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Video Review: Diagnosis Parkinson's Disease

Patricia Lightner

Diagnosis Parkinson's disease: You are not alone was produced by the Parkinson's Disease Foundation (PDF) for the person who is newly diagnosed with Parkinson's. I was diagnosed with young-onset PD in 1993 at the age of 35. And yet Diagnosis Parkinson's disease still speaks to me. "Words mean things," and the words spoken on this DVD/video speak volumes.

The patients on the video are very frank in sharing how they reacted upon diagnosis and the subsequent coping skills that they developed. Certainly, it brought back painful memories. However, their generosity in sharing their stories will make anyone newly diagnosed with Parkinson's feel less anxious and more hopeful about the future. Most importantly, they will not feel overwhelmed - or alone.

One of the first things I looked at upon receiving the video was the length of the program. Quite frankly, I was disappointed to see that it is only 20 minutes. I thought, "How can all the complexities and issues with PD be covered in such a short time span?"

I got my answer after watching the DVD. My first thought was "less is more." This production touches upon issues with enough material to inform but not to overwhelm. And it does this very well in just 20 minutes.

The video gets to the heart of the matter. The visuals of this production show the physical effects of PD. The tremors, rigidity, dyskinesia and masked facial expressions of Parkinson's are clearly seen on the patients. Diagnosis Parkinson's disease is a very up-front production about life with PD.

My experience with Parkinson's disease reveals that while it is a challenge for all of us, we can do much to make sure that we live life to the fullest. The DVD/ video shows that PD is an individual condition. As each person is affected differently, so is the way he or she responds to life situations. For example, some people can continue to work while others need to go on disability. Just as the world we live in is not black and white but gray, I have found that so is PD. Fortunately in our journey into this particular gray area of life, we have dedicated and caring people like the ones who participated in the production of Diagnosis Parkinson's disease to help us through the fog. My sincere thanks to them and to everyone who worked on the project. I highly recommend this video.

To order your copy of Diagnosis Parkinson's disease: You are not alone, call PDF at (800) 457-6676 or visit www.pdf.org. The production of this video/print package was supported through an educational grant from GlaxoSmithKline.

Patricia Lightner is a Congressional Advocacy Coordinator for the Parkinson's Action Network. She lives in Harrisburg, PA.