The perks — and we found some! — of living with Parkinson’s disease

Despite the many difficulties, my husband can see positives in his condition

Jamie Askari avatar

by Jamie Askari |

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My family always looks for the good in every situation. We try to find the humor and the positive in times that can be hard. It’s our way of looking on the bright side in all situations.

In 2009, when my husband, Arman, was diagnosed at age 38 with early-onset Parkinson’s disease, our world was turned upside down. To make matters worse, he was forced to end his career as an invasive, critical care cardiologist. It certainly felt difficult to find any humor or bright side to that situation at the time.

But we soon realized that finding the silver lining around the dark storm clouds that had formed in our life was the best way to get through this diagnosis and find our new normal with Parkinson’s. We decided to embrace the tough times with laughter, smiles, and positivity. It felt much better than complaining and focusing on the negative aspects of this disease.

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We’ve also found that some real perks come with Parkinson’s disease. Truth be told, they’re not really perks, but we like to look at them that way.

Arman loves to play online poker, and he jokes that one day he’ll make it to the World Series of Poker. He’s confident that his Parkinson’s poker face will be his ace in the hole to win it all. But I’ll keep my day job until this one happens.

Before Arman had his deep brain stimulation surgery, he had severe dyskinesia in his right leg. His leg would fly high into the air with every step he took. He loved using this as an excuse to “accidentally” kick people walking closely ahead of him. Oops!

A few years into his Parkinson’s diagnosis, we realized we needed an accessible parking pass in our car. We were all excited to have preferred parking to keep Arman safe, especially when there was a blizzard in Cleveland. We soon realized, however, that seemingly everyone else had preferred parking, too, as there were never any accessible spaces available. What a disappointment that was!

Arman is mostly unable to drive, but he loves the perk of being chauffeured around by our kids and me. And they loved having him as their driving instructor because he didn’t scream and yell as I did. That was because he always fell asleep in the car. Interesting way of teaching the kids to drive!

But truly, the best perk that we’ve found is the kindness of others. When strangers notice us struggling, they typically offer a hand. It’s taken Arman some time to accept the help of others, but now that he does, he’s inspired by all of the good we’ve encountered.

The perks of Parkinson’s disease are a fun way for us to make light of the hard times. When things get rough, we look for those advantages to cheer us up. It’s not always easy to find light during dark times, but if you can look for the perks daily, you may find one you weren’t even looking for.

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.


Lea avatar


Thanks for brightening my day Jamie! I am a very optimistic person too, but finding my positivity slipping lately. I’ve just booked an appointment with a psychologist to help me deal with my husbands Parkinson’s and the effect it is having on our (so far) very strong marriage. Once again , thanks for giving me a mental boost this morning😄

Jamie Askari avatar

Jamie Askari

Thanks for reading Lea! I am happy this gave you a smile today. It is a challenge to stay positive, and I have my moments as well!!


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