30 Days of Parkinson’s: Finding My Purpose

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30 Days of Parkinson's

Photo courtesy of Ann Perkins

Day 30 of 30

This is Ann Perkins’ story:

Yes, I did all the stuff suggested. I retired and got less stressed. I sleep well. I take all the meds — carbidopa/levodopa, amantadine, and supplements — that are officially found to do what they say they can.

I exercise daily, alternating stretching, doing PWR and Rock Steady boxing, playing ping pong, doing voice exercises, and practicing balance. I minimize my sugar intake, follow the Mediterranean-type diet, and am mindful of what I eat.

I do social things. I am in a great support group, for which I was a facilitator for several years. We began virtual meetings last year, and that, in my opinion, is the future. 

My “add-on” to that list is having purpose. The dictionary tells us purpose is the reason something exists, an intended end; an aim; or a goal. Purpose creates meaning, offers a sense of direction, and helps guide our paths, behavior, and goals, when applied to our lives. Purpose creates a need that is met by helping others.

I have found that, 21 years post-diagnosis, I am better than ever. Everything I noted so far has brought me to this place. My husband says, “You’d never know she has [Parkinson’s].”  

So, what’s my purpose? I’ve been a volunteer for the American Parkinson Disease Association. I started out as a board member, just to see what they do. I found they are a grassroots organization with intentions of being a resource for Parkinson’s patients everywhere. I went on to become president, overseeing the annual walk. I never knew I had it in me!  

With that, I urge you to continue whatever goals you may have. Too many symptoms to be able to handle it? Take 15 minutes of your peak “on” time to do a shortcut version. You may have them several times a day. Consistency is key to success. Once you experience having something to look forward to, to get out of bed for, it will help your mental attitude and be the piece you were missing.

Don’t just sit there and take it! Make getting better your full-time job!     

Parkinson’s News Today’s 30 Days of Parkinson’s campaign will publish one story per day for Parkinson’s Awareness Month in April. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this, using the hashtag #30DaysofPAR, or go here to see the full series. 

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