There are many questions to be answered when you have been diagnosed with an illness there is no cure for, and progressively will worsen over time. When patients are first diagnosed they experience disbelief, anger, fear and depression. These feelings are normal and can be used to create a positive attitude for controlling the disease instead of the disease controlling you. New strides are being made in treatment methods but when it comes down to it, you must learn to accept it and make the changes to live with the disease.
You may be afraid to tell people about your disease, worry that it may affect your relationships, jobs, and your privacy and independence. The questions are unending, how will it progress, how fast will it go, what is it going to do to my career and family life. Some questions may be answered by talking with other people diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Searching the Internet or the public library is helpful in finding information. You may choose to take part in groups specifically for patients with Parkinson’s disease. Someone who has already gone through the stages you are going through can help you cope and ease the stress and apprehension you experience because of the diagnosis.
Patients with this disease will find their life changing and will need to learn to adapt to changing circumstances. They may have thoughts that are intrusive to them, high levels of anxiety, anger, and may withdraw socially from those around them. They may not be able to handle even small frustrations and may become self-absorbed in their body. If you or someone you love are experiencing these symptoms, they need to be faced and will need courage to seek the help they will need.
Work and private lives will need to be changes. Hobbies you once enjoyed you may have to drop and you will need to find something else that you can enjoy. If you play an instrument, you may need to begin going to concerts, listening to music or songwriting. Adjustments in life styles can be made so you can still enjoy the activities you love. You may choose to play 9 holes of golf instead of 18, and may substitue watching tennis matches instead of playing them.
Each Parkinson’s patient is different and may react to the diagnosis in different ways. Their work habits, normal everyday routines, and relationships may need to be adapted to the progression of their disease. Medication is available to help manage symptoms and you can live a satisfying life and continue to work in your career. You may want to look at your career sensibly and see if changes should be made. Do you need to find a job that requires less fine motor skills? Do you need to look into applying for disability. If your job requires you to work with machines, you may need to talk to your employer and discuss the possibility of changing positions.
Many will be able to meet these challenges head on, others may need to take some time in adjusting to the changes that will come into their lives and of those of their loved ones. There is no right or wrong way to react, it is normal to worry about the future but you will find the support you need from close friends, loved ones, family and support groups. It is important that you have a doctor that you like and trust to guide you through the progression of this disease.