Soania Mathur is a family physician practicing outside of Toronto. Soania is a member of the Michael J. Fox Foundation Patient Council, which serves to advise the Foundation on strategies to best convey patient priorities to the research community and content for patient education and outreach. This content originally appeared on Soania's blog, Designing a Cure.
To my newly diagnosed self. I just wanted you to know that you will eventually have three beautiful daughters and even though you worry about how you are going to raise them while facing a disease that will challenge you every day, you will make it through joyfully. Your children will give you strength and through their experience and your example, they will learn empathy, compassion and perseverance. Parkinson’s may make some of the physical aspects of parenting a little harder but some day your daughters will look at you and say “We want to be just like you.”…
To my newly diagnosed self. I just wanted you to know that after 12 years of a busy and successful career as a physician, you will have to retire early. But I also want you to know that your patients and co-workers will be nothing but supportive of your decision. And that Parkinson’s will open up a whole new world and lead you to a more fulfilling path of educating and inspiring patients to live well with this challenge while advocating for better treatments and that much needed cure. Parkinson’s may take away one career, but it will give you the opportunity to do your life’s true calling…
To my newly diagnosed self. I just wanted you to know that your marriage will grow stronger not only despite of but because of this disease. The man you recently married will turn out to be your biggest support, your rock. Parkinson’s has taught you both not to take each other for granted, that life can change at the blink of an eye and the most important thing is the relationship you have. That one day you will ask your husband what he would have said to that naïve girl he met over twenty years ago had he known what the future held and his simple reply would be “What time should I pick you up?”
To my newly diagnosed self. You may not feel it at the moment but Parkinson’s will be your ultimate blessing, not the curse you see it as. That facing this challenge will teach you humility, empathy and strength. That it will force you to live in the moment, to take nothing for granted. That it will not defeat you as you may now believe, but instead be the very element that causes you to thrive.
To my newly diagnosed self. No one really knows what life will bring. At some point you have to abandon your fear of the future and begin living your present.
To my newly diagnosed self. Stop living in such angst. I know what the future holds for you and you are ready to face it head on.