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I was 27 years old, at the start of my medical career and expecting my first child, when the neurologist confirmed what the first clinician had suspected – the tremor I had been experiencing over the preceding year was Young Onset Parkinson’s Disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disease for which there is no cure.

The diagnosis was made and my dance with denial, fear, anger and secrecy began, one that lasted almost a decade. Thoughts of disability and helplessness eventually turned to hope and optimism but the transformation was a painful and difficult process.

My story however is not unique. Each of us is challenged in some way, be it in our health, our finances, our occupations or our interpersonal relationships. I would like to share with you what my particular journey has taught me.

When a stressful life issue arises, “Why me?” is a natural yet futile question. After all, why not you or me? We are never challenged with more than we can bear.

There are life lessons in every circumstance joyous or otherwise. Whether it seems fair or not, obstacles present themselves for a reason and our life journeys play out exactly as they should. Without the experiences and introspection that these difficulties bring, we cannot evolve.

Recognize that within you lies great inner power – your ability to choose your reaction to any given set of circumstances. How you face the challenges that come your way is truly yours to determine. And in that moment of choice is your true strength, to determine your life experience, which moves you from a position of helplessness to one of empowerment. By recognizing this truth, any obstacle will not defeat you as you may initially believe but instead may be the very element that causes you to thrive.

You must learn to accept whatever stressful situation life brings you for what it is. Not that acceptance equals complacency but only once we embrace our difficulties will we be able to move beyond them, allowing us to become actively engaged in managing or solving the challenges that have arisen. Denial and avoidance of the truth only delays your progress. Without acceptance, there can be no resolution.

Know that you are so much more than the label your challenge has placed on you. You are not defined by your circumstances, your disease, your relationship or your finances. You have so much more to offer the world and so many other blessings in your life to be grateful for. Also within you exists infinite potential so any barriers that are placed in your path, you can surpass.

Finally, always live in the moment. Take nothing for granted. Face each day with gratitude for the simple joys with family and friends. No one really knows what life will bring and at some point we all have to abandon our fear of the future in order to begin living our present. Live your present with grace and integrity!

To paraphrase noted clergyman and author Phillips Brooks, “Don’t pray for an easy life, pray to be a strong person.” If you are able to make this fundamental paradigm shift and harness your power of choice, your ability to determine your life experience despite all obstacles, then what you now see as a curse may instead be your ultimate blessing.

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Dr. Soania Mathur is a family physician living outside of Toronto, Ontario who had to resign her practice as a result of her Young Onset Parkinson's Disease a full twelve years after her diagnosis at age 27. Now she is a dedicated speaker, writer, educator and Parkinson's advocate. She speaks passionately about the challenges of adjusting physically and emotionally and the coping strategies available to patients.

Dr. Mathur is an active speaker with the Parkinson’s Society of Canada at patient-directed conferences and also serves as a resource for education projects. She works with The Michael J. Fox foundation for Parkinson’s Research and serves on their Patient Council. She is a member of The Brian Grant Foundation Advisory Board that helps to create educational programming.

She is the founder of Designing A Cure Inc., which was initially created to raise funds directed towards research and awareness of Parkinson's Disease and now serves as a platform to educate and inspire those living with this disease to take charge of their lives, to live well with Parkinson's.

Dr. Mathur has a special interest in helping educate the youngest affected by the stress of this chronic disease. To help facilitate dialogue between children and their loved ones, she has authored two books: My Shaky Grandpa and Shaky Hands, Loving Hands – A Children’s Guide To Parkinson’s Disease (awaiting publication).

Recently, Dr. Mathur launched a new company Hippylicious ( which is dedicated to providing parents with all natural, non-toxic personal care products for their families in an effort to reduce their toxin load, a factor that she believes is significant in the development or exacerbation of many diseases.

Most importantly, she is the proud mother of three beautiful daughters and married to her loving and supportive husband Arun, a Urologic surgeon.

For more information, please visit

This Post Has 26 Comments

  1. This is a brave and benevolent share from a warm and wonderful woman. Thanks so much, Soania. You are inspirational!

  2. As one who shares a similar path, Soania’s words ring so true. Our ability to choose happiness in the midst of life’s challenges makes a world of difference and makes our world different.

  3. That is profound, how your perspective, was mine in April. I hurt my back. Went to a chiropractor. They straightened my back. There I found a blood clot in my lung. I sat on the pitty pot for awhile. Then had a opportunity to try a new blood thinner. It is working. This is similar to your inspiration.
    Thank you for that.
    Lots of Love Patrick

  4. I needed to read these words. They helped me shift my focus from the earth moving, negative occurrences in my marriage. Living with and accepting my spouse’s infidelity has been extremely difficult. I’m trying not to be the victim, but the victor. Thank you, Sonia! You are an inspiration to my tattered spirit! “Live your present with grace and integrity.”

    1. So sorry that you’re going through such a rough time! The loss of trust and the betrayal you feel must be very difficult. But you will survive and you will come out of this struggle stronger and with a greater understanding of yourself regardless of the outcome. Wishing you much strength as you move forward and nothing but happiness for your future…

  5. Really really needed to read this today . At times feel like I’ve been to hell and back , so grateful for this . Many many thanks .

  6. Soania, iam going thru a contested and nasty divorce , when i read your sharing, it reminds me to wear life like a loose dress, your word re-inforce that Hapiness = Reality – Expectations,,Thanks again for sharing your positive thoughts , turing a negative into a positive,,

    1. Bob, sorry you’re going through what I’m sure is an emotionally draining situation. May you find the strength to weather these tough times and may there be happier days ahead for you.

  7. Soania,
    This article inspires hope, positive strength, encouragement and the knowledge to overcome the obstacles that we have been given. Denial, anger, and ignorance are all normal reactions that can keep you locked in such sadness if you do not see the positive things in your life. My boys keep me going with their love, support and understanding. Looking forward to your future articles, and post.

  8. Hi Soania. I am a stroke survivor and a fellow IMT luminary. I love your message as it is very much what I have said in my book Radiant Survivor: How to Shine and Thrive through Recovery from Stroke, Cancer, Abuse, Addiction and Other Life-Altering Experiences. May strength and courage be our watchwords as we travel down our life path. Much gratitude and love to you.

  9. Thank you Sonia for your inspiring words. Equally inspiring to me, is the time you have taken to respond with genuine compassion and empathy to all of the comments made here. Sometimes just having someone acknowledge our emotional struggle helps to get us through another day.

    1. Thank you for your kind words Barbara. I feel it’s a true privilege when people are gracious enough to take the time to share their thoughts and feelings with me so respomding if at all possible, is the least I can do, All the best to you and yours in the upcoming new year!

  10. Thank You Sonia. I am also from India and my brother is suffering from Parkinson’s for last 15 years.Your story is inspiring for all PD patients.We are planning to start a support group in Kolkata under the guidance of Sme Neurologists.This story help us to help our PD patients to come with terms rather thinking of that it is just a destiny.

  11. Soania Mathur

    Thank you Soania for your inspirational article on your personal experience. May God continue to strenghten you.

  12. Thank you for sharing your story. It’s only through having the courage to share that knowledge becomes the power needed to face our own challenges. You are an inspiration, keep up your wonderful work! 🙂 Kin

  13. Thank you for sharing the view point of a clergyman about prayer. “Do not pray for an easy life but pray to be a strong person”.

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