Margaret Melander

Margaret Melander plays at Apex

Last spring, 2011, I felt terrible.  I had suffered several bouts of vertigo.  I was dizzy much of the time.  I was fighting anxiety.  I had always loved my job as a court reporter, but it had begun to feel hard because my hands felt like lobster claws.  I noticed that my left arm didn’t swing when I walked anymore, and I was screaming and crying out in my sleep almost every night.  I thought maybe I had a pinched nerve in my neck, or maybe I was just burned out after 20 years.

I talked to my family doctor, and he sent me to a neurologist to check on the pinched nerve theory.  After 15 minutes in the neurology office, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.  I really didn’t know what that meant, but I knew it wasn’t good news.

Interestingly, I found that one of the best things I could do for myself is to get active, so that’s what I did.  I quit my job because court reporting and Parkinson’s are totally incompatible, and I started a new chapter in my life.  I explored different exercise options.   As it turns out, I saw a flyer for pickleball in November of 2011, and I haven’t missed a week since the first time I picked up a pickleball paddle.  It’s good for my reflexes and my balance.  Parkinson’s has a tendency to make you slow, and pickleball helps counteract that symptom.  And I have met some really good people, so socially it has been great.

So this is where I am now.  I’m playing pickleball and golf and doing a little yoga and water aerobics and walking regularly.  I have lots of people praying for my health, and I am facilitating a Support Group for Recently Diagnosed Parkinson’s Patients and working with a former Lost Boy of Sudan.  This new chapter has turned out to be more interesting than I ever could have imagined, and I feel better than I have in years.  I am going to keep moving so I can keep moving.  I feel strong and sturdy and optimistic, and I intend to do all I can to keep it that way.

Life is good!