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Through my YOPD journey, I have talked to people from all over the world via social media who were not told the importance mental wellness plays in disease management.  

 

For so many, the physician only focused on the diagnosis, clinical assessment, evaluation, and medical management of the disease. This leaves an entire population left to cope with the overwhelming emotional toll often caused by receiving the initial diagnosis and beyond.

I was incensed and angry.  Why couldn't doctors just incorproate mental wellness into the diagnosis process? Everytime I heard another story, I realized that my anger was not productive.   

Once I got off the couch following my diagnosis, I created a blog and developed a mentoring program.  Then, one day, I was asked to be a guest on the Young Onset Parkinson's Network's podcast https://yopn.podbean.com/. Following this interview, I was asked to be a co-host on the show.  

I found my calling. My parents would be so happy to know that my talkative and passionate personality was being put to good use. I now had a platform to educate people, who like me, had no idea about the importance mental wellness plays in the overall managment of the disease. 

Check out the series.

Episode 1

Maintaining Emotional Health is as important as the medical management of Parkinson's

Episode 2:

Navigating through Life

Episode 3:

Managing Your Diagnosis: Developing a Wellness Plan

Mental Wellness is as important as the medical management of any disease. 

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I was lucky.  I sought out help, and it was the best thing that I did to save myself.

Life throws curveballs.

 

Mine seemed like a rapid fire as loss, fear, and more loss dominated 2021 and 2022.

 

On May 6, 2021, my life once again veered off the path with the death of my father in May: Lee’s tonsil cancer diagnosis in October and my mom’s death in December. Overwhelmed is an understatement, yet I had to put my grief and Parkinson’s on hold to take care of Lee.

 

Does adversity make you stronger? I always looked at it as an unnecessary evil. Over the years, even before my diagnosis, I let many lessons slip right past me. This formed me, and, at times, made me feel lost and alone.

While my YOPD diagnosis has significantly changed my life forever, several things have changed for the better such as my cohosting gig on the "Living Well Starts Here".

 

Let's just say that the little girl who talked alot and had a vibrant vocabulary by the age of 6 has now found her calling.

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