Sharing news of diagnosis is difficult for parkinsonís patient

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

DEAR ABBY: Iím an active, 60-something wife, mother and grandmother who was recently diagnosed with early stage Parkinsonís disease. From all outward appearances, I appear healthy and Iím living my life as normally as possible, as my neurologist suggested.

My symptom manifests as a right-sided (dominant side) hand tremor that I try to hide as much as possible. Covering my hand with a napkin in a restaurant, sliding it under my leg or putting it into my pocket has worked so far to prevent the tremors from being noticed. This is not going to work for long.

My immediate family members are aware of my condition, but I havenít told extended family, friends or acquaintances about my situation. I become very emotional when discussing it and break down and cry. Can you suggest how to broach this subject, and when to tell others about my condition? Your guidance would be very much appreciated. -- HIDING AS MUCH AS I CAN

DEAR HIDING: Iím sorry about your difficult diagnosis, but I hope you have done some research and are comforted that there have been advances in the treatment of your illness. We both know that at some point a sharp-eyed friend or relative will notice the tremor and ask about it. Thatís why I think itís important you be proactive about whatís going on. However, if you would prefer to be spared tearful conversations you would rather avoid, ask one of your loved ones to let the others know. Because immediate family members already know, chances are the information will spread that way, too.

DEAR ABBY: My family is the definition of dysfunctional. We all honestly could use some therapy after everything weíve been through. I feel like Iím the only rational person in my family. I am the only one who sought professional help.

My sister ďAlexaĒ is a narcissist. I realized it a long time ago. My mother is in denial, and she continues to push me to have a relationship with her. Speaking to Alexa is emotionally draining. Every time sheís mentioned, I get flashbacks about the ways she abused me. Being in the same room with her is uncomfortable. The saving grace is that we live a thousand miles apart, and Iím not forced to interact with her daily.

Sheís getting married next year and wants me and my children to be in the wedding. I accepted because I felt obligated, but I just canít do it anymore. I donít WANT to do it anymore! After all the years of her abuse and torment, I just want to be free. The problem: I finally put my foot down and told Alexa not to contact me again. Am I being selfish? -- SELFISH IN THE EAST

DEAR SELFISH: I donít think so. However, because you accepted that responsibility before telling her not to contact you again, YOU should contact HER and ask if she has changed her plans about you and your children being in her wedding. (You may be pleasantly surprised to find her answer is yes.) However, if she hasnít, be upfront with her NOW so your sister will have time to replace you in her wedding party.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.