Not on the Journey Alone by Mary Lynn Merriman
A serious health issue can disrupt all aspects of your, or your loved ones, life, whether it’s a chronic or life-threatening illness such as cancer, or a major health event such as a stroke, heart attack, or debilitating injury. Such a diagnosis can bring with it fear and worry, grief, a feeling of being overwhelmed, and a desire to search for answers and help.
There are steps you can take to better cope with the new situation, ease the stress and mental anguish that often accompany serious illness, and find ways to navigate this challenging journey. One of those is seeking out and joining a support group. That’s just what Peggy Pardini did, just five days after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
“I was diagnosed in the summer of 2019,” she said. “I had not presented with a tremor, and so for a long time thought I can’t have Parkinson’s. I thought it was stress or being too busy.”
By the time she went to a neurologist, Peggy had researched her symptoms and discovered that, indeed, they could be indicators of Parkinson’s, which her neurologist confirmed.
At that appointment, Peggy was given helpful resources including one for the Parkinson’s Support Group at Kadlec’s Healthplex.
“I wondered, ‘What is this group going to be like?’ I had never been to the Healthplex. I had hardly ever been sick, but now I have this new chapter in my life. So, five days later, I went to the Healthplex for the support group,” she said.
When she arrived, she was welcomed.
“There were people there who had been diagnosed for ten years, five years, six years, three years, and mine was just five days. They were all surprised I was there so soon, but I knew I needed direction,” said Peggy. “I wanted to see how people were doing with this disease, how they were coping, and maybe see what my future could be like. I realized that they were ordinary people, and it made me feel a lot more comfortable as I came to terms with having a neurologically progressive condition. I thought that these people could be my friends, and we could be together for a long time.”
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