By Tony Tebbutt
A shiver of nervousness ran up and down my spine while waiting to see how many would show up on February 1, the second meeting of the newly-formed Parkinson’s Support Team. All indications pointed to a healthy turnout, but you never know. The final count was over 30 people, roughly split 50:50 between those with the condition and their partners or support squad.
This was half more than at our first meeting and I’m convinced there are more individuals living in Big Canoe who are unaware they have the malady or are not ready to come out of the PDC.
PDC stands for Parkinson’s Disease Closet and is a term I coined for newly-diagnosed patients who almost always feel uncomfortable about letting others know of their condition. As they gradually recognize their glass is half-full versus half-empty, that the pathway for each patient is unique, that the prospect of many remaining years leading a full and active life is possible, their discomfort dissipates.
A catalyst to this realization is the opportunity to speak with others wearing the same skin and therefore having a good understanding of the challenges an average patient has to meet and overcome. What really brought this home was the presence of humor and laughter as we shared stories of our everyday Parkonditions!
Meetings also present an opportunity to educate on related aspects of Parkinson’s. At the February meeting, we were fortunate to have Patricia Radford from the Michael J. Fox Foundation give an update about how drugs are funded and developed. Patricia also touched on drugs that are in the pipeline and give great hope for the future. Shiraz Alikhan gave an overview of the wonderful resources available from the Wellness Collaborative.
Our next meeting will likely be in a couple months, but questions are welcome by contacting Tony Tebbutt at