"IT'S ALL ABOUT THE EXERCISE - SHOWING UP AND GETTING THE WORK DONE"
Carol Little tells us about being diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease and how it has changed (and not changed!) her life.
Carol Little is 72 years old living with Parkinson’s Disease. From Ohio originally, Carol moved to Tuscon, AZ at the age of 15 and lived there for 50 years. In 2010, she and her husband moved to Fort Collins, CO after tiring of the intense summer heat in Arizona. Carol is a Registered Nurse, teacher and retired CEO of a behavioral crisis center.
- Enjoy our chat with Carol -
What is Parkinson’s Disease?
This disease typically affects people 50+, is long-term, and affects the central nervous system. The neurons in the midbrain don’t produce enough dopamine and begin a degenerative path. Mobility limitations, trembling, stiffness, balance, and coordination are some the symptoms. Although there is no cure for PD, there are effective treatments available to help the symptoms from progressing. There is not a known cause, but some commonalities such as tobacco use, environment/genetic factors, and head injuries have been linked to PD.
When were you diagnosed?
I was diagnosed in 2006, but I was lucky that my disease began with a slow progression. For the first few years living with the disease I managed very well with medication and exercise. For me, significant symptoms didn’t present themselves until 2010. My hands were shaking, and my handwriting got smaller - 2 classic signs of PD.
What was your strategy after diagnosis?
I admit I was in a bit of denial after diagnosis. PD was easy to ignore since my symptoms at the time were so minimal. I’m a very active person and adventure traveler - exercise is a huge part of my life. Just 4 weeks ago I went on a 4-day bike ride in Custer, South Dakota with friends. I also recently went on a boating and hiking trip to Page, Arizona. So far Panama has been my favorite trip but I have my sights set on China one day. The PD diagnosis, especially with the symptoms more pronounced with time, exercise is even more vital than ever. It’s all about the exercise!
Has this diagnosis provided insight to your life and your future?
I realized I had options with PD. I knew that exercise combined with medicine was going to be a big part of living with this disease. My diagnosis has taught me to show up, get to work and get it done. My dedication to exercising helps battle the symptoms. I go to yoga, boxing classes, I cycle and have a personal trainer.
What advice would you give to someone who is newly diagnosed?
Find support and take advantage of the many resources available. For instance, I’m in a Parkinson’s Disease boxing class. It’s not just great physical activity, but also offer a cognitive challenge as well. We have to commit to memory the various punches and get tested every class as the punching combinations are always changing. Everyone in the boxing class are all in various stages of the disease. We talk during class about our symptoms, and offer solutions. It’s a wonderful and supportive group of people.
What is your mantra?
My mantra was given to me years ago by a yoga teacher who was doing a meditation workshop. It is "shrim" said like shreem. According to yogapedia.com it is chanted to invoke the feminine divine energy.
Have you changed your diet after diagnosis?
I have always been a healthy eater. I admit I don’t really like cooking! But one of my favorite go-to meals is take out at a local vegetarian restaurant, Tasty Harmony in Fort Collins. It’s the jackfruit burger and I love it!
No worries, Carol! We love Tasty Harmony, too - but in case you want to try to make one in your kitchen, we have a great jack fruit burger recipe on our site!
- THANK YOU CAROL -
For your dedication to living your best life and inspiring us all
For more information about PD, please visit
Special thanks to
TITLE BOXING CLUB of Fort Collins