Hi, my name is Joe and I have Parkinson’s.
For every disease or malady there seems to be a stigma attached that prevents open discussion about our lives, our health and how we got this way. As I just turned 66 and have been retired for more than a year, there seems to be little benefit or concern about being fully out about my current and past health struggles. Perhaps it would benefit others to know that my shakes and balance issues are not caused by alcohol or drugs but rather they may well be my “off” times when my medications are not quite managing my symptoms due to fatigue or stress. Here is a little more of my story.
In the Spring 2012 I was coming to the end of a year of doctors’ visits, medical examinations and consultations with specialists to try to diagnose the cause for lose of my motor skills in both my left arm & leg. A stroke? A brain tumor? Nerve problems? An old injury? By process of elimination it was diagnosed as Parkinson’s Disease, a degenerative, progressive condition that may not cause death but definitely complicate my life going forward. As I absorbed the details of this diagnosis, I reflected on my earlier battle with cancer in 1999 and a struggle with alcohol in the 80’s. I have been clean and sober for 30 yrs & cancer clear for over 12. How is this fight going to be different and is there any chance of winning in the end. Perhaps this fight may a test of how long I can keep standing in the ring rather ever raising my hands in victory. Stay tuned in to my blog and you can walk part of my journey with me either in a virtual or real way, your choice.
All photography provided by Joe van Koeverden