I refuse to let Parkinson's control me. I CHOOSE to control my Parkinson's
On the eve of World Parkinson’s Day we interviewed those unsung hero who battled Parkinson’s to purge its syndromes. Their efforts and outcomes are presented in their own words to encourage the rest of us.
What was your age when you were diagnosed?
I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s at the age of 39.
How did PD impact your life and what did you do to deal with it?
Parkinson's has been a BLESSING. I was born with a heart condition, after surviving 5 open heart surgeries and having a mechanical heart, i have realised how beautiful and precious life is. I feel so proud to say that it enabled me to become history's first ever athlete(as i have Parkinson's) to actively compete on the Olympic level, representing USA worldwide and our Parkinson's community for table tennis.
Can you tell us about your efforts that would encourage other people with Parkinson's
I refuse to let Parkinson's control me. I CHOOSE to control my Parkinson's. I control my Parkinson's by staying physically active. Playing table tennis has improved my Parkinson's symptoms drastically, in fact folks have taken notice of the improvements as well. I am very happy to tell you how beneficial table tennis has been for my brain health and cardiovascular health as well. As a motivational speaker, I travel around the country (I represented as guest speaker at a Parkinson's Conference in New Orleans the weekend before April 11 World Parkinson's Day to speak for Parkinson's doctors and patients from all over the US) and share my message of hope and story of survival. My ideas was to inspire my fellow Parkinson's patients to not lose hope no matter how hopeless things might seem.
How do you keep yourself active with this condition?
Representing the USA in International table tennis competition as I hope to qualify for the next Summer Games in Tokyo in 2020. I'll be representing the USA at an Olympic level table tennis competition in Germany this June as I hope to bring home the Gold and raise awareness for Parkinson's. I also sing and play violin (I'm a former professional musician) to help fight my Parkinson's, and I'm a dancer as well and have seen improvement in my symptoms after dancing.
What message would you like to give to people in Parkinson’s community?
NEVER LOSE HOPE! Parkinson's is NOT a death sentence. I've learned that life is so short and precious, after surviving my childbirth and 5 heart surgeries, none of which I was expected to survive. We should not waste our time feeling negative or sorry for ourselves. My whole life has been about defying the massive odds against me, and I'll be the first to say I'm nobody special. We ALL have the ability to defy the odds against us, and I believe there was a reason why I was meant to survive all my medical ordeals... to help people realize the potential within themselves, to defy the odds and shine when things around them seem dark. So my message to all in Parkinson’s community is “Embrace the negative and tough times with humility and compassion to draw strength from it. Eventually you will be able to overcome the negativity. I will continue to serve our world Parkinson's community as the first Olympic athlete, and do what I can through my motivational talks, to inspire all to stay active and conquer Parkinson's. Folks can read up more about my efforts anytime by searching google “Bionic Navin”. Thank you for reading my story.