Angela's Story

My Aha Moment

Diagnosed at 33

Well, I guess I will start by telling you that I am a 39 year old wife, and mother of 4, ages 2,4,9, and 12. Our journey began in February (2005). I remember it was the day after Super Bowl Sunday - what seems to be a national holiday in our household!! Well, anyway, that was the date I had decided to make my doctors appointment for. I had been having very weird tremor like movement in my left hand, At some moments, it was actually a little entertaining to me - of course, that was before I knew what was in store for me!

My doctor went through all of the normal physical exam questions, and we were just about finished, when I came up with enough courage to tell him about this silly and annoying problem I've been having. I almost skipped this part, because after all, it was probably nothing...He checked the movement in my wrist and rotated my arm, did a couple other things, then started asking questions like...are you more tired than normal, is there a history of Parkinson's in your family... Uh- could you repeat that last question please! This is really a foggy memory in my mind, especially after that last question. The next thing I know I'm getting MRI's, CAT scans, blood tests, urine tests, and then off to see a Neurologist we go.

Well, this appointment was the one that really hit home for us. As my husband and I sat in the office, answering "yes" to many questions and watching the doctors faces as I walked up and down the hall, not swinging my left arm, it became painfully obvious to the both of us, that we weren't getting out of this appointment with a "whew, that was a close call" feeling! After more tests, heavy metals, Cat was finally said, "Well, 'Early Onset Parkinson's' but, because you are soo young, we really don't want to label you just yet."

So, off to Pittsburgh I go to another neurologist for a final diagnosis. This one, I will never forget! It was July 29, 2005 - Our 10 year wedding anniversary. Well, needless to say, we left there knowing for sure that at the age of 33, I had Early onset Parkinson' what?! For those few months, it was an absolute roller coaster ride! I didn't show much emotion, because I had a family who was sad and I didn't want them to be. So, I painted on a smile, and put on my let's all be brave suit and walked around as if it were nothing.

Then, something happened to me. I started opening up my bible and reading it, and praying more and more, perhaps for help to keep up this outside lie of how brave I was! But, as I continued to lean on the Lord, I realized that - I wasn't so upset anymore - I wasn't sad, but I was happy. I was happier than I was pre-diagnosis! Then, I remembered that story about the footprints in the sand, and I realized that the Lord was carrying me through this storm! What an absolute blessing! I put my trust in him, and he took my burden away!

Now, I still have Parkinson's, and there are still bad days...but I know that Jesus loves me, and if I let him be the driver in my life, everything works out. I was raised in church. I prayed every day and went to church on holidays, but it was out of habit, and not through faith. One year before my diagnosis, we started attending church regularly for the sake of our children. When my trial came about, it wasn't odd for me to open my bible and pray - and for that I am truly thankful to my parents for instilling this in my heart.

Since that day in July, I have gone back to things in my past that I enjoyed and let go because of my "busy" life. I now enjoy running. I hadn't ran in 15 years, but a really wonderful friend brought that back into my life, now my husband and I started an organization to raise money for PD and we even race together! I know I am blessed to still be able to run, and I want to use my 'gift' for as long as I can. I feel blessed in many areas of my life. Since dx, I have met the most amazing people and have done the most amazing things. I recently was able to share my story through Mutual of Omaha in an aha moment video:

Life after PD dx isn't over,it's just different than I planned, but maybe so much better!


You're my hero and I want to have your strength and positive outlook on life. I'm so blessed to have you in my family.
Love you tons Angie. :0)

Cheryl, Nov 19, 2011


Angela, your story really inspires me. I know that I can trust in God to be with me as I walk the PD road. I am learning to trust Him more and let Him lead. I am not as afraid. Everything Is going to be OK.

karen, , Mar 7, 2012


Karen, thank you for reading my story. You are in the exact same place I was at the beginning of my journey. If nothing else, PD has given me a wonderful relationship with my Lord and Savior, and because of that I see pd as a gift that changed my whole life. You are right...everything is going to be OK! Great attitude!

angela, Mar 8, 2012

It could best be said, May you all live in interesting times. Suffice it to say, that very little has come closer to the truth. After about a year of denial, I was formally dx'd with yopd at the age of 40. Now about 6 yrs have passed & long gone are the days of normalcy & a "typical" day is anything but. I have realized my confidence & strength is not from an inner determination, but from an outer blessing God showers me with daily. I live knowing that I can do all things thru Christ, Who strengthens me, to never give up, and to be ever thankful for the love and support of wife, family and friends. I refuse to let my "disability" to dictate who God has called me to be. A child of Light. One reflecting His glory not absorbing it. Burning eternally with gratitude & thanksgiving for all He does. And trying my utmost to serve His people by reminding them to always look up. I look ahead to a future with optimism not that science will find me a cure but that God will heal me in His due time. Until then, I resolve to try & love much, laugh lots, and cry little.

R. Aubrey Harley Verner, Apr 20, 2012


Thank you for your very inspiring words! Phil 4:13 is actually the motto of our non-profit...As is said 'he never gives us more than we can handle' this is true when coupled with Phil 4:13 promise - I can do ALL things through CHRIST who strengthens me. Without this promise, where would we be?!

angela, Apr 23, 2012

Angela, I just read your story and I remember going through that same process when I was being diagnosed. I remember all the different tests they put me through I just wanted them to be over so I could get answers. I was at the doctor at least once a week for a month straight during the summer. Thankfully I had my parents by my side during the whole thing. I am inspired by the fact that you started running again that is amazing keep it up.

Samantha B., Apr 24, 2012


Do you have young oarkinsons

C, Nov 22, 2014

I am a month away from my 39th birthday & also a wife & mother of 4. Tomorrow is my first appointment to discuss with my doctor my shaking hands. I have pushed this off for a year but my pinky on my left hand is shaking even more than the rest of my fingers. I just want you to know that this morning as I prayed & spent time with the Lord I googled 39 year old mother of 4 with Parkinson's & this came up. Your story has blessed me greatly & encourages me as I go & see what is happening with my body. May God bless you for sharing your journey with others!!

Amy, Sep 17, 2012


amy i m sorry I missed this post. I would love to know how your appointment went. If you have a facebook you can find me there more regularly.!/abadaracco


angela, Dec 3, 2012

Hi just found out today. Dont know

joy bollich, Feb 7, 2013


Hi just found out today I have PD! After 8 horrible years off not knowing whats wrong many test and Dr.I to today tured to the Bible, could not move my feet were stuck to the floor, and when I went for my bible they moved! and then I found you. And I was comferted by your word!

joy bollich, Feb 7, 2013


Joy I am so sorry to hear of your dx but am so glad to hear you are finding comfort through our greatest comforter of all. I will keep you in my prayers.

angela, Feb 22, 2013

I am 33 year old mother of two and I was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson's last year I wish i had you optimism and strength thank you for sharing your story.

Amanda Mcglone, Feb 18, 2013


AManda, thank you for reading my story. I know how hard it is to be young and have young children. Kids are a blessing because they really keep us focused on life and moving forward leaving very little time for pd!

angela, Feb 22, 2013

Angela: your faith is truly inspiring. I, too, was raised going to church and I often pray to understand my diagnosis. I am 39 and was diagnosed shortly after my daughter was born three years ago. My husband and I want to have another child, but have been afraid of detrimental side effects on the baby from the medication and/or increasing the severity/progression of my symptoms. Would you mind sharing how you handled these challenges when having your youngest children? Thank you for telling your story. Writing this comment is the first time I have publicly spoken about my Parkinson's.

Dina, Jun 25, 2013


Thank you so much for your comments. I know it is hard to grasp understanding of all the why's in our lives...somehow I think that is probably a good thing!

With my last two pregnancies, I was weaned off all parky meds because there really is a huge unknown on this topic. I am not sure of your symptoms, and their severity, but I will tell you I was fine during pregnancy. The symptoms were there, but not any worse. Once I had baby, I had progressed over the 9 mo, but would have most likely done that on meds n e ways. Both babies were born vaginally after 5 hours of labor. Very healthy. My youngest was caulicky, but I think that was just God's way of letting me know 4 was a good number! lol If you are a facebooker, feel free to friend me. angela Higgins badaracco.

angela, Jul 11, 2013

Hi Angela! Your story is so inspiring. Recently my brother in law was diagnosed at the age of 39. Him and my sister have two young boys.. 3 and 6. They are going through such a hard time now. Some denial.. Devastation.. Anger.. And grief. I have been trying to be their strength. It's good to hear about the strength you and your family have. I hope to pass this to them.

Tara j, May 28, 2014


Hi. My 40 year old husband was just diagnosed last week and I was thankful to find this blog post. Can you tell me if the DAT scan is necessary to diagnose? It has been turned down twice by insurance, but a new movement specialist we saw last week is ordering it again but doesn't feel she needs it to diagnose. Any input on this? My husband has a very significant tremor in right hand/arm, arm doesn't swing, slower movements on R side, sleep issues, and increased fatigue, etc. I would appreciate any insight into this new normal for us. Thanks and God Bless!

Carol Maze, Jul 16, 2014


Hello Carol,
Great question. We see that one come up often. A DAT scan is only to distinguish Parkinson's disease from essential tremor. What that means, is that it tells the doctor that there is a problem with the dopamine transporter, but it doesn't tell them specifically if its Parkinson's disease (PD). The best advice is to find a movement disorder specialist in your area. They will be more knowledgeable of Parkinson's than a neurologist because they see PD more often. If you need help locating one, please feel free to email us at or call at 1-877-223-3801. We are happy to help in anyways we can.

apda, Jul 17, 2014


Hi Angela,
I tried to message you on Facebook privately, but it went to your "other" folder because we are not connected.

AJ, Jul 19, 2014

Your story is exactly what I needed to hear. I've been putting off a tremor that started in my hands and arms. Now its the back of my head. I have a family history of Parkinson's and should get tested. Thank you for sharing your personal story. God Bless!

Alisha , Aug 14, 2014


Hello All,
My husband was diagnosed with PD about 6 years ago. I am so thankful to hear you all have turned to the Lord for the help you need. Truly, he is the only one who can help in times like this. This is a huge mountain and we cannot climb it alone. But with God's help, we can do anything. With God, all things are possible! Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your path. I will keep you all in my prayers. Your sister in Christ!


Val, Aug 17, 2014


Thank you Angela for your story. My mom who is now 71 was diagnosed with PD about 10 years ago. Of course, she has her bad days, but i do all i can for her. She is still pretty much self sufficient, but of course there are those times that all she has to do is call, plus after a recent fall, in which she fractured bones in her back, she has LIFE ALERT! Anyway, i have what i call jerks and twitches that i have noticed for a couple of years. My husband says that i also do it at night. I was wondering, how do i go about getting some "tests" to see if it might be happening to me?

christi, Dec 31, 2014


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