Getting older with young onset Parkinson’s disease provides a unique perspective. When I first noticed a tremor, in my late teens, it slowly and unexpectedly transitioned into many more symptoms. As time pressed on, I saw my foot drag, uneven shoe wear, posture problems, micrographia or small handwriting, mobility issues, dystonia, and more. Parkinson’s disease is an illness with no cure, no known cause, and is still a mystery to the medical community and the public, in need of recognition and de-stigmatization.
Young onset Parkinson’s disease (YOPD) will always be what I have, no matter how old I get. Diagnosed at the age of 23 but with symptoms at 17, I am now 56, but I will always be young or early onset. As this illness manifests and I age, I am challenged to maintain the double jeopardy that comes with chronic illness and living over half a century. I am so grateful, hopeful, and motivated to still be offering my vision and perspective to those who are willing to listen.
If you have Young Onset Parkinson’s disease (YOPD), here are some resources you may want to consider: