Manon Day is a remarkable young black woman who has been experiencing Young Onset Parkinson’s disease (YOPD) since her late teens. Her journey with this rare form of Parkinson’s offers a glimpse into some of the issues and preconceptions that people have about Parkinson’s. Many people think of it as a disease affecting primarily older people of European heritage, but Parkinson’s does not discriminate. These preconceptions about Parkinson’s may be why it took so long for Manon to receive her diagnosis.
She was 17 when her symptoms began appearing but was 27 when she finally received confirmation that she had YOPD. Adapting to this new reality posed tough challenges, but Manon has risen to meet them.
Here are some of Manon’s tips for young people with a new Parkinson’s diagnosis.
Join a YOPD support group
“Talking to fellow young patients can be very empowering since you can exchange personal life tips about the disease, this will help with overall wellness and feeling less isolated.” said Manon.
Consult a movement disorder specialist
A movement disorder specialist is very important for disease management and patient outcomes
Perform occupational speech and physical therapy
Manon found this therapy very useful for enhancing her quality of life. “From my own personal journey, having a multidisciplinary team at a teaching hospital can make all the difference for a new patient” she said.
Manon mentioned that “Finding an enjoyable physical activity and practicing it consistently is very helpful. Several studies have shown that exercise slows down the progression of Parkinson’s and is also beneficial in controlling symptoms.”
Have a nutritious diet
Manon has enhanced her cooking skills and loves to make healthy vegetarian dishes. “Stick to a nutritious diet for your general wellbeing. I would also suggest to consult with a nutritionist that is knowledgeable about Parkinson’s. They will be able to provide you with some recommendations to adopt a healthy lifestyle” she said.
Whether it is participating in Parkinson’s events or creating your own support group, getting involved is something that can help you and others. “I am still actively involved in my Everything about Parkinson’s disease group on the Mewe social network. I post lots of reliable, informative content about Parkinson’s and I am hoping that my work makes a difference in the daily lives of people with Parkinson’s. Connecting with others lets us provide each other with comfort, advice and help us to cope with this debilitating disease” Manon explained.
We’re in the midst of Parkinson’s Awareness Month, which is something near and dear to Manon. It is an opportunity to break myths and raise awareness about Parkinson’s disease, and the stories of the people living with it. According to recent data, Parkinson’s cases will continue to increase within Canada over the coming years, making the advocacy and research of Parkinson Canada more important than ever.
In Manon’s words, “Parkinson Canada is the only organization across the entire country committed to transforming the lives of people with Parkinson’s. They do great advocacy work to educate and raise awareness in the general population.”
Manon’s story shows us that young or old, Parkinson’s can affect everyone.
Check out Manon’s group Everything about Parkinson’s Disease.