In 2008, I went to the Progress and Possibilities educational conference for people with Parkinson’s disease. I met two people at the conference who took me under their wings – a 75-year old lady who put me at ease and gave me some good literature –
and Joan Gardner from Struthers Parkinson’s Center.

Joan’s children had been in my 5th grade class at Glen Lake Elementary in Hopkins. The world is small, and small kindnesses matter. Joan later called me at home to check on how I was doing. She gave me personal attention and guidance without wanting anything in return. I knew I needed information and support.
And a doctor who had time for patients; a doctor who could help me understand Parkinson’s and adjust my meds.

I had all the classic symptoms of Parkinson’s – slowness, rigidity and balance issues, some depression and difficulty sleeping, overwhelming fatigue. I also was experiencing a lot of pain.
My kids were 9 and 11; not babies, but young enough to need a mom who could play cards with them, ride bikes and make dinner.

I asked Joan if Struthers had a doctor who could help me navigate. Someone who would be honest, direct, compassionate, knowledgeable, intelligent and real. She suggested Dr. Nance. From the first appointment, I knew Dr. Nance would be my doctor and Struthers my clinic.

Dr. Nance treats me with kind realism. She shares her vast knowledge of Parkinson’s in increments that are intuitively appropriate. She helps me deal with right now and the close future. We take things as they come.

My appointments are thorough, yet individual and personal. I know she adjusts what she asks and what she suggests as she listens. The conversation is about my needs. She listens to what I’m experiencing and sagely helps me balance treatment choices with the journey ahead, my lifestyle and my family’s needs. 

Related links:
Struthers Parkinson’s Center
Parkinson’s care
Martha Nance, MD bio