I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at age 50. I had a busy job supervising itinerant special education providers in rural eastern Oregon. With two kids at home and hard-working husband, the stress of the job and the progression of the disease took me down.
I started researching the disease and I kept seeing this image of the typical person with Parkinson’s Disease. The old man with a bent back, tremors in his hand, shuffling walk, stiff body and problems with his thinking did not fit me at all! I was an active woman just entering middle age with dreams of travel in my retirement.
I refused to be reduced to this inaccurate description and set out to change the picture to that of a modern woman with a progressive neurological disease for which there is no cure.
My doctor told me to exercise, eat well, and take my medication and I would have 5-10 “good” years. I decided to do more than that. I thought I could combat the progression of the disease by doing the activities I loved in my youth.
Shooting baskets, playing guitar and hiking were some of those activities. I added tai chi, massage, acupuncture, bike riding, and kayaking to the list of traditional and non-traditional treatments for Parkinson’s. I took my medicine and suffered the side effects which caused obsessions, one of which was eating.
Great experiences while I walked over 1000 miles on the Camino de Santiago in France and Spain and with TEAM Pedaling for Parkinson’s and Davis Phinney Foundation while cycling across IOWA (x4), lead me to start writing. As time passed and more people read my stories I was encouraged to publish. My first novel, a memoir, was published in early 2019. It is titled THE RIBBON OF ROAD AHEAD: One Woman’s Remarkable Journey with Parkinson’s Disease.
Living with the degenerative neurological disease, Parkinson’s, ULTREIA has become a word that guides me. I have chosen it as the name of my business ULTREIA BOOKS. It comes from Latin and old French and means “unfailing courage”. In the old days, pilgrims would call “Ultreïa” to each other as an encouragement to “Go up, go further!” Nowadays we would say “You can do this thing”. It takes courage to live with Parkinson’s. I hope you will see in me that I live a life of
optimism and hope where there are no boundaries
just unfailing courage