It is May of 1996, two days after I was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease at the age of 46. My husband, Tom and I arrive early at a young-onset PD support group. People who we assumed were our age arrive -- limping, some struggling to be ambulatory with walkers, others in wheelchairs who had long given up dreams of walking, and one person even arriving on a stretcher.
I don't remember one word spoken at that meeting. However, the feeling that has remained permanently etched for nearly 14 years. -- horror. We freaked out. We had nightmares for three nights. If this is what young-onset PD looked like, how could normal or late-onset possibly look worse? We wanted no part of any onset PD.
That was the one and only support group meeting that we attended for 10 years. Even though I was a young-onset person with PD, what we desperately needed at that time was a support group for the recently diagnosed.
Nearly 14 years later, a dynamic duo from Denver emerges. Diane Cook and Betsy Vierck are facilitating a group for the recently diagnosed. Both are newly diagnosed with PD. Diane is a management consultant and Betsy is a medical writer.
We wish them well in their new endeavor I only wish there was a Diane/Betsy team around when I was diagnosed.