It was the subtle symptoms back in 2008, that alerted Glenda Baker of Cadillac that something was wrong.
"I woke up one morning and my face started twitching," says Baker.
After several doctor's appointments and other symptoms including problems walking...Baker finally got an answer.
"They diagnosed me with Parkinson's...it was scary. It's something that people don't know a lot about. I thought Parkinson's? I thought you had to be older," says Baker.
Parkinson's Disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects a person's movement. There is also currently no cure for it. Baker ended up having to quit her job and literally change her lifestyle. "I had problems putting shoes and socks on, sometimes brushing my teeth because my hands don't want to move, little bit of tremors. I can feel when I need my medicine...it's a weird feeling. You reach for something but you're not opening your hand enough," says Baker.
To help ease these symptoms and other physical issues that go along with the debilitating disease, Mercy Hospital Cadillac has a new physical therapy program designed for patients with Parkinson's Disease.
"It's a special program that's high intensity, high load exercise required, looking at trying to increase the amplitude making their movements bigger. In their minds they think they're reaching but they come short," says physical therapist, Tricia Wing.
Wing is a physical therapist at Mercy Hospital Cadillac. She says the therapy can potentially help improve the quality of life for people diagnosed with Parkinson's.
"The best time is as soon as possible because exercise can slow down the progression," says Wing
Baker has been in the therapy program for several weeks now.
"Sitting exercises, standing, reaching...it really helps. You think you're doing things right but you're really not. What's normal for you, really isn't. you feel like people are going to watch you because you're doing it wrong, but it really helps and makes you feel like you can do it," says Baker.
Since the disease affects the right side of her body daily activities like simply getting in and out of her car is a challenge at times. That's why the therapy is aiming to help.
"Our goal is to get them moving bigger to think in their head 'big' then go to reach out," says Wing.
For Baker, it gives her a sense of confidence as she battles a disease that affects countless Americans...and it's ultimately aiming to help make her daily life a little bit easier.
"This program really encourages you to keep going and to think big. It's important to keep moving around and keep as active as you can," says Baker.
For more information about the four week program click here.
You must first get a physician's referral before you can enroll in the program. Patients are required to attend four days a week for an hour for four weeks at a time.