Jackie and Michael's story

Fighting to Win by Michael Aslett, Parkinson’s Caregiver

One push with an index finger, a couple of wrist twists… and life would be changed forever with one word … Parkinson’s.

A near silent car journey from the neurologist’s office to home, a cup of tea, more silence. There’s only one life, now we need to live it to the fullest and we need to share everything.

Slowly a new life emerged-medication, taking over while still sharing,occasional silence and wondering. A life interrupted.A life of isolation ahead.

We both needed a fighting spirit to erupt and to explore new and different frontiers. Jackie, my wife and the Parkinson’s patient, is always there for others; an ESL teacher and resolver of human problems along the way. Me, Mike, just rolled along from one near crisis to the next. Each challenge seen as an opportunity. “It’s all about winning!” All will now change.Slowly we adjusted.  Quietly we changed habits but something was missing.Hard to define “missing.”

And then came “60 Minutes,” Lesley Stahl and Rock Steady Boxing.Shortly followed Barbara Kelly and Rock Steady Boxing -Hillsborough, in our neighborhood.

In one ninety-minute session on a Wednesday afternoon, the ‘missing’ went missing. The physical challenge was back and we were not alone; others were sharing our reality.We could share, join in, and help a little.

Over the months, Jackie has strengthened in body; not only fighting Parkinson’s, but turning back the years! On the list of who she is, she is an athlete before she is a patient. As important, mental isolation has gone and sharing has broadened to become camaraderie. Jackie and I are not alone and I can enjoy helping fend off crises in others’ lives too by just not giving up.

Thanks to Rock Steady Boxing – Hillsborough Head Coach Barbara Kelly and Coach Denise Cheskis, from one who cares deeply for a Person with Parkinson’s.