In trying something I loved as a kid, I found myself skating on thin ice

Having Parkinson's disease often means giving up dangerous hobbies

Christine Scheer avatar

by Christine Scheer |

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The winter of 2022 was spectacular here in southwestern Ontario. It was cold enough for our pond to freeze for the first time in many years. Most weekends were sunny and icy cold, and our extended family and friends would come to our farm for a skating party. When we got tired, we could rest beside the outdoor fire that my husband, John, had lit.

It felt so good to be outside getting fresh air, exercising, and socializing. I recently had deep brain stimulation (DBS) surgery to ease my Parkinson’s disease symptoms, so I was on top of the world!

I fondly remember ice skating as a child. I grew up in the suburbs of Montreal, Quebec. In the winter, after school, my sister and I would walk to one of the outdoor rinks near us, put on our skates, and stay until it got dark. Then, sitting in a snow bank, we would change out of our skates and into our boots and walk back home. It was cold, and I probably complained a lot, but I only have warm and cozy memories of that time.

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OK, maybe not

When our daughters were young, they often had friends over to skate on the weekends. However, it had been a long time since then, and we were all — OK, I was — a bit rusty on skates.

I was excited about reviving this weekend activity. I bought some new skates for myself and sharpened them, so when the weekend came, I was ready.

Our second weekend with the frozen pond arrived. John lit the fire, apple cider was simmering away in the crockpot, and I was ready to go!

As I mentioned, this was the second weekend we did this. The first weekend, my sister-in-law had fallen and broken her wrist. Did that set off any alarm bells for me? Of course not! The siren’s song came in the form of skaters whooshing past me and the laughter of friends and family.

I wore one of my daughter’s ski helmets, put on my skates, and was off!

About five minutes later, I was standing still on the ice. That’s it. Standing still, soaking up the cold January sunshine, happy to be alive.

The next thing I knew, I was looking up at the sky, flat on my back on the ice.

How’d I get there? Was it my balance? Did I pass out? I have no idea. I lay there momentarily, assessing if anything was hurting besides my pride.

Nothing was broken, and thank goodness I wore that helmet. I’d heard horror stories of people hitting their heads after DBS surgery and needing to have their wires adjusted.

The very next day, I returned the skates to the store. Honestly, I don’t need to skate ever again. Yes, I am giving up. The stakes are too high.

Telling myself I could do something too risky was just plain foolhardy.

I have to accept the fact that I have a movement disorder. Positive talk is not going to solve that problem. Positivity will, however, give me good memories and the ability to laugh at myself when I end up in awkward situations. Being positive will also help me keep on trucking — and boxing, running, cycling, and weight lifting. I just have to better judge what is safe for me.

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.


Donalda Turner avatar

Donalda Turner

Hi In May of this year I went to a neurologist, that came out of retirement, so I was only able to see her one time. She spent an hour with me and at the end of appointment said " in my 37 years experience I would say you have rigidity parkinson's" my life changed in that moment. I'm now on a year waiting list to see a neurologist and have taken steps myself to start healing my body. I really need to talk to other people with parkinson's as I could really use some support. Any suggesions?

Christine Scheer avatar

Christine Scheer

Hi Donalda, The Parkinson's News Today website has fantastic forums. You can check them out here:
Also, is there a Parkinson's Society where you live? They will usually offer support groups which can be very valuable.
Thank you for reaching out. All my best.

sevket adayılmaz avatar

sevket adayılmaz

ı thınk we h<ve to keep posıtıve thoughts ewhatever thıs sıckness brought to us. Thank you for thıs story.

Christine Scheer avatar

Christine Scheer

Hi! Yes! I am all for a positive attitude.

Maria avatar


Thank you for sharing your excapade with us. I'm sorry it did not have a happier outcome. I am proud of you for having a positive attitude. I know it is not easy. I hope that although ice skating is not in your future, you know you will make new memories in your future with or without PD and share new escapades with your friends and family. Life changes but there is always joy when we choose to see it.


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