Honoring My Parkinson’s Hero: My Sister, Bev

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by Jo Gambosi |

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My sister, Bev, 84, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD) in 2017 after having undiagnosed symptoms for about eight years. She told me that while working as a nurse and then as an echocardiography technician, she experienced the shaking of her head and left hand. Bev also had some issues with dizziness, balance, and walking.

Over several recent months, Bev and I have noticed her increasing short-term memory issues as well as increased difficulty with balance. Her neurologist increased her medication dosage for PD and ordered an MRI scan.

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Although my sister faces the challenges of PD, she fully lives despite having the disease. In fact, she lives her life well. She is my hero.

I write this column as a way of honoring her and expressing my gratitude to her for being my sister and friend. I was 12 when my father died and 17 when our mother passed away. Bev became my legal guardian.

Parkinson's hero | Parkinson's News Today | Sisters Bev and Jo Gambosi wear broad smiles while taking a selfing on a colorful yellow booth with red and orange stripes. They look very sweet and mischievous.

From left, Bev and Jo in 2018. (Courtesy of Jo Gambosi)

Bev says of her PD, “I am forgetful, have poor memory with names and numbers, and it is difficult to remember things. My walking is extremely slow, and I can’t walk very far without being off-balance or becoming exhausted.”

I often jokingly tell Bev that she is the Bionic Woman who “takes a licking and keeps on ticking” because her PD is not the only challenge that she has confronted. In 2005, she had bypass and mitral valve replacement heart surgeries. In 2014, she was diagnosed with colon cancer, had surgery, and received chemotherapy. She is a seven-year cancer survivor!

She is the matriarch of our Italian family and my only remaining sibling.

Bev enjoys a life well-lived for many reasons, particularly because she has a positive attitude toward PD and life in general and a strong faith in God. “I refuse to let my illness control my life,” Bev said. “I can tolerate whatever I am dealt. I make fun of myself even when I screw up. I laugh about it because laughing is good for the body, mind, and soul.”

Dear sister, after these many years, and in the aftermath of this past month of PD awareness, I want you to know that you are my hero, and I am proud to call you my sister and friend. You are always resilient, even when circumstances can be overwhelming. You live relentlessly. I am grateful for your courage and boldness.

I love you always.


Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

Comments

NANCY Doster avatar

NANCY Doster

Wow, I loved everything about you and your sister. She is so blessed to have someone on her team that loves her so deeply. Thank you for sharing. Your sister does sound like "Wonder Women" as well as the "Bionic Women". My husband has P.D. and I will share your story with him. Attitude is everything.
WIth love and Respect,
Nancy

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William Palmer avatar

William Palmer

Beautiful and inspiring. Thank you.

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