I have experienced many challenging events in my lifetime — but by far the most challenging was when I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2001.
Parkinson's disease is a debilitating, progressive motor-neuron disease. Every person suffering from Parkinson’s disease experiences it differently. For me, I saw a constant and dramatic deterioration in my physical, mental, and emotional state of being.
In the years following my diagnosis, I developed severe shaking and tremors in my hands and legs. My ability to move became slow and difficult. I felt stiffness in my arms and legs and I had trouble with balance and falling down.
By 2010, I had broken a toe twice, fractured my foot, and broken my leg from falling and tripping. Emotionally, I suffered from depression, anxiety, and irritability. But worst of all was the speech and swallowing problems that led to severe coughing and choking fits on a daily basis.
My personal irony of being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease is that my passion in life is creating miniature art and handmade porcelain dolls. I was at the height of my doll-making career when I was diagnosed. I was an independent woman who was able to craft the tiniest pieces of art with my hands. But in just a few years I wasn't able to feed myself, work, or even get in or out of the bath without help.
By the end of 2014, my Parkinson’s symptoms were unbearable and causing extreme discomfort and disability. My legs were trembling so badly that they were causing my entire body to shake. I felt unable to carry on with my work and life.
In January 2015, I was so depressed that I did not think I could live through the end of the year. I was preparing for suicide.