“I came to regard exercise as my primary medication.”

Hi, my name is Margie, and I am from Colorado. Shortly after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2013, my movement disorder specialist suggested LSVT BIG® and LSVT LOUD®. I didn’t have any significant speech or movement deficits other than the tremor in my right hand. But I think having completed the sixteen sessions of both LSVT BIG and LSVT LOUD early on, definitely laid a strong foundation as I came to regard exercise as my primary medication.

About two and a half years ago LOUD for LIFE classes were offered locally and reinforced a solid daily practice. Then Covid-19 arrived, and in-person classes were no longer accessible. I was so grateful when LSVT Global made the virtual class available via Zoom.

LOUD for LIFE has not only enhanced my life, but I can “hear” the benefits of my fellow participants. Because of improvement with enunciation and amplitude, which allows for further engagement amongst us, personalities have become more pronounced. And being an international program (England, Ireland, Beirut, Zimbabwe, and all across the USA) we can see that we are not alone in this journey and have the opportunity to offer support and share commonalities in regards to PD. Without the benefit of this virtual format, we would not be aware on such a personal level how truly universal Parkinson’s is.

In our LOUD for LIFE classroom setting we practice our Ahs, Highs, and Lows before going into our breakout sessions. We then have discussions on a common topic that range from books, movies, art, travel, and most recently favorite recipes (a recipe book is in the making!). One of the men not only shared a chocolate brownie recipe but had a freshly baked pan of brownies to share….if only we could have reached through the computer screen!

I realized recently how effective LSVT LOUD is; when practicing my functional phrases, my husband told me I was being too loud for so early in the morning. Of course, all I was doing was using my LOUD voice!

Then I joined the virtual BIG for LIFE program. As with LSVT LOUD, I had maintained my LSVT BIG home practice over the years and soon discovered that my mechanics had become sloppy. Through our virtual BIG for LIFE class, I have upped my game.

In addition to the weekly classes, I have had the opportunity to volunteer for practice sessions where therapists from all over the world are obtaining their certifications in LSVT BIG and LSVT LOUD. This has given me the opportunity to give back in a small way for all the benefits these programs have afforded me.

Working with these therapists, they put me through my paces and definitely make me work BIG! In addition, they have taken the functional areas that I have identified as concerns and provide practical suggestions that they have me practice onscreen and again offer ways to adapt and improve. Areas such as freezing of gait, turning, getting in and out of the car, use of the bathroom, and opening containers are examples. One of the most useful tools I’ve encountered thanks to a therapist is the Handy-Bar that aids with car transfers.

On a final note, LSVT BIG and LSVT LOUD have been performed on stage! I attend the ReConnect with Your Body dance for PD class. And from that, I became a charter member of the performing company. For last year’s annual production, the dancers were each challenged to choreograph some dance steps, and these were incorporated into our opening number. My moves were all based on LSVT BIG and LSVT LOUD, and I must say it was a very rewarding performance.

-- Margie D.