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I am a wife, mother and grandmother. I will be 62 this year. Never in a million years would I believe that I would have a stroke and Parkinsonís disease. I was always so active, working out at the fitness center. I was diagnosed by my neurologist and my neurologist movement specialist in 2004, when I began dragging my leg. Going back through my medical records, I had tremors in 1987, but the doctors kept saying it was my nerves. I was known for my multi-tasking. When I didnít work for money, as a manager and mortgage underwriter, I volunteered as the manager for the Navy Relief Society, a budget counselor and helping families in need. I have also raised funds for the Parkinson's Unity Walk.

My husband, Larry is my best friend and care-giver. In fact, the reason Larry retired early, was to take care of me. He helps me do the things I can no longer do such as making a bed, vacuum or helping me in the shower and often helping me to rise out of bed in the mornings.

I also deal with slowness and rigidness with Parkinsonís. The stiffer my muscles get, the higher the pain level.

My dystonia, curling of the toes and then my feet twist inward and the muscles in my calves begin cramping as well. I now receive a treatment for this that has worked wonders for me.

I hunch over when I walk, using my walker or cane. My power wheel chair, gives me the freedom to shop or I use it when I have my many bad days. I survived a stroke and was paralyzed on my left side and worked very hard in physical therapy for a year, to be fortunate enough to regain nearly 99% of my bodily functions. Yes, I am blessed. Parkinson's disease is another battle that I fight to win, because I will not give in.

We are going on a long vacation in late May, promoting Parkinsonís awareness. We own an RV and we are calling it, ďRVing with ParkinsonísĒ. Helping each other along the way!

We will be leaving Florida and traveling to Western Maryland and Northern Virginia, visiting family and friends for a few days. Then we are going across country to Arizona and work our way up to Washington State. We plan to take a different route, as we return to Florida a few months later.

I have a seven pound Maltese, named Spencer, which was trained, tested and certified as my Service dog. Having our dog, Spencer by my side, people are curious as to how he is my service dog. I explain to people about Parkinsonís disease, pass out brochures and let them know what Spencer does for me.

Yes I am blessed. If you see an RV called a Phaeton that is a light cream with Black designs pulling a Red Jeep Liberty- Honk your horn! I have my blog showing a picture of our RV. I will be documenting our travels and events on my blog:

My nickname is Margie.

Posted by Margaret Swope on April 21, 2011

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