Parkinson’s Management Is an Everyday Battle for My Dad

Mary Beth Skylis avatar

by Mary Beth Skylis |

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The Parkinson’s diagnosis came as a shock, even for me — and I wasn’t the one receiving it. My dad received the news of his diagnosis nearly 10 years ago.

Like most of my family, I remained in denial, assuming that doctors had gotten it wrong, based on my own experiences in the healthcare industry. But after several doctors confirmed the diagnosis, we knew that Parkinson’s was here to stay in our family.

One thing about Parkinson’s is that it’s a daily reality — those who have it wake up in the morning, only to realize that Parkinson’s is still there. Every day is a reminder that there’s no escaping it. Dad still has Parkinson’s. Today, as part of his Parkinson’s management, he must relearn how to do things that used to be intuitive for him.

How do you drink a cup of coffee when your hands aren’t steady? How do you get out of bed when your core strength isn’t what it used to be? Parkinson’s management is like an endurance sport.

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Dad has been struggling with Parkinson’s disease for nearly a third of my life. He fights like a champion every day, and I’m proud of him for never letting his optimism waver. He wakes up and commits to living through his diagnosis in spite of the struggles.

Some days, he’s more tired than others. But he never lets it disturb his spirit. He’s teaching me how to endure with the right attitude. And when attitude is the only thing we can choose, it matters a lot.

Twentieth century psychotherapist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl discussed this concept in his landmark book, “Man’s Search for Meaning.” In the Nazi concentration camps during World War II, where both of his parents and his wife perished, Frankl came to believe that humans can endure almost anything as long as they find a reason to live.

I’m not sure what Dad’s reasons are or how he is able to pick himself up and dust himself off day after day. Yet despite all of his struggles, he stands tall and chooses optimism. And I couldn’t be prouder to see him fight.

Still, because he wears Parkinson’s so well, my heart crumbles to see it take him. Yet we charge forward anyway.

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.


Barbara Robin avatar

Barbara Robin

I thoroughly enjoyed the story about your dad, Mary Beth. I was diagnosed with Parkinson's two weeks ago and immediately given a prescription for levodopa/carbidopa, 1 tablet twice a day. Today was day 14. My family and friends ask if I'm feeling better, its a difficult question to answer because I don't know what to expect. I do know the importance of exercise and getting out and walking and I do that every day, fortunately I've been a walker all my life. I also know that attitude is everything and Bless your Dad for maintaining a positive attitude. He is setting a powerful example for all who know him.


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