One of the most rewarding aspects of publicly sharing my journey with Parkinson’s disease is the collection of people I have met along the way. I have had the privilege of interacting with people who see opportunity in adversity and refuse to be negatively defined by their circumstances. People who push hard against the boundaries of limitations - limitations imposed on them by sickness and disease. People who, simply by sharing their daily routines, inspire me to exercise more and lead a healthier lifestyle. Kimberly Rogers is one of such people.
In October 2013, after the birth of her son, Kim noticed some numbness and tingling in her left leg. She thought these were lingering effects of the epidural she had used during labor and presumed the sensations would wear off – she was wrong. Over the next year, things got progressively worse as additional symptoms (tremors, cramping, and stiffness) surfaced. She went to see a doctor and was diagnosed with sciatica. The doctor prescribed steroids for treatment, but Kim (who was nursing her son) refused to use them. By the time her son was fully weaned at age two, the tremors had worsened and more symptoms (loss of fine motor skills, impaired gait, and pain) had emerged. Finally, in March 2016, after multiple doctor visits, tests, and scans, Kim was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. She was 34 years old at the time.
ParkinStand® strongly believes in the power of shared stories – particularly stories of ordinary people taking extraordinary steps in the face of adversity. I reached out to Kim to talk about living with Parkinson’s disease at such a young age. This is what she had to say:
On how she copes:
I cope in different ways.
I cope by exercising DAILY. It’s not easy because I’m still in pain and the left side of my body does not cooperate like the right; but exercise ALWAYS makes me feel better.
I cope by listening to personal development talks DAILY, and this has had a profound impact on my mindset. It was after listening to “The Positive Dog” that I understood that I had to turn this obstacle into an opportunity. To do this, I share my story (struggles and successes) on social media in the hopes of inspiring others to find ways to turn their obstacles into opportunities.
I cope because that is what you do when you have a 3-year-old son who fully relies on and looks up to you. I really do want him to be proud of his mommy.
On what her ParkinStand is:
My ParkinStand is turning obstacles into opportunities. Life is defined for us. It is our duty to take whatever that may be and make the most of that situation, not only for ourselves, but for others that may be going through similar situations. I may be diagnosed with PD but it does NOT define me. I am grateful that I have been able to use social media as an outlet to inspire others as it helps me to know that I am not alone in this.
On how she is turning her obstacles into opportunities:
I started coaching in January 2015. It was my solution to getting back into fitness after having my son and working a very demanding job. It was my solution to having time for me and in return sharing my journey to help other moms that were struggling. I have the pleasure of helping moms feel good about themselves, increase their energy to keep up with their kids and create healthy habits for themselves and their families. I was definitely not looking for a "second job' but I believe this is my calling.
Her closing thoughts:
When it comes to life, this ain't no dress rehearsal. Stop using PD (or adversity, in general) as an excuse to stop moving or to be negative. These are the cards you are dealt. Push harder than yesterday if you want a different tomorrow.
As is evident from her Instagram handle, Kim considers herself to be “diagnosed but not defined”, but I beg to differ slightly. I think Parkinson’s disease has, in some ways, defined her; and that definition screams strong, smart, beautiful, resilient, and resourceful.
....and she laughs without fear of the future Proverbs 31:25