I share below Larry’s heartfelt reflection on living with Parkinson’s. Larry is a great friend, one that I would never have met if we did not have this common diagnosis. He is a man of integrity, compassion, and kindness. I am lucky to have met Larry, his family, and many other wonderful people through this unfortunate journey of living with PD. Larry was a leader on the Board of Directors of the Connecticut Advocates for Parkinson’s for five years and has been a member of Beat PD Today for about four years. Larry is a true fighter and is doing all he can to beat this disease.
Battling Parkinson’s Disease – Reflections
By Larry Orkins
I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease about 14 years ago while in my forties. Over time, battling PD has taught me humility, and how to have hope regarding my condition as it progressed.
I will always remember the day I got diagnosed with PD. I was ambivalent about the diagnosis, knowing next to nothing about it, and it took a long time to admit to anyone, even to my wife, that I was devastated and very, very scared. Nothing like an incurable decease to make you feel vulnerable and alone as you learn more about your medical condition. But with greater understanding comes acceptance, and acceptance allows people into your world who really do mean well when they ask, “how are you doing”.
But most of all, reflecting on the past 14 years with PD, I will never take for granted how much PD has affected our family. My wife is a hero, counselor, and Mom besides being my caregiver and best friend. She and the kids suffer burnout too, so we take PD one day at a time.
To this day I am still learning about what Parkinson’s has in store for me. But I am a different person now. I no longer wake up every morning feeling that I have successfully made it through another night. Instead, I try to focus on what I can influence versus what I have no control over. I won’t necessarily be the one to help find a cure, but I can attend and participate in support group meetings to stay informed, diligently exercise to encourage healthy body/healthy mind strategies and participate in clinical trials.
I’ll continue to fight the battle with Parkinson’s with a little help from my friends.