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Participant Information

Marian Bumala

City:
La Honda
State:
CA
Country:
USA
Essay:

I thought I had my life all figured out. I have a wonderful husband who I've been married to for almost 24 years. I met him while working at my dream job; designing electronics for space-based scientific instruments. We have a delightful son who is now 22 and is a joy to me. We live in a little house in a redwood forest, with a dog and a cat, and we have had more than our share of happiness.

Somewhere around 2004, I began to notice funny little symptoms that bothered me. Fatigue, soreness and stiffness of muscles, clumsiness, dizziness, GI symptoms, slow movements, clenched muscles, muscle cramps, irregular heartbeats, and finally a tiny little tremor in my left hand. For the next two years I had test after test, and there was nothing wrong. Instead of being glad, eventually I dreaded that "normal" result, because to me, it meant another "I don't know". In the end, though, it was that tiny little tremor that sent me to the neurologist. When I was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2006, it was almost a relief.

It has taken about 3 years to get my meds and my head straight. In the meanwhile, I have learned that there are a lot of silver linings to be found here. I have found a loving and supportive community of fellow sufferers. I have found a purpose in trying to help find a cure; I have joined support groups and participated in fund raisers and clinical trials. I have donated my blood, my saliva and my brain. I have also experienced a resurgence of interest in my creative hobbies. I have always played music, written poetry and produced various kinds of artwork, but now I feel absolutely driven to do something creative. I look at the beauty of this world and this life, and I want to capture it, play with it, amplify it, express myself with it. So, I draw, I make jewelry, I carve, I do needlework, I play music, I write poetry and songs. My creativity has begun to define me.

So, I really feel that I have gotten more from Parkinson's than I have given up. I get scared and ticked off sometimes, just like everyone else, but for the most part I feel a sense of triumph. I'm winning this fight.