Finding Camaraderie in My Life With Parkinson's Disease

Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” –Helen Keller

Today did not start out well. I woke up at 1:30 a.m. with a terrible headache and still had it when I got out of bed at 7:00am. Fatigue was ever-present and I knew I would have to push hard to go to Rock Steady Boxing today. I was wondering how I could possibly keep up my energy level to get through class. I had visions of myself laying on the bench while everyone else would be boxing.

I am so glad I pushed myself to get to class today. One if the best things (and there are many) about Rock Steady Boxing is the support and camaraderie all of us experience while in class.  Although we are all at different stages of the disease, we each have our own unique daily challenges.

Part of our class preparation is the wrapping of our hands. As I observed my fellow classmates with Parkinson’s performing this pre-class ritual, I was filled with emotion, almost to the point of tears.  We were all dealing with some PD-related issue of the day, whether it was fatigue, tremors or difficulties with medications. Yet we all came to class in spite of our individual difficulties. We instinctively know this class is the best thing for us. I am honored to be a part of such a dedicated group of people. Some say I inspire them (I am in the earlier stages of PD, so my symptoms are not always readily apparent), yet it is they who inspire me!

The support we give each other in class is palpable and the coach and volunteers are always there for us with compassionate eyes. This is not to say they go easy on us — quite the opposite. They inspire and motivate us to push harder, yet they also know when to back off.

As we performed our drills today, we all enjoyed a few good laughs and motivated each other with our cheers of encouragement. After class was over today, I believe most of us were so glad we came. Camaraderie was the catalyst that had many of us feeling a lot better leaving class than when we first started.

Who are we?

Rock Steady!

What do we do?

Fight, fight, fight!

This story originally appeared on Slipped Away.

Getty image by Fisher Studio.

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