I have been in good health for the majority of my life. I’ve never even had a hospital stay or a surgery. Only once was I an outpatient, due to my brother throwing me out of a tree. Upon hitting the ground, I cracked the tip of my elbow bone and had my arm in a sling for several weeks.
So, when I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2004, I was really floored. I thought, “How could this be happening to me? Now what am I supposed to do? This cannot be happening to me; I don’t get sick!” I was in pure denial. Denial, denial, denial.
Finally, after the denial period ended, I decided to take the news in stride, as with most of life’s challenges. I’ve always held a belief that life will never allow us to be presented with a situation that we cannot handle or deal with appropriately. Everything that life throws at us is an opportunity to learn something or to become an example for others. When Parkinson’s came up in conversations, I took a thought from James Bond, “It’s not really an issue, as long as you want your Martini ‘shaken and not stirred.’” That usually turned a face of concern, to a bright smile and eventually some laughter…Yes, I was making light of my situation, but then again “light” is always better than “despair.”
Life continued, not as usual, but with some alterations. What became my “new normal” remained unchanged for 12 years. Then, after some medication changes, I experienced an adverse side effect to my medication. In researching my condition, my wife encountered the concept of high impact exercise for Parkinson’s patients.
Eventually, we decided to visit a local Parkinson’s support group. Maybe we would find others with a similar experiences, and information on the high impact exercise programs.
We met Tambra Craven of Rock Steady Boxing Central Savannah River Area (Day One Fitness – Augusta, Georgia). Tambra explained the Rock Steady Boxing program and invited us to attend and participate as guests. WOW, were we impressed. The workout was intense! The program included exercises for strength, balance, agility, cognitive skills and a variety of additional exercises and skill sets designed to assist individuals with movement disorders.
I was never into the gym routine, but this was DIFFERENT! Each member of the group has different degrees of mobility issues. This is not an individualized program. Everyone goes through the same programs and routines together. The coaches and assistant volunteers are exceptionally helpful and are sensitive to an individual’s special needs. Workout routines are adjusted accordingly.
Not only does the group work together, everyone encourages each other.
Since becoming a member of the program, my wife and other family members have expressed a noticeable change in me. My stamina has increased. My balance is better. My posture has improved. I am finding an overall improvement in my wellbeing. I just feel better. I’m becoming “rock solid” and “rock steady” and I’m fighting back!
I also feel more enabled because of participating in this program. I am honored and privileged to associate with such a wonderful bunch of determined individuals. I am thankful for each and every one of you that are involved with the Rock Steady Boxing for Parkinson’s program.
Please come and visit us. We could be just what you need!
Elam C. Royer, Aiken, South Carolina