Here's My Story So Far
Diagnosed at 32
I am a husband and father of three children, a full time student studying Psychology, and an entrepreneur. In January of this year, I received my initial tentative diagnosis of Early Onset Parkinson's Disease. I was referred to a competent neurologist specializing in movement disorders. He confirmed the diagnosis.
My immediate reaction was doubt. I asked myself questions like; "I can't be 32 and have Parkinson's, right?" Regardless of my doubts, I had been dealing with some pretty intense tremors for a while and agreed to use the medications my neurologist prescribed after some prompting from my wife. After a few days of medications, I began to notice a distinct decrease in my tremors. My wife had noticed the difference much sooner. I decided I would undertake some research into the factors that cause Early/Young Onset Parkinson's Disease.
First and foremost, genetics tend to play a pretty highly correlated role so I put the word out to my extended family that I was interested in any cases of Parkinson's Disease that have occurred. Initially the response was to the negative, and my doubt temporarily increased. Then, I talked started getting a number of resounding affirmatives. I looked into the environmental factors that have been linked to the disease, and as I made mental check marks on a number of them my doubt began to recede. Chlorine... check... Head trauma... check... etc. But, doubt reared its head again as I noticed over and over again that "genetic Parkinson's" usually manifests in the mid-20's. Then, I found studies linking smoking to Parkinson's symptom suppression. I smoked 2 packs a day for a number of years, and only recently gave up the habit. My neurologist had a serious conversation with my wife, and came to the conclusion that I have had symptoms at least since we started dating, when I was 20.
That’s my story so far. As it gets more involved, I will update this testimonial. My name's Nate, and I have PD. Had to end on a stereotypical support group note.