Herb and Ann Durand say laughing is what gets them through the hard times since Herb was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 11 years ago.

Finding support

Two months after the diagnosis, the Durands attended an education session held by Parkinson Society Ottawa, a regional partner of Parkinson Society Canada. This program, provides the newly diagnosed and their families with an overview of what to expect of the disease, and services available through the society, including information, support and counseling, a resource library, exercise programs and support groups.  It was during the Parkinson’s information session that the Durands started to process the reality of their situation.

“We realized the future wouldn’t be what we had expected it would be,” Ann says. “They told us, ‘If there’s anything you want to do, do it now.’”

“I can be miserable and have Parkinson’s or I can be happy and have Parkinson’s—I’m still going to have Parkinson’s.”

Eleven years later, that message has stayed with them and the Durands say they focus on doing what they love and enjoying life in the moment. Although Herb admits he worries about his three sons showing signs of Parkinson’s because the disease can be hereditary, he is keen to remain positive about his condition.

The power of positivity

“I can be miserable and have Parkinson’s or I can be happy and have Parkinson’s—I’m still going to have Parkinson’s,” he says. “I never used to have a positive outlook. In a way, Parkinson’s turned me into an optimist.”

Arthritis has changed every aspect of Laura Moses’s life.  Just weeks before her 27th birthday, Laura was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (just like her father and older sister). Her pain was so intense that she could not brush her own hair, or have the strength to pick up her three-year-old daughter.

“As someone living with rheumatoid arthritis, I can attest that the disease has affected me both at home and at work,” says 30-year-old Laura Moses. “Luckily, I have found a treatment that works and can only hope it will continue to provide me with a good quality of life. I am blessed to still be working full-time and have insurance to help cover the costs, but I know that not everyone is so lucky.”

Research and treatment

Laura is one of the tens of thousands of people across the country who struggle with the chronic pain of arthritis. She has learned to manage her pain with the help of the Arthritis Society and their support programs, and looks forward to the continued advancements in research and treatment that will help improve her quality of life.