Barrow Empowers Grandmother to Live Life to the Fullest after Parkinson’s Diagnosis
When Rochelle Wolf first noticed her hands shaking and her walking becoming unsteady, she started to worry. Is it Parkinson’s? However, her doctor dismissed her symptoms and concerns, telling her everything was fine. Rochelle tried to continue on with life, but the shaking wouldn’t stop. Finally, she saw a neurologist and received a life-altering diagnosis: Parkinson’s disease.
In shock over the news, Rochelle reached out to her children immediately. Luckily, her daughter, Bonnie Brovitz, was already familiar with Barrow Neurological Institute and made an appointment for Rochelle at the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center. Here, Rochelle began a journey of healing, education, and advocacy that would change her and her family’s entire outlook on the disease.
A Parkinson’s diagnosis can be extremely overwhelming and isolating. Barrow offered Rochelle the opportunity to participate in Parkinson’s outreach programs such as educational classes, self-efficacy forums, and expressive arts workshops “With Parkinson’s, you really have to learn what you need to take care of and how to take care of it,” she says. “These programs taught me all of that, and they made me realize that I’m not the only one experiencing these things; that I’m not alone in this.”
The compassionate community of Parkinson’s patients and specialists that Rochelle found at Barrow has been pivotal in helping her with her apprehension about the future. She recalls one incident where she really needed to lean on her Barrow support system: “I was watching this video of a doctor speaking about the advanced stages of Parkinson’s and just started crying. It was so difficult and depressing to watch what may happen.” Rochelle brought this up at her next Barrow support group and was able to have a meaningful discussion and work through her emotions with people truly listened, cared, and lifted her up.
Embracing the strong Parkinson’s community fostered by Barrow has inspired Rochelle to continue living a full life while battling the disease. Although it can be frustrating when her symptoms start to intensify, Rochelle says that the Barrow groups motivate her to keep doing all the things that she loves, like being with her family. “I am very close with my five children. My one daughter and her family live nearby and I love being able to visit her and my two precious grandchildren,” she says. “Because of Barrow, I am able to truly enjoy all these special moments.”