“I’m getting better all the time!”

When I was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease three years ago, my family had noticed a tremor in my right hand and changes in the way that I walked.  I did not, however, notice any changes in my voice. What I did notice more and more, is how often my husband asked me to repeat myself!  I was convinced he was going deaf.

At our local Clay County Medical Center, I initially learned about LSVT LOUD from the Director of Speech Therapy.  Then, I heard more positive things about it from friends who had already received LSVT LOUD whom I met in my boxing and exercise classes.  When I later went to see my neurologist, she also recommended this treatment for me and wrote a referral to speech therapy.

After this, I began the month long LSVT LOUD treatment with my speech therapist Brenda Bohnenblust.  She was so good! I would practice my voice exercises in the car on the way to therapy every day while my friend drove.  That was fun!

Through LSVT LOUD, I learned that with Parkinson’s, you think you are talking loudly, but other people are straining to hear you.  You must realize that people want to hear you, but you have to talk louder!

Now my husband hardly ever asks me to repeat myself.  He also notices that loudness when I lector at church.  It’s pretty amazing to me that I can get up there and I don’t even really need the microphone.  That gives me confidence. People can hear me!

I still practice my LSVT LOUD exercises every day.  I even do them when my grandchildren are over to visit, and they all say “There’s Grandma doing her exercises!”

If I could give any advice to other people with Parkinson’s it would be this.  Be positive!  You cannot sit on the couch and feel sorry for yourself.  You have to be proactive and do something about it. You must think outside the box. I’m getting better all the time!

-- Mary Beth B., person with PD