Living with Parkinson's Disease - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Living with Parkinson's Disease

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STODDARD, Wisconsin (WXOW) -- April is Parkinson's Awareness Month.

The disease is considered a chronic illness, one that is manageable, that you can live with.

Dick Seymour loves art. He's painted picture after picture, but when he was 60 years old, a diagnosis changed his art forever.

"They determined that I had Parkinson's," Dick says.

Over time, Dick found he couldn't put as much detail into his painting.

His wrist would bob if he tried.

After a year, Dick became depressed.

"I started to resent it so much. Why would it be me? I just couldn't get it through my head that it is you," he says.

Now 72 years old, Dick always looks for ways to manage the disease better.

On top of medication, he exercises each day. Doctors say that's a huge part of therapy.

"Really, it's a condition that affects movement. And in many ways, movement is the antidote. Although it doesn't cure everything, it can help the problems people have with strength and movement and agility," says Dr. Jason Aldred, Gundersen Lutheran neurologist.

Second to Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's is the most common neurological disorder.

Doctors don't have a grasp yet on how Parkinson's comes about, but they know it doesn't discriminate between gender or age.

Clover Zeller found out she had Parkinson's when she was only 30.

"I want to live life to the fullest every day I can. I'm not going to say I'm not going to do this or I'll wait until later, because later, I might not be able to," Clover says.

For both Dick and Clover, a good attitude is key.

Clover uses things like her cat, puddles, or laughter to make it through each day.

"It doesn't make me any less of a person having it right now. It just makes it a little bit harder. But that's another challenge I go through, and if I accomplish it, it makes it all a little bit better right?" she says.

"I think I can learn more, but I also love where I'm at. And if I never got any further, that would be okay with me," Dick says.

When it comes to Dick's art, Parkinson's won't stop him from making a masterpiece.

The CDC says one in 100 people have a lifetime risk of developing Parkinson's.

Another treatment option for Parkinson's patients is surgery.

gerickson@wxow.com

Twitter: wxow_GErickson

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