Defying Parkinson's: Chuck Pishko
SARASOTA - Chuck Pishko starts his mornings like the rest of us.
"I get up and make my own breakfast. I have steel cut oatmeal every morning like clockwork," Pishko said.
He also loves to read and write about history. those were just some of the things that kept him busy in his 21-year retirement to St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands.
"I wrote history down on the island. I had that weekly column in the newspaper," Pishko said.
He also loves hiking. It was his passion for it that led him to discover something was wrong.
"I had trouble walking down, mountains or hills; I couldn't do it. I could walk up 'em, but I couldn't walk down. I eventually ended up going from tree to tree down the mountain," Pishko said.
Then he says even standing became difficult.
"It was very noticeable after awhile," Pishko said.
He was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease five years ago and says it hasn't' been an easy road.
"It can get nasty. But the big thing the neurologist told me was, 'You're gonna die of something else. You're not gonna die from Parkinson's,'" Pishko said.
His wife Terry says the disease paved the way for their move to Florida.
"St. John is a hilly place; it's not conducive to people who have difficulties maneuvering around," Terry Pishko said.
Now she can support her husband as he fight's Parkinson's, strengthening his core with chair yoga at Parkinson Place.
"I don't get too discouraged around her," Chuck said about Terry.
He says his biggest challenge is balance, and he can't walk long distances.
"It's frustrating for him; it's frustrating for me, but you do what you have to do," Terry said.
Amazingly, he feels lucky.
"I think Parkinson's is one of the better ones (laughs) if you have to have a disease," Pishko said.