The Day Our Son Noticed His Dad’s Early Onset Parkinson’s Disease

A trip to the hardware store becomes a lasting memory of early symptoms

Jamie Askari avatar

by Jamie Askari |

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As my husband, Arman, our son, Jake, and I arrived at our local hardware store one day many years ago, I never could’ve imagined it’d still be a vivid memory for Jake, who was 6 and is now 19. We were likely looking for tools for a fun project he’d be working on with his dad, so it should’ve been a nice, leisurely outing for all of us.

We were in the initial stage of Arman’s early onset Parkinson’s disease (PD) journey, so only Arman and I were aware of his recent diagnosis. My sweet, innocent little boy had no idea what we were struggling with — until he did.

PD often sends surprise visits, and that day in the hardware store, Arman started to have severe dystonia in his left foot. This meant his toes curled tightly underneath his foot, his foot turned inward, and his hamstring flexed tightly. Fortunately, I found a chair for him, but he couldn’t even walk the 10 steps to reach it. I brought the chair to him so that he could sit and wait until the medication began to release his foot.

We all sat patiently for about an hour or two, maybe more. Jake and I camped out on the floor next to Arman as we waited for him to be able to walk again. I tried my hardest to make it fun for Jake by playing games like I Spy or singing songs and telling him stories.

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Strength through adversity

I always did my best to make light of these difficult situations and find joy through the pain. I never wanted our kids to have unhappy childhood memories because of PD. Instead, I hoped to teach them how to find strength and happiness through adversity. I wanted to give them the ability to always see the sun shining, even on dark days.

I explained to my baby boy that Dad — his idol, superhero, and best pal — was sick and that he would be fine soon. How would I even begin to explain to him that his dad has a neurodegenerative disease with no known cure?

Jake’s big brown eyes filled with gentle tears as he saw right through my words. Somehow, he knew that his dad would not be fine anytime soon. Even at his young age, he could see the forest through the trees. He could sense my intense worry and fear of the unknown, although I always tried to stay strong, positive, and cheerful.

The medication eventually began to do its job, and Arman walked out of the store that day. Unfortunately, we couldn’t simply walk away from his diagnosis. That would be with us for the rest of our lives.

Eventually, it became our new normal to live with unexpected visits from our friend named Parkinson’s disease. We quickly realized that it was up to us to decide how we’d deal with this unwanted guest in our lives.

While we cannot control the disease, or the way it takes over Arman’s life, what we can do is control our response. Yesterday, today, tomorrow, and every day in our future, we’ll continue to choose the bright side, every time.

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.


Mike avatar


You, Arman, and children,
Have many challenges coming. With God as a Partner you all can meet the obstacles and whatever growth opportunities they will create. My wife and I are retired where my condition is tough but manageable. Diet is so important, medication, exercise and Prayer are also crucial. Find great medical care and of course follow I instructions. My wife and I are cheering for your family. Blessings, Mike

Vita Bellofatto avatar

Vita Bellofatto

Jamie, what an inspiring story about your families journey. God blessed your husband with family support. I applaud all of you..this journey can be dark at times.


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