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Sep 09

Jerry’s Story

JerryIn the summer of 2003, I knew something was wrong while sea kayaking in Lake Superior.  My balance was off and my arms lost coordination to paddle well. Two months later at the age of 56, I received a diagnosis of Parkinson’s. 

My physical abilities were declining so rapidly I thought ability to live an independent functional life was about over. A low dosage of Sinemet brought me back physically along with a daily workout program of weight lifting and aerobic exercise. My love of travel gives me incentive to stay physically and mentally fit. 

I retired three years ago to give me the time to travel. Trips have included kayaking the Florida Everglades and the Alaskan coast, canoeing Artic rivers, climbing volcanoes in Russia, quail hunting in the deserts of Arizona and mountains of Idaho, and hiking in New Mexico. 

I returned in February from a cruise above the Artic Circle along the Norwegian coast. To warm up, I went hiking in Arizona during March. In spite of my workouts and medicine, my Parkinson’s progresses. I’m now on a minimal dosage of Stalevo and Azilect. My balance has declined. I walk with a shuffle and am more rigid. This has caused me to cancel out of a two month wilderness canoe in the Artic trip this summer. 

I’m not about to stop traveling though - just adjust a bit. I’ll be camping for several weeks in Wyoming this summer and have hunting trips scheduled in Nebraska, Kansas and Scotland this fall. Having trips planned, gives me incentive to continue my daily workouts and keeps my spirits high. I know my disease will progress, but I plan to stay in the best condition possible and my travels will help me look forward to and enjoy the future.