How Rock Steady Boxing for Parkinson's Disease Is Pushing Me to 'Dig Deep'

After two months of Rock  Steady Boxing for Parkinson’s Disease (PD) classes, two times per week, I cannot say I notice an improvement in my PD symptoms. I feel I am progressing  rapidly with my fine motor skills worsening, fatigue increasing and I am slow moving in most elements of daily living. However, my symptoms could be worse, but Rock Steady may be helping me slow the progression somewhat. That is the unpredictability of this disease.

On the plus side, there is so much to love about Rock Steady. I am doing an activity with people just like me who struggle with the same challenges of this disease. We all help and support each other; the camaraderie is off the charts and our coach is so encouraging and compassionate. After one class, a participant couldn’t unwrap the tape that goes on our hands under our gloves and I was so happy to be able to help him. A few minutes later, I couldn’t put my coat on; he was right behind me and offered a helping hand which I graciously accepted.

What is so daunting for me while taking this class is how I am having so much difficulty trying to “dig deep” – something I was always able to call on as a cyclist and a dancer. Is it because of the PD-induced symptoms of apathy and lack of motivation, or do I have no more dopamine left that day to fuel me, or am I just out of shape? Once again, another facet of the unpredictability of this disease that makes it so difficult to find relief from the symptoms.

“Digging deep” never came easy to me, but I would always persevere. As a cyclist, I remember one ride in the mountains of Mallorca, Spain, where I
was separated from the group in a hurricane-like storm. I had to make it back 10 miles to the hotel alone on my bike, going downhill on the steep mountain switchbacks in a pelting downpour with gale force winds. I was able to “dig deep” and make it back in one piece without crashing.

woman biking in mallorca, spain

As a dancer, I could always push through doing the choreography one more time in an exhausting rehearsal even though we had been dancing for several hours after I had put in a full day at my 9-5 job. Again, I was able to find that ability to “dig deep.”

woman dancing on jones beach

Now, in Rock Steady, I am once again trying to “dig deep” because I truly believe it will help alleviate my PD symptoms in the long run. My “digging deep” in the past seems like a piece of cake compared to what I am dealing with now.

As Steve would always say about his German client-focused cycle training camps in Mallorca, “Dies ist kein Kindergeburtstag” (this is no children’s birthday party).

And so it is with Rock Steady boxing…

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Lead photo via gorodenkoff on Getty Images

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Parkinson's Disease

Photo of Rev. Jesse Jackson

Rev. Jesse Jackson Announces He Has Parkinson's Disease

On Friday, Rev. Jesse Jackson, 76, announced he has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in a statement that those who’ve ignored symptoms of their chronic illness may relate to. At first, the civil rights leader said, he didn’t want to make time to figure out what was ailing him, noting that he and his family began noticing [...]
Doctor talking to boy.

How My Childhood Parkinson's Disease Diagnosis Transformed Me Into an Advocate

I never planned to become a patient engagement advocate. Quite the opposite, in fact. I always wanted to be the next Jacques Cousteau and sail the oceans in my own boat. Having Parkinson’s disease from the age of 8 rather scuppered my chances of a career at sea, but gave me a completely different set [...]

When I've Fallen and Can't Get Up Because of Parkinson's Disease

How many times have you had a chuckle over the bad acting in the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up” commercial? I know I have had a few laughs while watching it. Perhaps it was a protective reaction since none of us like to face what might be a real possibility if we live [...]
kanchan bhat as a little girl and her grandfather

Reflecting on the Memories of Being His Granddaughter

Firsts. Firsts hold a special meaning in everyone’s life. Firsts have special memories. Be it your first medal, your first job or your first love. A year back she got her first. Her first long write-up. And nothing could be more special. Her first had memories, her first had emotions, her first had love, her [...]