do things differently” in our lives. We both retired “early” (at 62) after 36 years of careers for both of us. I was a pastor and my wife was a special education teacher. One of the words I have heard over and over from the Booth Gardner “team” is “If you really want to do it, don’t let PD tell you that you can’t!” Throughout this journey I have seen things change in my life that I struggle with daily. Lately I have lost the ability to sing. That has been my biggest loss to date as I have sung my whole life. So, today I do a great lip sync with any song I hear. As I have been told, “If you enjoy it, find another way to enjoy it.”