A colleague and I were visiting a few days ago about Parkinson’s Disease. She shared with me that her aunt had PD and what the family went through when it came to timing of her medications, physician’s visits, and caring for her throughout the disease progression. We talked about the advances in research and how I was involved as an advocate for education, awareness, increased clinical trial participation, and seeking the best quality of care possible for those living with Parkinsons.
She then asked me a question that I don’t remember having been asked before that day. “At which point did you go from being a patient to being a patient-advocate?” The question took me back to a Sunday morning about four and a half years ago when I realized that this disease that had moved in uninvited and unannounced was not going to be a focal point in my life as I knew it up to then. The focus needed to shift to others that were dealing with much greater issues related to this disease than I was. This, of course, was after having gone through several months of a deep depression, trying to figure out what the future held for my family and me.
I would say that after the most trying times of my life, I found it easy to transition from a patient to a patient-advocate because of what I feel that we are all called to do, and that is to be of service to others. I had a purpose in life that included the biggest fight yet and I promised to do what I could, while I still could, to make a difference in the lives of others whom couldn’t speak for themselves.