When a patient comes to me long after he or she suspects that something is amiss, I tell them, “I understand.” I know why they had ignored their tremors for too long. I understand why they had dismissed their balance issues as insignificant.

Depictions of Parkinson’s disease in popular culture are grim, and nobody wants to be told that they have a disorder that is associated with loss of motor skills and cognitive decline. But I have seen so many patients thrive and flourish, buoyed by incredible innovations in medicines and physical therapy that exist today.

Sandeep Thakkar is a neurologist, Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute’s Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Program, Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, Newport Beach, CA.