30 Days of Parkinson’s: Sharing My Husband’s Story

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30 Days of Parkinson's

Photo courtesy of Ginger Freund

Day 22 of 30

This is Ginger Freund’s story:

My husband, Spencer Freund, was an extraordinary and gifted man who exemplified all that is good in people. He left an indelible mark in his career that has enhanced our lives, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He was an innovator in telecommunications from its infancy and progressed the field of distance learning throughout this country and other nations far and wide. During 50-plus years, he mentored many and taught them not just technical things but how to treat others no matter the situation.

He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease when he was 48 but refused to let it define him or interfere with his lifelong commitment to progressing technology. He was a featured author of many published articles and was respected all over the world for his knowledge, generosity, and enthusiasm. Many have told me that they envied his ability to bring staff together with total dedication to each and every project.

Over the years, he had many different medications for his disease, which helped for many years. He had DBS (deep brain stimulation) surgery about six years ago. That was very helpful in relieving some of his uncontrolled movements.

My husband died in September, not from Parkinson’s or COVID-19. He died from a rare T-cell lymphoma that we only learned about five days before his death, though I now realize he had it for several years. We were also given great positive reinforcement that it was curable.

He suffered from terrible back pain for the past several years and sought help any way he could. He was never relieved of the pain no matter what doctors prescribed — injections, braces, pills. The doctors were myopic and only saw Parkinson’s and never thought beyond that.

What I want to emphasize is that if your symptoms are not alleviated, always ask: “Can it also be something besides Parkinson’s disease?” Had my husband been properly diagnosed and died the very same day, at least the relevant pain relief could have been prescribed and the last moments of his life could have been of better quality. 

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.