Bill Ek, retired president of Lowe Boats in Lebanon, was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in his late 60s. With support from his wife and CoxHealth's Parkinson's Clinic of the Ozarks, Bill has maintained an active life.
"My life changed in many ways."
Bill went to see his doctor because his right hand was shaking and he became very anxious.
“It was a complete surprise to me because I didn’t know anything about Parkinson’s,” he says.
Bill went to see Dr. George Wong, medical director of the Parkinson’s Clinic of the Ozarks at CoxHealth.
“Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder affecting movement. The primary symptoms are tremors, rigid muscles, slowness of movement and balance problems,” explains Dr. Wong.
Bill had a full-day evaluation at the clinic with Dr. Wong and his team. Dr. Wong recommended Bill start Lee Silverman Voice Treatment (LSVT) BIG therapy.
“This therapy is an exercise routine designed for people with Parkinson’s disease,” says Josh Layman, a physical therapist who oversees LSVT BIG therapy. “The high intensity and focused exercises help improve movement.”
Bill says the therapy helped his movements and he now completes his therapy exercises at home. Another way Bill and Karen stay current on Parkinson’s disease is by attending a Parkinson’s support group in Lebanon.
“The support group has helped me because you get to know other people who are going through the same thing,” he says.
“We have a very good life and a wonderful family,” says Karen.
Karen’s advice to others in the support group is to stay optimistic. “It’s a nuisance, but don’t let it get you down,” she says of the disease.
Bill says his life has changed some since the diagnosis, but he continues to stay active through exercise and working outside. Karen says they still go out to dinner, attend church regularly and spend time with their family during the summers at their lake house in Wisconsin.
“I can’t go at the same pace as I did before, but I still feel pretty good,” he says.