International Women’s Day – ‘Choose to challenge’: By Maria De Leon

“It is not easy to be a pioneer- but oh, it is fascinating! I would not trade one moment, even the worst moment, for all the riches in the world.” Elizabeth Blackwell

For me, living with Parkinson’s disease as a woman is a lot like being a woman in the field of medicine – the ones that are successful are the ones that rise above the challenges and obstacles in their path.

Although we have come a long way in both arenas having displayed great courage, fortitude, and self-determination to make our voices heard, the ‘Women with Parkinson’s movement’ is just now gaining momentum. This is an exciting time for all of us who struggle daily to be mom, wife, lover, sister, friend, caregiver and whatever else we choose to be despite PD.

Surely you can all remember a time when you thought it was impossible to achieve a dream but somehow you managed to find the inner strength to persevere. Although it seemed insurmountable you never let up until you reached that goal. Do you recall how wonderful it felt to finally attain what you were after? That passion and that drive must be harnessed daily. For me, the unwavering determination I once possessed  to achieve my dream of becoming a doctor is the same that has inspired me to keep moving forward over the last 15 years since I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. It is a mental action taken daily sometimes more often to actively challenge the constraints our illness places on our bodies. I like many women have chosen to speak out, reinvent myself, break stereotypes, forge new paths, and bring awareness to issues previously considered taboo and I invite all the women with PD around the globe to do the same.

Sometimes the unexpected changes brought on by life and living with a chronic illness can take us by surprise leaving us discombobulated and dumbfounded, wondering where to go next or what to do.

As you find yourself face to face with an unexpected disease which might leave you Topsy curvy rather than panic or give up; wait awhile gather strength, look how far you have come, and how much you have achieved then with fierce determination choose to rise and challenge your present status to move forward but remember that together we women are stronger and are capable of great achievements and together we can break barriers and reach new horizons.

How will you #ChooseToChallange?

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All rights reserved by Maria L. De Leon (a.k.a. Parkinson’s Diva)

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