Positivity and Humour Are the Best Medicine

David and Mona Lee

David Lee and his wife Mona reside in Newfoundland and Labrador and are naturally positive people. They’ve stayed that way through thick and thin since David’s Parkinson’s diagnosis in 2007. Although he manages all of his personal care needs Mona and the extended Lee family do what they can to make everyday life more livable for David.

“I handle all of my personal care. I do daily exercises, I have my own treadmill and a bike downstairs and I’m a blackbelt in Tae Kwon Do. I practice at home by myself on a punching bag,” said David, who remains as active as possible at the age of 63.

Mona’s role as a care partner is more the personal advocate. As with all things they carve out their path as a cohesive team, dividing household chores and planning between them.

“If he needs me he tells me. I’m more of the mind to wait and see if he needs help. I do more screwdriver work for example, much more than I used to because it takes dexterity. David still does the large jobs, like lawn mowing and, because he was a firefighter, he can cook,” Mona said as she laughed. “Opening a jar can be difficult for him. Writing is obviously tough with his tremors so I do most of that now.”

“It helps to set up some ground rules. We agreed that if David needed help he would ask for it. I agreed to wait for him to ask for help. It’s important to make the person with Parkinson’s to not feel as if they’re disabled. Parkinson’s is a long journey. There are a lot of resources available in your community. You don’t have to do it yourself,” Mona finished.

When the Lees heard the news from their doctor that David had Parkinson’s both he and Mona were devastated. They had already begun plans for their retirement. Some of those plans had to be changed due to David’s progressive Parkinson’s symptoms.

“We were investigating Parkinson’s for a few months before my diagnosis. I had an idea I had Parkinson’s in 2006.”

While some of their plans for the future may have changed their day to day life goes largely unchanged. It’s their “go, go, go” attitude, as Mona puts it, that has changed the most to accommodate David’s symptoms.

“You’ve always got to plan ahead. That’s the thing about Parkinson’s; it varies so much. You never know if it’s going to be a good day or bad one. It’s up and down. The rhythm of life is different. It took us a while to figure that out,” Mona said.

David struggles mostly with tremors and his speaking abilities aren’t as sharp as they used to be. He also suffers from fatigue, poor sleep and has difficulty with little things like putting on his boots.

“The whole daily cycle is really relentless. I can’t just jump out of the chair and go out,” David said.

Through all their struggles the Lees feel they have learned a lot and hope to share their knowledge with others.

“Keep your chin up and follow your doctor’s orders. Exercise regularly and take each day as it comes. When you’re tired make sure you rest. It makes all the difference,” added David.

With their boundless support system and positive attitude Mona and David look forward to having a rich and full life throughout their retirement together.

For information and resources, call 1-800-565-3000 or visit www.parkinson.ca

5 Responses to “Positivity and Humour Are the Best Medicine”


  1. 1 Parkinson Society Canada April 12, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    Thank you for the feedback! Positivity and Humour are often the best medicine.

  2. 2 Anonymous May 5, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    David and Mona: When I read your story on here,I thought hey that sounds like David and I .Except my name is Helen lol My hubby David was dx in 2006 at age 53. He now is 60 .David was the Deputy police chief here in our city.He retired in 2011.David and I were both devastated when we found out but we both have a positive out look on life and we enjoy everyday we have.Like you Mona I wait till he asks for help and then willing to help.Hand cordination has been a problem for us as well .The smallest tasks are the hardest.Ex cutting meat,writing,using screwdriver ,buttoning buttons,doing up a belt etc,but in some ways we have become even closer in out marriage .We still enjoy our cruiser boat in the summer and are on the river every chance we get.Our life has changed but we are loving retirement life!Wishing both of you the Best!
    If you wish to correspond with us via email us at cherfun@gmail.com
    Helen Ontario Canada.

  3. 3 Anonymous June 2, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    Beautiful!!! Just to see the positivity shown here: Attitude sure is the key to living our lives to the utmost, as seen in your publication. WTG –Love it!!!

  4. 4 ruth 'ginia link July 9, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    Have you heard about a relatively new drug, Azilect, that some Canadian doctors regard as a drug that possibly slows the progression of PD? I began taking this med in Jan.2013 & it has radically improved my energy level. The energy factor alone is a huge boost to our spirits as together and individually, both my husband and I, can enjoy improved quality of everyday life. (I noticed r. hand tremor symptoms in mid-summer of 2011 and was diagnosed with PD by Sept.2011).

    Of note in the new PD guidelines, dance and aerobic activity such as stair-climbing are recommended to improve brain plasticity. Being proactive re one’s health and well-being is certainly interesting, challenging and potentially rewarding.

    In sickness and in health ( i.e. 2 major abdominal surgeries in the last year unrelated to PD), my most important priority in life is knowing God as my Provider and Redeemer, who freely gives me grace, hope and love that covers all difficulties.
    PTL- ginia

  5. 5 Parkinson Society Canada July 12, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    Thank you for your comment. Azilect has been approved in Canada for several years now; it helps with Parkinson’s symptoms. Currently there is no drug that slows the progression of PD; research continues in this area. There is strong evidence supporting remaining physically active to improve balance, flexibility, and mobility.


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All material related to Parkinson's disease contained in Parkinson Post is solely for the information of the reader. It should not be used for treatment purposes. Specific articles reflect the opinion of the writer and are not necessarily the opinion of PSC.

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