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Michelle Lane

Parkinson’s helped me find my voice.

In 1998, my life changed forever. My family and I were spending a relaxing weekend in a cabin in New Orleans. I’ve always loved cooking and in true Louisiana fashion, most of the day was centered around preparing a huge Cajun meal. After dinner, I began to notice a slight tremor in my left index finger. I didn’t think it was anything serious. I even joked around, saying it must be because how much time I spent in the kitchen.

Over the next two years, my tremor became worse, spreading to other parts of my body and affecting my speech and ability to walk. Finally, on June 13th 2000, seven days before my 13th wedding anniversary, I was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s disease. I was 32 years old.

It’s been 17 years since I received that news.  People often ask me how my life has changed since then. Before Parkinson’s, I was really shy. But that’s not me anymore. I’m an advocate for people who’re suffering from this.  It sounds crazy, but Parkinson’s helped me find my voice. And I’m lucky to have a family that keeps me motivated and inspired even on my hardest days. So, I’m thankful. Life does go on.