Stories

John Bauman

Everything Happens for the Best...

Diagnosed at 44

It was a day I will never forget.
The day I first laid eyes on Krista Brooks, MD.
Within minutes of us meeting, I knew.
My life would never be the same.

She knew before me.
She read it in my eyes.
She saw it in my facial expression.

She took my hand, and as it started to shake in hers, she said three words that changed my life forever, "You have Parkinson's."

The world stood still. Everything went to slow motion.
How old was I? I wasn't even sure at that moment, 43, 44.
Isn't Parkinson's an old person's illness?
But didn't Michael J. Fox get this at an early age? Wasn't that rare?
I staggered to the rest room. After splashing my face with cold water, I started to come back to my new reality.

Strangely, there is no test to determine if you have Parkinson's-- or PD -- other then doing an autopsy. Being that I am still alive, and that I intend to stay that way for a long, long time, I opted against the autopsy (not a tough decision). What you can do is start the medication and see if it works. Unfortunately, the medication worked.

The first challenge was to continue to function as if nothing had happened. I now had a horrible secret, one not of my own making.

What also comes with the territory is going through the emotional trauma of letting your loved ones know and dealing with their reaction while, at the same time, dealing with your own emotions. I was exhausted.

When I finally got around to talking to my mother. Her reaction surprised me. Of course, she expressed empathy, but then she said something that I will never forget, "Everything happens for a reason." Our family had always been fighters, but something was different.

She had said this phrase hundreds of times growing up, but something had changed, she used to say, "Everything happens for the best." Why the change? She said, "I can't imagine that you getting Parkinson's is for the best." My mother unknowingly had provided the motivation to move forward. Is it possible to prove that it was for the best?

There was an event coming up in DC called The World Parkinson's Congress. My parents drove up to sit with me through a bunch of hyper-technical lectures - talk about love. Although you can't stop the progression, you may be able to slow it. Wow, that was what I was hoping to hear (becoming a medical researcher was not an option, too late to go back to school, too old to put in 12 more years).

The to-do list will not surprise you: Exercise; eat right; reduce stress; laugh a lot; and lots of affection (not really, but can't hurt). By the way, eating right includes blueberries, strawberries, and (no kidding) red wine and dark chocolate. Say no more, sign me up.

This diagnosis also prompted me to do something different with my life than being the top attorney for a company. Despite much concern,
I started teaching several undergraduate classes at the University of Louisville and opened my own inspirational speaking & consulting business (TheInspiringEsquire.com).

Just as there is much that can be done to proactively prevent, or at least slow, the progression of Parkinson's, I have dedicated my energy and passion to eliminate workplace harassment, reduce workplace injuries, teach supervisory skills based upon appreciation and respect, enhance success skills, and speak on Parkinson's (http://www.ProactivePreventionCulture.com)

Spreading the message of living life to the fullest after a life-changing event like Parkinson's takes many forms and sometimes involves early wake-up calls. For me, my post recent experience was on the TV show Sunday Sunrise where I had to arrive at the studio at 5am! Here is the clip: http://theinspiringesquire.com/2010/06/17/john-baumann-radio-talk-show-host/

My focus in all these presentations is to elevate awareness and understanding by providing instructive real life examples, engaging imagery and appropriate humor.

I am also The Inspiring Esquire, an Internet Talk Show Host, Mondays at 4pm on http://www. VoiceAmericaBusiness.com

This is where I am - enjoying life, enjoying work.

Oh yeah, did I mention that I have Parkinson's and I guess I'm proud of it. You can even call me a Proud Person with Parkinson's.

And my mother now believes that this is for the "best."

16 Comments

beautiful story from a beautiful person.

mom, Sep 23, 2010

reply

Thanks

John, May 30, 2012

Very beautiful story, your mom sounds like a class act, i've just been diagnosed myself and this story brought a smile to my face.

Wesley Moore , Oct 12, 2010

reply

Very inspiring person you are!
I have joined non profit organization Art Of Living. Service to the humanity is the answer to forget out own pain and suffering.I like your positive attitude.

Rita Patel, Nov 27, 2010

reply

What a great story! Thank you for being such an insperation for all of us with PD.

Sharon, Jan 23, 2011

reply

i was told two years ago that i have pd.my biggest complaint is my feet. they get real hot and they are always sore.had test and xrays done they see nothing.does anyone else have this problem???

mike, May 4, 2011

reply

I am 65 and been diagnosed with Parkinism so not sure if I have it or not? The meds work. Yes, my feet do get hot sometimes; a washrag on my feet at night helps. I have a variety of weird symptoms which started with tremmoring of my L hand which does not as much lately. I have tremoring of my head which I understand is not a symptom. I have pain and tremmoring in my calves, ringing in ears, shuffle feet sometimes. So do not know if this is PD or what?

Terri, Jan 29, 2014

hi john,

that is a very nice story. i also have PD at early age. It really change my life too and i want to make a difference in life. i hope i could get all your support here because i am starting a project for people with PD.

ireen, Jun 4, 2011

reply

My story is very similar to yours. May I use your opening in telling my story?

I'm 41 year old male.

Dom, May 6, 2012

reply

Dom: Of course you can use my opening.

John, May 30, 2012

John, more power to you!! I'm 55 and have been diagnosed just a few months (I've known for a few years something was happening.I helped my Mom for years with her PD) I, like you want to make this a positive, but I'm struggling letting go of my old plans for life. I want to find a way to make a difference in the research of Parkinsons. How do I get involved with teaching, speaking, helping. I currently teach part-time at local colleges in their business departments.

Mary, Jul 31, 2012

reply

One more person blessed by you!
I often tell my friends and family that PD is reserved for intelligent individuals... isn't it true? (I am a 43 year old teacher with a Masters degree in leadership).
I have a challenge for you:
You are in the position to no only inspire, but also to empower people! You know the way... many would like to follow!
I am convinced that "everything happens for a reason... and most of the time for the best". So salud!! (you said red wine? what if I am mexican? ...

Eva, Aug 4, 2012

reply

Mauricio, to have met you has brought us some much joy,.. You are trully spectacular and I admire your disciple toward living a healthy lifestyle. But beyound that your present was a ture realilization.. that this disease has a grip of so many wonderful people.. I was lucky to marry one and fall in love .. Your presence , friendship and connection will honor us. Take Care, everyday, better, faster , stronger,

The Baumanns
theinspirgesquire.com
jbaumann106@hothail.com
502-262-3300

Bernadette Baumann, Aug 23, 2012

reply

When I was told I had Parinsons I was lucky a friend gave me the name of a person who had had Parkinsons for 20+years.
The first thing he said to me admit to your self you have PARKINSOs and talk about to others do not try to hide it. I did this found I excepted very quickley

Barrymem, Oct 1, 2012

reply

love your uplift'n comments. Im 43, been w/pd for 6 yrs. but here in NC, unfortunately no sympathy from drs. been given the run around. In the past 2 years, I've seen close to 6/7 drs. now I'm been denied legal rep for disability. They say I can work, however, no one will hire me. If they would help find work, fine. But I would become a liability. Any lawyers, interested? Any jobs available for pd victims? Sorry, just needed to venge myself.......just here w/my dead end street....

Danny, Jan 17, 2014

reply

very inspiring indeed!

fadwa ben mbarek, Mar 29, 2014

reply

Participate in the discussion and share your insights

In reply to:

cancel