Meet Faye Elahi.
Having battled Parkinson's Disease for nearly a decade, Faye shares with us her story of how exercise, medication, and a positive attitude has enabled her to live her best life with PD.
Published April 11, 2020
I had no clue as I drove to the neurologist’s office 9 years ago, that my life was about to change forever. After hearing that I had Parkinson’s, the initial thoughts swirling through my head were: how will this impact my husband and my two beautiful children, the youngest just starting middle school? After getting confirmation about my Parkinson’s diagnosis (PD) by two other movement disorders specialists, I realized two things: 1) I couldn’t reverse my Parkinson’s since there was no cure for it & 2) what I could control was my attitude towards it so I could live the best life possible.
Sometime within the first year, I realized that nutrition and exercise were not enough to manage ALL my motor symptoms such as drop foot, joint stiffness, slow movement, and freezing. So, a year into my journey, I started on Levo-dopa, Carbi-dopa. Like any other prescription drug, this medication came with some negative side effects but with my perseverance and the collaboration of my neurologist who ordered a few dose adjustments, those side effects, are for the most part, under control. Once I was on the right dose of the right medication, I regained my strength, which allowed me to go back to playing tennis for up to an hour and half, bicycle for an hour, box, dance, play piano, hike, travel around the country independently, work part-time, cook, drive, shop, and much more!
So instead of wallowing in negativity, I vowed to find the best available therapies to help slow down the progress of my disease while staying engaged in my life. Perhaps, most importantly, I made a pact with myself to enjoy every moment of it! A couple of months after being diagnosed, I started Physical Therapy specific to my needs, followed by acupuncture, Tai Chi, yoga and meditation, Rock Steady Boxing, and stationary bicycling.
Today, as I reflect back on the last nine years, I realize that Parkinson’s has placed me in a unique position to do something positive and profound.
I owe to Parkinson’s:
The special connections that I have made with other Parkinsonians who understand my limitations better than anyone
A deeper empathy for the 1600 families with special needs that I have served over the past 20 years as a special needs nutritionist
An unwavering commitment to preserving my health since I realize now more than ever before that in order to be a good caregiver, I have to care for myself first
My attitude of gratitude for all that I still CAN DO!
My commitment to educate & inspire others through my current social media platform, specifically regarding effective dietary and lifestyle interventions for management of Parkinson’s symptoms and enjoyment of life!