A Tribute to my Doctor
January 2006 I was in my doctor's office getting an injection in my shoulder for a nagging nerve impingement issue. I showed him my tremor and asked him when he thought that would stop. Surprised, he said something like “that has nothing to do with your nerve impingement; you need to see a neurologist.” I said “what do you think it is?” he said “well I think Parkinson’s Disease but you are too young” at which point I said “well how old is Michael J. Fox?” he said “good point”. Looking back, I had symptoms, which I did not know were PD related, back in the 90’s.
I saw my first neurologist April 2006, PD diagnosis June 2006. November 2006, my mother called me and told me about a doctor, he saw me the next day; it was love at first sight.
In March of 2008 I was asked to submit an article about my doctor as he was nominated for the Humanism in Medicine award. Below is my submission which will help you understand my optimism:
Trust: According to Webster means to have faith, belief, reliance, and expectations. He embodies these concepts to me. When one faces dire consequences many individuals turn to a certain faith however that is perceived. To me it shines glaringly through with him.
He possesses the rare qualities: patience, listening, understanding, as well as keen insights, knowledge, a genuine desire to help, undergo rigorous research and the deepening of his understanding of the elemental science of his field.
During the time I have been his patient many others have expressed similar thoughts and beliefs in this great healer/researcher/practitioner.
At first, I stood transfixed in awe of this doctor’s distinction. During the clinical time his caring ability to communicate and encourage became evident.
His enthusiasm became more infectious than the very maladies he seeks to remedy.
Now, to me, his most elevated role is he as a friend. He has become a cherished friend, indeed, an image of hope and relief.
The NPF hosted in Chicago a Young Onset conference. The entire staff was wonderful; in general, a well run event full of great information. I’ve also had the privilege of meeting some wonderful people helping the cause including Lonnie Ali who runs her husband's campaign.
Frustrations: after my diagnosis people were saying “you don’t have PD you are too young” or “you don’t have PD, you don’t have it on both sides” or “you are in denial” because I was handling it so well. The fact of the matter is I never asked myself “why me” I felt blessed it was not something worse. Aside from having the great neurologist and staff, I have responded incredibly well to the meds. I am surrounded by a great support system from family to friends with very little talk of PD other than jokes of me making great martinis. Levity is therapeutic and not dwelling on the disease is paramount.
You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.
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