Unable to get pregnant naturally, Donna Marshall used IVF to conceive her first child, a daughter named Beau.
Her first round of IVF worked on the first try, but when she underwent a second round to give Beau a sibling, it didn’t go so smoothly.
According to Metro, Donna went through six more treatments and suffered two miscarriages before giving up.
And after those six treatments, Donna began to shake.
She assumed her tremors were a side effect of IVF; it didn’t even cross her mind that the Parkinson’s disease her mom and grandmother were diagnosed with was hereditary.
She told Metro that she was “confused” and “shocked” when her doctor officially diagnosed her with the neurodegenerative disorder.
Months later, Donna told Dearly that she still struggles to come to terms with her diagnosis:
“Even as I sit here now, I find it difficult to accept I have Parkinson’s. Anyone who has recently been diagnosed will go through this journey. You have a mixture of emotions from anger to embarrassment.”
On April 21, 2017, Donna lost her mom to the disease. However, watching her mom’s reactions to the different medications led Donna to decide to forego medication until later.
According to Donna, the medications her mom was taking had horrible side effects, including memory loss.
As a 40-year-old mother to a little girl, Donna doesn’t want to have to deal with both Parkinson’s and other complications that may arise from taking the medication.
She told Dearly that the most effective “medicine” is making sure her stress levels don’t get too high:
“Stress relief is the biggest help. I reduce my stress by exercising and removing any negatives from my life. Positivity is the way forward. I have tried Cannabis oil, vitamin supplements and clay, but nothing is as good as old fashion exercise to focus the mind, keep you active and circulate blood flow. Endorphin release is better than any drug!”
Unfortunately, her diagnosis and the inevitable stress that came with the initial diagnosis led to the demise of her 20-year-long romantic relationship.
Donna, who bought a kid’s shoe store just before her mom passed and before she received her own diagnosis, told Dearly that while everything is still an adjustment, she feels more in control now:
“It all happened at the wrong time. I bought the business and buried my mother the following day and then I separated with my partner of 20 years which had a huge impact on my stress levels. I’m feeling more in control now (a year on). I feel more focussed and can take time out if it gets too much. I am really positive about this financial year and am business focussed which makes me forget I have Parkinson’s.”
As of now, Donna is doing what she can to manage her symptoms, which mainly consist of tremors.
She told Dearly that she hopes her story not only gives other people hope, but will also inspire her daughter to see her as a positive role model:
“I truly hope that my daughter is not inflicted with this disease and I hope she sees her mum as a fighter as she will be too.”
“Depression is very rarely discussed, but I find this goes hand in hand with Parkinson’s. So staying positive and surrounding yourself with positive people and lots of exercise is the key. I heard they are progressing with stem cell research and so far have positive results in Parkinson’s patients in Australia. So looking forward for this to be a cure!
I hope that my story and video not only gives people hope but also removes the stigma that it is an old person’s disease. Hopefully my story will raise money for Parkinson’s in the hope that a cure is found.”
The mother of one does worry how this will one day affect her daughter, but that is why she is trying to raise as much money and create as much awareness as she can now.
So hopefully by the time Beau is older, medicine and research will be further along and more advanced than it is now.