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Participant Information

Nancy Neihart


When asked, my neurologist describes my Parkinson's as one of "slow progression." I always smile when I hear him say this to his students at the teaching hospital where I have my appointments.

I believe that the creative projects I do are a large factor in keeping my Parkinson's slowly progressing. After an initial period of feeling terror and helplessness at my "fate" when first diagnosed, I sat down and made a list of all the things I have wanted to do in my life, but never found the time for. And I decided that I would now find he time for them in my forced disability "retirement."

When I came upon a lady who ran a quilt shop, I asked her for lessons and then decided to combine quilting with another new-found hobby - genealogy.

My quilts always incorporate keepsakes from those who came before me, and it helps me keep my mind focused on the continuity of life and how we only have a brief time to enjoy it.

Genealogy lead to my discovery of Finley Johnson's insanity trial hearing, which is described in my essay. Again, keeping my mind and heart busy has helped me to keep my disease in perspective.

When my mind is busy I have less time for dwelling on my body. I still hate Parkinson's and I hate the suffering, but every day in many ways, including quilting and genealogy, I keep the misery at bay by keeping my mind and body functioning and always alert to new challenges.

I also feel that I am leaving my children and family a legacy of accepting what God has given me in life - the good and the bad - and living my life as productively as possible.