Skip to main content

Nelson Sleno Shares His "Battle Plan" for Living with Parkinson's Disease

Nelson Sleno Shares His "Battle Plan" for Living with Parkinson's Disease

An Olympic weightlifting champion and successful teacher, Nelson Sleno is not letting Parkinson's disease slow him down. In fact, he says “when I am set on doing something, I find a way to do it.”  Diagnosed in 2002, Nelson has developed a method for overcoming what he calls “the darkness.” Here is a glimpse of what Nelson refers to as his battle plan.

  1. Define and manage your treatment plan. Deciding to have a plan means making the choice to be a doer. “I look at this as warfare, I feel I was invaded by PD, and I have outlined my battle plan,” says Nelson.  His plan is carried out by him, with input from his neurologist.  Coupled with the long term plan is the importance of identifying daily goals. Nelson says, regardless of how you feel, decide that you are going to attempt to succeed at something each day, no matter how small.
  2. Find your “weapons” and rely on them daily. For Nelson, these include playing music and performing for others, playing golf, and lifting weights. All of these activities help Nelson put himself in positive frame of mind. Nelson also derives strength from  his friends (allies)  struggles against their "Darkness."
  3. Adapt, adjust, adhere, and go against adversity. For especially difficult days with PD, Nelson relies on his “storage room “of past personal victories. Looking back on past victories helps remind him of his ability to adapt and persevere. “When I can’t physically hold the harmonica in my hands and play, I put my neck rack on, put the harmonica in the rack, and I sing.”
  4. Take chances and try new things. To get started, Nelson suggests looking for new opportunities around you and “just try it, do it.” Nelson has learned that stepping forward and trying new things gives him the strength to stay active with confidence.
  5. Find something selfless to get involved with. Nelson believes the most important thing he has done in his life is to volunteer at his local hospital. He quickly realized that an added benefit of doing something for others is combatting his nagging urge to withdraw because of his PD.

A recent victory that Nelson can be proud of is the publishing of his new book, Shaking Hands: Discover Your Warrior Spirit When Battling Disease. You learn more about his life and works of wisdom here

We use cookies to ensure that you get the best experience. By continuing to use this website, you indicate that you have read our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.