Getting to Know Maureen Collins - 07/30/2012

Hey everybody, my name is Maureen and I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s 5 years ago at the age of 51.  The key to this disease is to own it and not allow it to own you.  I stay as active as I possibly can each and every day.  I walk 3-5 miles 4 times a week; work out with weights with my personal trainer 3-5 times a week.  I am very fortunate that my brother, Terrence is my personal trainer.  He pushes me to limits I didn’t know I had and will adapt an exercise to accommodate my shortcomings.  He does not allow me to whine or complain he encourages me to do more; strength equals balance.  The key to fighting this disease is a sense of humor.  Terrence has a very quick wit which keeps us both laughing during the workout.  He never feels sorry for me, helping me to feel optimistic.

My other activities include SCUBA diving; last year I dove with sharks in the Bahamas and I did my first 100 foot dive.  I love the warm waters of the Caribbean because I feel so free, it’s as though the disease doesn’t like warm water.  That being said, I’m still abalone diving up on the Mendocino Coast.  I had to get authorization from the State of California to allow my dive buddy to assist me in “popping” the abalone from the rocks.  I carry a letter from the State in my dive bag which defines the scope of the assist my dive buddy can provide.  The cold waters of the Mendocino Coast are the most difficult part of the trip; putting on a 7mm wetsuit with Parkinson’s is quite comedic and my dive buddy always gets a good laugh while he comes to my rescue to help me. 

I still play golf once or twice a month, although it too can be very entertaining when the meds aren’t working right.  I look like the slow motion version of the bionic woman; especially on the down stroke when contact with the ball sends it a mere 25 yards in front of me.  So much for playing to my former 16 handicap; Parkinson’s checks your ego at the first tee.  For some strange reason my game always falls apart on the 13th hole, the 15th hole I’m back on my game.

My beautiful daughter Monika and I will be doing the Progressive 5K event this year.  Monika is flying up from Los Angeles to support me in the Race just as she did last year.  We are looking forward to our long weekend in the City, which will include dinner at Chapeau, our favorite French restaurant; wandering the streets of San Francisco and watching the SF Giants beat the LA Dodgers.

I pray everyday for a cure to this horrible disease and continue to fight it every way I can.  I know that one day the mystery will be unlocked and a cure will be found.  I keep a positive attitude, make necessary adjustments to my limitations and laugh when I’m feeling down.  Laughter and an apple are the best medicine.