Horses have always been a big part of Cheryl Weber's life. In fact, she and her husband, Jerry, have had horses their entire 42-year marriage. So when Cheryl, 62, started seeing the first symptoms of Parkinson's disease in 2005 and was diagnosed in September 2008, she wanted to be sure she'd still be able to do the things she loved: being outside, gardening, and riding her three horses.
"I knew something was wrong before I was diagnosed," said Cheryl. "So I took a proactive approach to managing my attitude and the symptoms, including using alternative medicine practices."
In October 2013, Cheryl participated in the LSVT BIG program at On With Life. The Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT®) BIG program is an intensive therapy exercise program, focusing on strength, movement, balance, coordination and function, for people living with Parkinson's disease. Cheryl attributes her continued mobility and flexibility to the LSVT program.
"I hate the mobility problems that accompany Parkinson's," said Cheryl, who still does the LSVT exercise program daily and continues to attend the support group. "Because of the exercises, I am moving better, and I am as active as I want to be. It's a really wonderful program."
The program helped Cheryl gain increased activity levels, mobility, flexibility and a new lease on life. "I feel really, really lucky. I feel like I have a sense of control over this disease," said Cheryl. "My doctors have noticed a difference, and my neurologist said I'm head and shoulders above the rest."
Cheryl is now enjoying retirement: spending time outdoors gardening and caring for their many animals, their four beautiful grandchildren, and her husband's parents - ages 91 and 95 - who recently moved in with them.
Cheryl and Jerry still ride horses on their Runnells acreage, and while Jerry may need to help prepare Cheryl's horse for riding a little more than in the past, they are outdoors living an active life, and that's what matters most to Cheryl.