Hello, Friends of the Parkinson Association of Alabama,
I wanted to write to thank you for your support of the Parkinson Association of Alabama (PAA). Recently, I wrote and posted on a Group Me pickleball app about the many challenges that I face while living with PD. This disease has numerous unseen demands. Through my letter, I explained and informed others about Parkinson’s disease. I also talked about my role as President of the Parkinson Association of Alabama.
There are about 300 members of my pickleball group, and I didn’t want to miss the great opportunity to create awareness for the outstanding PAA organization. I thought it best to address the group and let them know what it’s like living with the disease. I wanted them to hear it, “straight from the horse’s mouth” what to expect from their new member, rather than trying to explain my condition to one individual at a time. You know, “Putting the hay down where the goats can eat it.” I broke it down and told them that sometimes I may appear drunk or even high! But assured them that would not be the case. I was open and honest, explaining that due to my lack of balance, they would surely notice me stagger and fall…A LOT! I told them that I often lose my voice, and they’d be unable to hear me speak. Ultimately, this causes me to talk less and remain quiet. Therefore, I may seem shier and more withdrawn than I normally would be. I tried to explain my masked face and how Parkinson’s disease can prevent them from accurately understanding and interpreting my facial expressions. I taught them about freezing, and how it makes me feel like my feet are stuck in concrete, and I can’t properly move. Freezing feet cause me to trip and fall forward. This becomes especially difficult when playing a sport that requires lots of fast twitch footwork, running, change of direction, lateral and backward movements.
Since this posting, I’ve had more than one person compliment my play, and others have taken notice at how hard I am fighting this disease. This was not my intent, but it makes me proud to receive positive feedback from others. I guess we really never know how impactful our actions and influential our words can be. That’s why I want to tell you that I am so very proud and honored to be the President of the PAA. I’ve had the privilege to speak to many people suffering from Parkinson’s disease, their caregivers, and supporters. My role as President of the PAA has kept me active and moving every day. After all, motion is lotion. Exercise is the best medicine; maybe more important than the pills we take.
If you have just been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease or have battled it for years, I encourage you to find out more about the Parkinson Association of Alabama by going to our website at: www.parkinsonalabama.com. There is a wealth of information on this website. If you are looking for a support group, need to talk to someone, are looking for answers on your own, or wish to donate your money or time, this is the place that you will want to search.
In closing, I would like to thank my beautiful wife, Stacy, our family, and our many friends for their love and support.
President, Parkinson Association of Alabama, Inc.