My husband and I #UniteForParkinsons because he’s my rock


Author: Tonya WalkerPublished: 15 March 2017

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In the lead-up to the #UniteForParkinsons campaign on World Parkinson’s Day (11 April), our regular guest blogger Tonya swaps her love of fashion, for her love of her husband and son in this heartfelt post – and tells us why her life is “Parkinson’s perfect”

A mere two months after my husband and I took our wedding vows, my left arm stopped swinging when I walked. I initially assumed it was an injury from exercise or some other minor medical issue. Two years later, my husband and I sat in the doctor’s office and heard the words that would forever change our lives: “You have a classic case of Parkinson’s disease.” At the time, neither one of us knew what that really meant.

We did not fully appreciate the gravity of the diagnosis. How could we? We were in our early thirties, the proud parents of a baby boy, with thriving careers. Our life was supposed to be perfect. I use the term “our”, because Parkinson’s is a journey that we share together. It wasn’t until recently that I fully appreciated the emotional impact of my early onset diagnosis on my husband.

The following excerpt is from a blog post my husband wrote describing his first experience at Parkinson’s convention:

I was overcome with the feeling that my wife simply did not belong with this group. They were at different stages of their lives. They had lived through more experiences and worked entire careers. Most of them probably had grandchildren my son’s age or older. Even 10 years after her diagnosis, my wife could not have looked more out of place in this crowd. It was at that moment that I began to truly understand, for the first time, what it must feel like to be a younger person living with a disease that typically sets in at a much later stage in life.

Internally, I experienced a range of raw emotions that I would later share with my wife. Upon reflection, I think the experience revealed that I was still dealing with some form of denial about the realities of her diagnosis. Without question, I was hit with the thought of “why did this happen to her” as I looked around the room.”

Walker family running

My husband has been with me every step of the way on this crazy journey with Parkinson’s, through the good and the bad. He’s just as present, if not more present, than the day we took our wedding vows. For our ten-year anniversary, we renewed our vows, and in that moment I knew his commitment to me was stronger than ever.

He’s loving, caring, and always has a plan. He is my rock, my strength. I get out of bed every day and choose joy because of him and our young son, who is wise way beyond his years because his mum has Parkinson’s. My husband and son are my greatest supporters.

Tonya Walker with son

Eleven years later my life is perfect. Maybe not the white picket fence, Norman Rockwell kind of perfect. It’s Parkinson’s perfect thanks to the unwavering support of my incredible husband who stands by his vows – for better, for worse, in sickness and in health, till death do us part. That’s why we’re taking part in the #UniteForParkinsons campaign on World Parkinson’s Day.

Join Tonya on World Parkinson’s Day in helping raise awareness, and share your stories using #UniteForParkinsons on social media. Go to the campaign website for more details

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  • Kathy Shea Holden

    Tonya, just when I think your words cannot amaze me more, you knock it out of the park. You are, like me, are blessed with an amazing and, perfect spouse for this journey.

  • Donald moore

    Hi i have seen my neurologist 4 times now my last visit he told me that he believes I have parkinsons, he asked me to walk and told me that I don’t swing my arms I suffer from headaches neck stiffness and dizziness which I was diagnosed with vertigo when I presented to emergency dept by ambulance I have to have a carpal tunnel test in a few weeks I don’t feel like I have parkinsons though I am 58 this year I don’t have tremors

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