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Life Can Change in a Heart Beat

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Growing up I was very fortunate to have a family that never had any health problems. My family was always active and played on multiple sports teams or instructed yoga classes on the weekends. My Two sisters, Emily and Abbey play volleyball at a very high level which requires a ton of traveling. I play travel hockey, therefore every weekend my parents were gone with us trying to keep up with our busy schedules. It never crossed my mind once that someone in my family would suffer from a health problem. I have a strong close family. When something happens to someone that they can't control, it sickens me.


My Mom had been very fatigued and not herself the past couple of months and we didn't know what could possibly be wrong. My Mom started going to different doctors all over the country from Ohio to Florida and to New York searching to find the unknown answer.   What's wrong with her? After about a month of constant doctor appointments and late night thoughts of wondering what could possibly be the problem: we had our answer. It was May 2, 2015,  I remember everything that happened that day like it was just yesterday,  I remember waking up on the slower, sunny, sticky Saturday morning not expecting to hear news that would impact my life so much.  I slowly walked down to the kitchen with the bright sun in my eyes and my mom said to me “Tony,  I want to let you know that I found out what's wrong with me.”


In my head I was thinking holy crap, what she's about to say might turn my life upside down. I looked right into her eyes and saw her dark blue eyes light up before she told me the news. It was very clear something was wrong with my mom's health but we didn't know how long the problem could potentially last or what the future holds for us. My mom said “ I am diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease.”


It scared me half to death. I froze up as quick as an icicle on a winter day. I instantly asked what is Parkinson's Disease?  I didn’t think the disease would be something good.I was secretly hoping this disease she faces wasn’t going to be a big problem. My mom explained to me that Parkinson's disease is a progressive disease of the nervous system marked by a tremor, muscular rigidity and slow movement.  I looked at my mom and I said “this is just a another bump in the road that we have to overcome.”


My mom is very tough. Throughout her appointments she had a mind set full of positive thoughts.  This really helps the process tremendously. After first hearing the recent news about my mom's health I was upset. It hit me harder and harder the longer it was on my mind. I sat in my room frustrated for hours reflecting on what just happened to my mom. While in my room thoughts would pop up in my head and all  I could do is ask myself why? I would ask myself what did my mom do wrong to deserve this? Why does my mom have to be the one to have this disease?  Like father, like son it took us a couple of weeks to fully understand the challenges she's going to face day in and day out and what the future holds.


As I look back now after everything has settled down I can fully reflect on my mom’s disease.  My family goes through something new each and every day.  I learned so much about life in the past couple of months than I did my whole life. The most important thing  I learned was no matter how difficult or hard something is you have to keep moving forward with your life. This scenario didn't shut down my life rather it taught me to push through hard times.  When you think you have it bad, look around I guarantee someone has is worse.  You can't compare this disease with someone that maybe lost their mom to cancer or a heart disease.


I’m lucky and very fortunate that my mom can continue to do what she loves to do.  This disease isn't holding my mom back.  Throughout this journey I had realized how easy my life was before my mom was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. Before she was diagnosed she would race home from work to make dinner for me and my sisters, then she would take me to my hockey practice which was 45 minutes away. Afterward we would come home from practice and she would make my lunch along with my sisters lunch.  On top of that, she would have to finish up her work papers for work, it was like watching a three ring circus. I was blessed with a mother that was willing to do anything for me and my sisters.  I believe this disease made my whole family a lot closer.  As a family, we are constantly keeping in touch with our aunts, uncles and cousins. Sometimes randomly my cousins stop by at the house to hangout with us to ensure us we are a family that has everyone's back no matter the situation.


Now that my mom is diagnosed with her disease she can't always do what she did before. My mom can't run around like she did when she would race home from work to make us dinner, take us to practice, make our lunches and then do her work stuff. Before my mom was doing everything around the house I didn't realize how much she did every day. Now that  I matured a little I realize I can help out a lot more.  I can make my own lunch,  I can do more chores around the house without my parents having to tell me. 


As we continue to fight the challenges with my mom,  I will always try to be positive and push forward.  My mom is continuing to punch Parkinson's Disease in the face. When I see that happening it makes me very proud.




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