Shuffling Editor is opening a second front (Central Georgia) for my PD patient advocacy work—under a new banner (Davis-Phinney Ambassador).
I came to Tampa 19 years ago to help arrange the marriage of The Tampa Tribune, WFLA-TV and TBO.com in the News Center
I leave to fight back better against my Parkinson’s disease.
However strong my defenses, this unpredictable neurological disease will inevitably progress. The question is how best to slow it and bend its trajectory in the desired direction.
My wife Struby and I have purchased a home in Carlyle Place, a lovely and lively seniors’ community in Macon, Georgia. It is owned by the local hospital and medical complex Navicent.
It’s near stately Wesleyan College and not far from dynamic Mercer University. Higher education is in my blood, first as a student then as a journalism professor after retiring from the Trib in 2006.
PD is not a death sentence, as followers of this blog know. It is possible to “live well” with it, as the Davis Phinney Foundation says. I am doing so now.
Parkies globally are embracing improved exercise habits, diet, mental tools and social networks to punch back at this cruel condition. An increasing number of studies document our improved health and well-being.
“When people describe Parkinson’s disease, they often define it as a disease that is incurable and without treatment to slow its progression,” says Dr. Peter Schmidt, chief research and clinical officer of the Parkinson’s Foundation. “You can change how Parkinson’s affects you, but it takes hard work and dedication.”
The key is taking charge of the disease, Schmidt says, by aggressively seeking the most expert care available and engaging your brain through rigorous exercise and mental conditioning.
Dementia, however, remains a strong possibility at the end of the PD road. If that’s my fate, Struby has helping family in Macon and my brother and his family is 80 miles up the road in Atlanta.
Struby and I leave Tampa with wonderful memories of raising our two sons in Tampa Palms, Rotary service and involvement with Hyde Park United Methodist Church.
We retain our condo in New Smyrna Beach, FL. I intend to continue as Executive Director of the Florida Society of News Editors.
My Ambassador work for Davis-Phinney will include continuing contact with Tampa Bay Parkie activists and new Living Well initiatives in Central Georgia.
My newest community is six Tampa Bay Parkies and their care partners in an unusual support group, the Parkinson’s Disease Action Group (PDAG). I describe it this way in the Mission Statement:
“No accountability organization or system exists for strongly aspirational and persevering Parkies. We have created one, the Parkinson’s Disease Action Group (PDAG). The group comprises six Parkies and their care partners.
“Our goal is to help one another out-wit, out-flank and counter-punch this unwelcome tenant in our brains. We will reach out to identify and mentor newly-diagnosed Parkies.
“We will share and learn from one another’s action steps, such as second-and-more opinions, off-label medications, busting through bureaucratic barriers, and workarounds for diminished skills and loss of control.
“We aim to meet monthly to hear, discuss, engage and bolster the health and personal plans of one of our couples. Our conversations are confidential. We will be candid, challenging, confronting, caring, and loving. (Anyone who utters the weasel words “to be completely honest with you” will undertake 50 pushups.}”