This is a continuation of a blog series showcasing the powerful stories of those whose lives have been changed by participating in Rock Steady Boxing.
Bev was always a healthy person, needless to say, it was shocking to her when she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s about eight years ago.
“This damn Parkinson's. It's nuts, you know, it just creeps up on you,” Bev said. “We were out for Mother's Day and I was holding my grandson. We were taking a picture. I was holding him and I felt very weak on my left-hand side, which was strange.”
This was an odd occurrence for Bev being that she normally totted a clean bill of health. Bev decided to go in and see her primary care doctor to get an opinion on what might be going on. Bev explained her symptoms, only to be told it was likely nothing. To be safe, Bev’s doctor referred her to a neurologist.
Given her age and previously healthy medical record, it was advised for her to complete a variety of scans just to be safe.
Shockingly, the tests uncovered that Bev had Parkinson’s. Hearing this news felt like “...a knife in my chest,” Bev said.
Understandably, Bev felt lots of frustration towards her diagnosis. “I've never been sick, you know, or never had anything serious.” It was very difficult for her to move forward, knowing she had an incurable disease.
“I didn't want to take a lot of medications cause I know sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.” Most of the treatments for Parkinson’s are centered around symptom management. Some people are okay with taking medication for the rest of their lives to keep the disease at bay, but to Bev, that option didn’t have her feeling much in control of her future.
Bev opted for a more holistic approach to managing her Parkinson’s rather than going the prescription route for a few years. Unfortunately, this treatment did not work well for Bev, leaving her underweight and sicker than before.
Bev Finds Rock Steady Boxing
After seemingly making little to no progress for a few years, Bev was eager to find something different that still made her feel in control of her diagnosis. A friend mentioned seeing a television commercial that featured Rock Steady Boxing, an exercise program designed for people with Parkinson’s. She mentioned going to class together; no harm in trying it, right?
Together, they did some research and decided to try out Rock Steady Boxing classes at The Palms of Largo, an affiliate program of Rock Steady Boxing Inc. “It was just nice. It was fun,” commented Bev. After that, there was no turning back for Bev.
Bev has been participating in Rock Steady Boxing for the past six years, and has “...loved every minute of it.”
For Bev, Rock Steady Boxing gave her exposure to a place “...where people were dealing with the same mental stuff as I was, and they gave me the strength to continue to fight.” Having access to a community that can understand and support you during a challenging time can make all the difference.
The Rock Steady Boxing Family
Exercise is an integral part of managing Parkinson's disease as it slows the progression, reduces pain, and increases a person's ability to stay independent.
Bev has noticed that she experiences more tremors when she is doing something quiet, like watching a movie or eating, as opposed to when she is engaging in physical activity. Rock Steady Boxing provides an outlet for Bev to be physically active. She has also noticed the positive impact Rock Steady Boxing has had on her mood.
In her day-to-day life, Bev works through many stressful situations. With a significant other dealing with health problems, she has found that Rock Steady Boxing is a great place to exercise and socialize.
“I get to come here, it's as if it's a family and everybody's having fun. We're laughing, working out, and helping each other.”
Not only are the other participants inspiring to be around, but Rock Steady Boxing Coach Leah E. takes it upon herself to make sure everyone is having a good time while working out. “She makes things fun,” says Bev. “She makes sure that everybody is getting along like one big, crazy family.”
Thanks to Rock Steady Boxing and the support group that comes along with it, Bev feels in control of her future, a feeling she did not get from her other treatment plans. Learn more about Rock Steady Boxing and how it positively impacted the lives of Steve, Curt, and Coach Leah by reading all four blogs in our Rock Steady Boxing series.