My husband’s guide to living with Parkinson’s: Humor and support

Eyebrows may raise when my husband says he's "living the dream"

Jamie Askari avatar

by Jamie Askari |

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Whenever anyone asks my husband, Arman, how he is doing, his standard reply has become, “Living the dream.” He usually gets a good laugh from this response, and they quickly move on to other topics. This has become his tagline, which seems to work well for him.

Living with a neurodegenerative disease with no known cure is probably not anyone’s dream. But Arman always looks for the humor in life, and it’s easy for him to find it. He doesn’t complain, sulk, or ever feel sorry for himself. I genuinely believe he thinks he is “living the dream.”

Since Arman’s diagnosis of early-onset Parkinson’s disease in 2009, he has remained steadfast in his pursuit of enjoying his life despite the difficulties of Parkinson’s disease. Although he was only 38 at the time and had to step away from his lucrative career as a cardiologist, he was able to find the positive side of his situation. Instead of focusing on all that he had lost, he turned his attention to what he was gaining.

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You heard that correctly: He focused on what he had gained. What could someone possibly gain from a diagnosis of early-onset Parkinson’s disease besides pain, suffering, loss, and complete devastation? Beyond the obvious negative things that come with any diagnosis, you might also be able to find a few positives intertwined. For Arman, while he lost the career that he had prepared his entire life for, he gained time at home with his wife and children. This time that he was gifted enabled him to be 100% present as his kids were growing up, something he would’ve missed otherwise. He also enjoys the perks of preferred parking on days when walking is difficult.

I “interviewed” Arman to share his wisdom and the tools he uses in order to help others who may be struggling. Here is what I learned from him, which continues to inspire me every day:

Arman’s Guide to Living the Dream

  • A strong support system is the most important part of my life. This is absolutely at the top of my list.
  • Keep your friends and family close; maintain and nurture those relationships.
  • Your cards have been dealt, so play them your way.
  • It really doesn’t matter what anyone thinks, so try not to worry about that.
  • Things can always be worse.
  • Look at time as a gift that has been offered to you.
  • Happiness, enthusiasm, and positivity are contagious, so spread them around often.
  • Laugh at yourself as much as possible, because laughter is free medicine with no copay or side effects.
  • Although having a chronic illness is difficult, it doesn’t have to ruin your life. You can still have a wonderful and fulfilling life; it just might look different from what you envisioned.

Choosing to live the dream and find the good in times of stress can make all the difference. Seek out the positive side of any situation. If you look hard enough, you just might find it.

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.


Kathryn C Hauck avatar

Kathryn C Hauck

The "gift" of Parkinsoin's has challenged me to be the best person that I can be, to be more mindful of living life in the present moment, to be an example of positive inspiration to other people, and to "push the envelope" and challenge myself with endeavors I might not have tried otherwise such as walking over 100K on the Portuguese El Camino pilgrimage trail after I was diagnosed with Parkinsons.
Life is what you make it. It's all a matter of your attitude. Carpe Diem!

Jamie Askari avatar

Jamie Askari

Hi Kathryn! I love your attitude and mantra, it made me smile. Congratulations on the El Camino, that is truly incredible. Thanks so much for reading and sharing your wonderful perspective, very inspiring!


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