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Following numerous tests I was finally diagnosed with Parkinson's in 1994.

I remember crying and saying to my husband Art "what am I going to do now? He replied, "the same things you are doing now for as long as you are able."

My doctor started medication immediately and I feel sure that is the reason I have been able to manage so well over the past 17 years. I attended an information workshop re Parkinson's and it left me feeling as if I were going to become less than a person, it explained about slurred, low speech, tremors and shuffled walking, problems with dressing etc.but these things never appeared even though they were constantly on my mind, following me around like a shadow. I attended one support meeting and decided I didn't need that as everyone seemed to be more advanced.

I turned to volunteering, crafts and Board positions for the next 9 years and in 2005 decided that I wanted to be involved with the Parkinson's group and from there till 2008 I helped with the support group as President and Treasurer and also with the Provincial Board. I made crafts for fundraising, sold tickets for the annual breakfast and sold and delivered many tulip bulbs.

It seems as if Art was right as I did my usual things and much much more. Life has not been easy but there are a lot who have had to bear much more. My days are fine with my meds but nights are not so good. When I wake I turn on the TV and knit. I enjoy music, cooking and sewing for the Cancer Society.

I have two shadows, Parkinson's and my husband. One was my choice and I love him dearly. He has been part of my life for 47 years and the other I just it followed me around all these years.

It has been a humbling experience. I never say "Why me?" I think, "Why not me?

Posted by Helen Baggs on August 11, 2011

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