Recently, I received a call from the rehab facility where our Parkinson's support group meets. The lady gave me a name of a person who "needed to be contacted" and showed an interest in joining the group. I took the number and forgot about it for a day or so. As I started making plans for our annual picnic, I saw the sticky note on my roster of members and decided to give This man a call. I'm so glad I didn't pass up this opportunity.
A child answered, with a lengthy pause before speaking to my intended party. His voice was weak and nervous-sounding. After a few of the "formalities" of informing him when we met, membership, programs, etc., we got to the meat of the conversation. "I'm 49 - honestly- and have been diagnosed since 1994," I shared. His response left my mouth gaping.
At 27, He was diagnosed, and he was now only 38. He had been through DBS (deep brain stimulation) and was still having difficulty with tremors and dyskinesias. He was also in the midst of a divorce and custody battles.
I lamented, "You've been enduring this battle all alone?" He then shared how he had become somewhat a "recluse" for the past 11 years. For 11 years, he had been trying to fight the war of severe tremors plus all the other PD symptoms, was disabled and having financial difficulties, and was now fighting the losing battle of divorce . . . all of this alone! What's so sad is that he lived within 10 miles of my home.
After swallowing the lump in my throat, I quickly shared with him some online sites for information and support. Then I invited him to our picnic and exchanged e-mail addresses. My heart melted as he told his story - one that needed to be shared immediately after his diagnosis was given, not 11 years later.
I was an elementary principal - in the limelight of the community's eyes. My symptoms, diagnosis, and battle with Parkinson's were followed by many from the onset until my disability retirement. Even then, my network of support was insufficient to beat the depression that followed. It has only been the past year that I feel that I have overcome the inevitable depression monster.
As I hung up the phone and immediately sent a follow-up e-mail I wondered, how many other young onset victims were out there? How many were becoming a "recluse' as he had described? How many could/would have benefitted emotionally from being able to share their battle with job security, raising children, weathering relationship changes or treatment options? I shuttered to think. Although I was thankful that I had opened this door of opportunity, I still shed a tear of remorse for not finding it earlier.
This journal entry tells lots! His daughter is 7 years old
This man is in desperate need of a new computer - as far as we know we just need the tower with the works (CD drive, decent amt of ram, decent hard drive, sound card, modem etc. the basics) to get on the internet for some support from us.
We are asking for a $5 donation from anyone who is willing to help us in our cause. Please email us if you can contribute. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Willocks aka tnpeg aka pegleg
Charles Black aka chasmob
Tim Foley aka tpfrph
386 Old Watauga Road
Watauga, TN 37694