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Participant Information

Elissa Oppenheim Schreiner


There I was as angry as you probably were when you found out the news..."YOU have Parkinson's."

I think I ranted and raved for about thirty minutes, thirty hours or thirty days. I don't remember how long it took before I was able to calm down.

I was angry with my general doctor who didn't notice my tremor. I was angry because I asked him for a referral and he said something like "well if you want to see a neurologist I'll give you the name of one but, since you are a creative person I believe you are creating a scenario about Parkinson's."

I was angry because the Neurologist told me that I would probably lose my bodily functions and be wheelchair bound within ten years.

I was angry at...well, you name it...everybody and everything, but basically I was angry because as a professional musician...a composer, a piano teacher, a Pop pianist, I believed my music career was over. "Fine."


He is the doctor who set me straight, who knew what he was talking about, who wasn't in a hurry, who listened to me. Talking to him, taking his advice and going to a "shrink," for a few months, helped ease my mind.

It helped me see that the glass was half full not half empty, and after about a year...I was back to myself again.

I was not going to let PD put an end to everything I wanted to do. So I went back to work teaching piano and annoyingly my hand "rocked and rolled." I was aware of it but it didn't seem to matter to my students so I adjusted my arm, put it in my pocket for a minute or so and I learned how to "deal with it."

Performing can still be difficult for me but I enjoy playing...and I do lots of choosing before I accept a gig!

But, here's the best part! I wrote a pop CD for children and call it, "Grandma Rocks." I had listened to many children's cd's in my lifetime and I knew that I wanted to write one that appealed to kids and parents alike (but on different levels). My son, a professional musician produced it, my grandkids, also professional at 12 and 16 sang on it and I am so proud of it.

Check out my website and you can see the cover and hear some of the music for yourself - Also visit,, and

So what about my PD?
I have it, I use medication, I don't fixate on it and I don't let it get me down. I exercise on the treadmill and/or walk outside and I use a stationary bike. Now...I am happy to announce that its been over FIFTEEN years since I saw the first neurologist!