I Encourage My Sister to Remain Determined in Life With Parkinson’s

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by Jo Gambosi |

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Determination can be a powerful ally in life, especially when dealing with a chronic illness like Parkinson’s disease (PD).

My sister Bev has stage 3 PD, which causes balance and short-term memory issues, along with hand tremors.

Life happens to all of us. There are emotional and sometimes physical challenges in each of our lives. However, for my sister, and others living with PD, every day can bring new challenges.

That is where I see the power of determination in Bev. Despite her physical and cognitive issues as a result of PD, she presses on to overcome obstacles with determination.

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As one of her caregivers and her younger sister, I named the column that I write for Parkinson’s News Today “Resilient: Living Relentlessly,” because that is what I have always seen in Bev. Whether she was battling cancer, heart bypass surgery, or now PD, she persists, is determined, and lives her life relentlessly.

In a February 2021 article in Transformation Magazine, author Terez Hartmann writes that “when you take the time to get clear about what you truly, deeply desire—with an emphasis on the core feeling you are reaching for—and make up your mind that you want what you want and refuse to settle for anything less, you tap into the power of determination and emit a clear signal that summons all of the resources of the Universe to help you create a path over, under, around or through what once seemed like impenetrable obstacles!”

Part of adulting is being able to make our own decisions. For Bev, and perhaps others with PD, this ability seems to decrease and become more difficult over time, which makes her feel less independent. Others are now making, or trying to make, decisions for her that Bev used to be able to make for herself.

Bev has echoed questions like, “I don’t know what I was thinking. Why did I do that?” But I remind her that the one thing she can hang on to is her power of determination, which still remains. I try to encourage her by telling her that we’ve all experienced making bad decisions or having bad judgment. We all have bad days, although hers may occur more regularly.

So on her better days of more functional thinking and physical ability, I encourage Bev to rebuild that trust in herself and her decision-making, and to reclaim her power of determination to move forward and overcome obstacles.

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.


Felicity Goulden avatar

Felicity Goulden

So true. Determination to live as full a life as possible; acceptance that your way of life will change nevertheless and new strategies will be needed; holding onto to the core sense of who you are and what you want; these are the keys to living with Parkinson's.


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