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By Lillian Gallego - I've had Parkinson's disease for 2 years. This is my story of how I am dealing with it and how my family is helping me cope through this tough time in my life.

Not having control of my body frustrates me. The constant shaking of my left hand and arm becomes so intense that my muscles hurt. I feel as if there are bees buzzing inside of my hand and up my arm; thatís the only way I can describe this feeling. The shaking becomes worse when Iím tired, sick or stressed. Holding my hand in front of me rather than down at my side lessens the tremors. There are days when my hand becomes so stiff itís hard to hold things. Trying to sleep while my hand shakes is most difficult. When I meet people for the first time, I watch their eyes look directly at my shaking hand and then at me. Why is this happening to me?

I knew something was wrong and needed help. I went to my M.D. who ordered an MRI of my brain and recommended I see a neurologist. Going into that tube, not being able to move and the loud noises was a frightening experience. The neurologist explained the tests Iíd be taking and the possible outcomes, which included Parkinsonís disease. After the MRI was confirmed normal and all the blood tests were ruled out, I heard those awful words, my neurologist was sure that I was suffering from Parkinsonís disease. I felt as if I was hit in the chest and couldnít breathe. Thankfully my husband was with me or I might have passed out. I knew it was a possibility, but it came as a total shock. My neurologist felt that my tremors were not severe enough for medication, but recommended medication for the stiffness. Eventually the tremor became worse and I was put on medication.

Iíve always been a strong person and felt if you do something, do it to the best of your ability. Be proud of your accomplishments. Iím trying to continue doing this and not let this disease keep me from being the person I am, but sometimes itís difficult. Iíve survived divorce, raising two children who are now adults and poverty. I wonít let this disease get the best of me, stop me or make me sad. I wonít give in and must continue to fight and be strong.

Having a caring and loving family is important to me. They enveloped me in a feeling of security and in a place of safety. My second husband is the love of my life, always by my side; my rock and my strength. I donít know what Iíd do without him. He tries very hard to help take away the pain, the fear and the stress. When he holds me in his arms, I feel safe, loved and secure and Iím not afraid anymore. When he sees my hand shaking, he strokes it gently knowing it will help me relax. My son knows exactly what to say to make me feel better. He is comforting, caring and always says Iím not alone in this struggle. He gives me confidence in myself and does not want me to worry. My daughter who is my little mother and best friend worries about me. She protects me and is very loving and comforting. She reminds me that she will always help me whenever I need her. My sonís wife, my second daughter who I love dearly is always asking me if Iím ok. She worries about me and asks if I need anything. She is very caring and I love that she calls me mom.

My parents, my sister and brother-in law are very supportive, always wanting to help ease the stress in my life so I can feel like myself again. The joy in my life is my little granddaughter, who I adore. She makes me smile and doesnít realize that she is the best medicine for me. Just seeing her beautiful smile or hearing her little laugh gives me much happiness. All the pain, suffering and stress are gone when Iím with her. When she gives me hugs and kisses, my arm stops shaking and I feel calm and relaxed. I love running with her at the playground going on the swings, slides and playing hide and seek in the house. I pray that Iíll have the strength to continue doing the things that Iím doing now.

I adore them all and donít want them to worry about me or be a burden. An entire family all pulling together for one purpose and one cause. How truly blessed I am to have them all in my life.

Posted by Lillian Gallego on January 13, 2011

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