William’s Story

My name is William Heilmann. Had I not been burdened with Parkinson’s disease, the past six years would have been so much different now. History is history, but it can and does carry forward, and I use my experience as an illustration.

The negative energy of regret, self-doubt, self-imposed social exclusion, and conceded physical road blocks were among the mental clouds that blocked my view of the possible. I was onboard this train for more than just a short ride. We know each PWP is unique, but we are also part of a universe of individuals in a number only God would know with quality of life obstacles, themselves unique in circumstance and degree of limitation. The past will always be the past.

For myself, I discovered that it was possible to transform negative energy into positive by using it as inspiration and motivation to eliminate the “what if” from future thinking. I offer my reflections as but just one person in that number, simply to express my amazing change in outlook, a new awareness that I could take control, and the surprise of being able to do things that some people, including myself, believed I could not, by asking questions and learning about my individual case, then leaving the past right where it was, and focusing all energy to find ways of getting help.

I “jumped in” to what I have now learned is an entire universe of top notch and dedicated medical professionals and therapists, and an endless number of selfless and loving individuals and support groups. There is an amazing feeling of confidence and security knowing that, even when in group setting, no issue is too sensitive or awkward to discuss, and that all discussion stays where it took place. That, combined with the encouragement and “push” of those closest to me, and the strength afforded through prayer and answer from the Lord, freed my mind. I was able to test perceived limitations, gaining a little more momentum each time I crossed one off. I found an activity that allowed me to stay active and creative in my own way, which actually turned a strange idea into an unintended “something” that actually seems to have been made as a therapy tool to assist PWP. I never would have tried in the first place, but it was demonstrated to me that it could be done.

I realize I will die with it and not due to it, which allows me to accept and adapt to the changes by using what has been learned and with what I continue to learn about myself as they come up. I do not consider PD as a blessing in itself. The blessing is that I may never have been associated with such an ocean of love and inspiration had it not been for PD. I consider myself very fortunate and blessed that I remain able, eager, and available to pay forward all the love I have received to those with concerns light years more urgent than mine.