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Karen Tylka

A Blessing in Disguise

Outpatient Neuro Rehabilitation
Admission: November 18, 2014
Discharge: December 12, 2014

Admission: July 6, 2015
Discharge: July 30, 2015

Karen Tylka kept her Parkinson's diagnosis a secret for years. Watching her mother live with the disease, she was worried about how the diagnosis would affect her own life. 

"I was concerned how I was going to continue being a wife, mother and IT specialist as the symptoms of Parkinson's started to show," said Karen. "But people live with this disease for many years, and I decided I had a job to do to make my life as normal as possible." 

She found the Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT) program at On With Life through a local support group and began driving more than an hour round-trip before work each day to learn the exercises.

"The staff is one in a million," said Karen, who still completes the LSVT exercises nearly two years later. "The staff makes you feel like you are not fighting the disease on your own, but they are fighting it with you."

Karen says the LSVT program made her feel as close to normal as she can imagine. She also participates in On With Life's new Parkinson's boxing classes, takes weekly water aerobics classes and participates in 5K run/walks. Most importantly though, she gained a new set of friends.

"I can't imagine where I'd be without On With Life and without these friends I've made. While we have so much in common with the disease, it's so much more than that," said Karen. "No matter how bad the diagnosis, it's been a blessing to know the staff and friends I've made through On With Life. I feel very lucky."