Before Parkinson’s, Melissa “Missy” Eppleman was an athlete and elementary school PE teacher. She’s still active, just in a different sort of way. Missy lives with her husband Dick in Chester Springs, and has three adult children, Becky, Bobby, Richie, and Ollie, their Labrador.
“My diagnosis depressed me so much. But then my husband Dick, the common sense guy, said to me, ‘Okay, do you want to start living, or do you want to start dying?’” For Missy, that was the turnaround. “My brother-in-law is a direct descendent of Dr. James Parkinson, for who the disease was named almost 200 years ago,” Missy said. “Go figure.”
The dance of friendship.
Missy had Deep Brain Stimulation surgery a little over a year ago, and is now a huge fan of her Council-funded dance class. “It’s not just the physical part of the dance I love, though the teachers are great and the music they choose really motivates me. It’s the other students. They’re wonderful people. We are like a support group for each other.”
Meeting the Council.
“Wendy is so outgoing and so willing to help you. Having a local Parkinson’s group is so helpful because it’s smaller and more personal. You get to know the members better.”
Her guiding star.
“The day before my DBS surgery, my Dad wrote me that ‘The same good natured Missy we know is not lost. Your mom and dad are proud.’ He enclosed a quote from Charles Swindoll, saying that attitude is more important than anything, that our lives are 10% what happens to us, and 90% how we react. Of course I cried. But he is right.”
“Don’t keep your diagnosis to yourself. Let people know. The five ‘Fs’ have sustained me, too. Family, friends, faith, fortune (because I have had some luck) and fun. They help. They really do.”