Attorney John Baumann was 41 and at the top of his profession as legal counsel for a large publicly traded company when he learned he had Parkinson’s disease.
He had begun to feel “there’s something going wrong with my body,” he says.
The doctor diagnosed him immediately.
“You can tell when someone’s got it,” Baumann says.
Symptoms, such as developing small handwriting, not blinking and a lack of facial expression, are some of the outward effects of the progressive, neurodegenerative brain disorder.
More than 10 years later, Baumann has met the challenge of Parkinson’s by becoming a speaker and author to inspire others with the disease.
“It’s no different than any other life-changing event,” he says. “It’s how you handle (it) that shows the true you.”
Baumann, of Louisville, Ky., will be the keynote speaker at the second annual Parkinson’s Conference, “Research in Parkinson’s Disease: Moving Forward,” at the Pennington Biomedical Center on July 27.
“My talk is about the emotional roller coaster” that comes with an enormous change in life circumstances, Baumann says.
“There’s disbelief, denial, anger, depression and on and on. The quicker you get through the cycles,” the better, he says.
“You need to get to acceptance and embracing (the change) ... I’ve done it, and I’m no different from anybody else,” says Baumann, who will also be speaking in October at the World Parkinson Congress in Montreal.
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