Sharing News of Diagnosis Is Difficult for Parkinson's Patient

DEAR ABBY: I'm an active, 60-something wife, mother and grandmother who was recently diagnosed with early stage Parkinson's disease. From all outward appearances, I appear healthy and I'm living my life as normally as possible, as my neurologist suggested.

My symptom manifests as a right-sided (dominant side) hand tremor that I try to hide as much as possible. Covering my hand with a napkin in a restaurant, sliding it under my leg or putting it into my pocket has worked so far to prevent the tremors from being noticed. This is not going to work for long.

My immediate family members are aware of my condition, but I haven't told extended family, friends or acquaintances about my situation. I become very emotional when discussing it and break down and cry. Can you suggest how to broach this subject, and when to tell others about my condition? Your guidance would be very much appreciated. -- HIDING AS MUCH AS I CAN

DEAR HIDING: I'm sorry about your difficult diagnosis, but I hope you have done some research and are comforted that there have been advances in the treatment of your illness. We both know that at some point a sharp-eyed friend or relative will notice the tremor and ask about it. That's why I think it's important you be proactive about what's going on. However, if you would prefer to be spared tearful conversations you would rather avoid, ask one of your loved ones to let the others know. Because immediate family members already know, chances are the information will spread that way, too.

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