Staying positive with Parkinson’s is hard work, but it’s worth the effort

How a columnist went from diagnosis to running a 5K race

Christine Scheer avatar

by Christine Scheer |

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It’s hard work being an optimist when you have a disease that is progressive, neurodegenerative, and — wait for it — incurable. So what do I do? I work hard at it!

The work began in 2015, when I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. There is nothing like a diagnosis of an incurable disease to make you reflect on how fortunate you have been until this point.

Now, every morning when I wake up, I make a point of saying to myself, “It’s going to be a good day.” It’s a mantra that works for me and sets my attitude for the day.

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Hit the ground running

In 2021, after having deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery, I vowed to hit the ground running, which I did. I realized I had been given a second chance, so I should get to it! I’ve since taken up running, and last weekend, I ran my personal best in a 5-kilometer race.

I’ve always liked to exercise, and I enjoy how I feel after a run. I might be the last person to cross the finish line, but I feel so good to be done that it doesn’t matter.

I know exercise is good for me physically, but the mental health benefits are even better. I feel gloriously happy (woot, woot, I just ran a race!), ridiculously brave (sign me up for another one!), and most of all, my hope is restored (Parkinson’s? What Parkinson’s?). After a run, I know it’s going to be a good day.

The mental challenge

I started running shortly after my DBS surgery. My Rock Steady Boxing friends welcomed me along on one of their runs. They would run for a minute, then walk for a minute. I found this doable and enjoyed the fact that I didn’t huff and puff too much. We could easily have a conversation.

Now, our weekend routine includes a Saturday run with our neighbors. Initially, we ran for a minute and then walked for a minute, but a few months ago, in a wildly optimistic moment, I signed us up to run a local 5K. As a next step, we thought we better get serious with our training, and what do you know, now we can run a 5K without taking a break!

This race has been a lot of work to prepare for, but it has inspired me. I realize that it’s as much of a mental challenge as it is a physical one. Finding the positives in every day can sometimes seem insurmountable, but for me, it’s the only choice.

Repeat after me: It is going to be a good day!

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.


Lucinda Bedwell avatar

Lucinda Bedwell

I am thrilled at your success but some types of Parkinson's have faster more aggressive progression than others so while this may be encouraging for some, it is discouraging for others.

Christine Scheer avatar

Christine Scheer

Hi Lucinda, I only mean to be encouraging. All my best, Christine

Sal avatar


Very encouraging story. I will definitely increase my daily motivation and exercise to augment my RSB program, which in itself is excellent .

Christine Scheer avatar

Christine Scheer

Hi Sal, I love my boxing program too! All my best, Christine

Michael Krukar avatar

Michael Krukar

Hi Christine,
Your attitude is great. This condition can be very challenging and it does not get easier. Exercise is great and your running is pretty inspiring.
We will fly to Minneapolis on Thursday and the back home thru Phoenix on Tuesday. Flying is a challenge for me but the family event is very
important. You are right Christine it is all about stepping up to the event. Blessings, Mike

Christine Scheer avatar

Christine Scheer

Hi Mike, Thanks! I hope your family event went well. All my best, Christine

Louis Comitini avatar

Louis Comitini

Hi, Fantastic to hear you all completed the 5 K walk/run/jog I was diagnosed 5 years ago this August at 55 years old, but as most of us probably had PD for at least 2 years prior. I rarely exercised before diagnosis, but was always a weekend warrior Hockey,softball and and other fast moving sport as long as it was competitive.
After being diagnosed, I began the exercise journey and have not stopped since August of 2018. I run/jog/walk 5 to 6K 4 to 5 days a week. I really enjoy this more than anything right now, 2 to 3 times a week I have a personal trainer for 1 1/2 hours. I try to bike after work in the spring/summer and fall. I try to stretch everyday, but I should stretch more often. After dinner Watching TV or a movie in the evening. It's difficult for me to stay still so I do calf raises usually 5 sets of 20, and 5 sets of squats (no weights) just straight squats. I try to stay away from 70% chocolate or any sugar snacks but this is also difficult for me !!! :) I lost 40 pounds since, but I wish to gain a few pounds back, it's hard to gain for me as I take 4 Levo/dopa's a day plus an extended version as well. I try not to eat any protein or not too much an hour prior to taking my Levo/dopa. If I do eat protein like a P& B sandwich or a hamburger, I'm screwed for an hour or so. I try to eat protein for dinner! Would love to share my ups and downs with PD! Have a great week, and let's all keep on exercising as much as possible.

Christine Scheer avatar

Christine Scheer

Thanks Louis! Yes, exercise is really the magic bullet. Take care, Christine

Jim Coon avatar

Jim Coon

Christine - just found this website and have been reading your “posts”. I enjoy your sense of humor and what you share about your PD journey. I do my best to get my PD work done and be through with the disease by 9am. Doesn’t always work but I refuse to be defined by Parkinson’s. Your writing is inspiring and I wanted to thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. Wishing you all the best - Jim

Christine Scheer avatar

Christine Scheer

Thanks Jim!


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