Alicia The Incurable Optimist DIAGNOSED AT 40 The crazy thing about my symptoms is that they all started around my 40th birthday…like a stiff neck and yoga wouldn’t loosen me up. I went to my chiropractor he said I was in alignment. I would be running and my left foot would like skid like there was gum stuck to it. My energy after I would workout was like I got hit by a bus…crazy stuff that I just chalked up to turning 40! So this Feb. my husband and I were in Iowa to support our daughter at swimming Big 10’s and I went to use my Blackberry to get directions to the restaurant and my left hand started shaking uncontrollably my speech was slurring. My husband thought I might have had a stroke so when we got back to Michigan, my husband took me to ER where they ordered all kinds of tests that all showed to be normal (ct, mri, blood work etc.). The ER referred me to a neurologist and this is where I was told I was normal by this doctor of Neurology who left me a message on my cell phone! The next day I made an appointment with my primary Dr. and he looked at me and said, “You do not look normal something is going on and I can’t put my finger on it!” My Dr. refereed me to a neurologist who he went to undergrad with at Michigan State but different medical schools. I met with Dr. Silverman and in the examination I found out that my left arm didn’t move when I walked and he asked me, “This other Neurologist said you were normal?” I said, “Yes that what he said, would you like to listen to the message?” He just shook his head. At this time Dr. Silverman said he would like to order a Dat Scan that will show levels of Dopamine. I said to him, “Well I know I’m not schizophrenic or have Alzheimer’s, are you checking me for Parkinson’s?” He said “don’t worry”, to just have the test done and he would see me next week. A week later I’m sitting in his office and I was like tell me I’m crazy tell me the test came back normal? He got really serious and he said no it came back abnormal! I was like WOW crazy stuff that I just thought I had because I turned 40… Listen to your body! Dr. Silverman prescribed me a medicine for Parkinson’s called Sinemet he said it will help with the symptoms of Parkinson disease. When life throws you are curve ball you just have to hit it out of the park! I am currently 43 years old with four incredible daughters 18, 16, 14 and 7. My husband Jim and I have been married for 21 years and to say the least the diagnosed came to us as a shock! My mom said if someone must get this disease “Alicia is your gal” she will find the tallest building and shout out the importance of awareness, research, and raising funds to support the cause! I believe one person has the power to make a difference in the world and that exactly what I intend to do! Alicia has created her own Optimism page to help raise funds for Parkinson’s Disease research and support services. Please support Alicia’s efforts by visiting her Optimism page today.