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Craig Wenger

57 years old

Grew up in Salem

Graduated from North Salem 1979

Served in the U.S. Air Force 1979-1983.

Graduated from Oregon State University

in 1987 with a Master of Education

Industrial Education teacher at

McKay High since 1987 (30 years)

Wife and 4 children ranging

in ages from 17-23

About six and a half years ago I started to feel extremely tired. I would come home from work and fall on my bed exhausted. I also had a feeling in my legs like there were rubber bands being stretched in my legs. I noticed a slight tremor in my left hand. I began to do some research on the internet and noticed that I had other symptoms of Parkinson’s. This led me to conclude that I might have Parkinson’s. I went to a neurologist and after a few appointments and a sleep study he concluded the same thing.

Most people think that Parkinson’s is just tremors. Parkinson’s involves stiffening muscles, slowness of movement, exhaustion, mysterious pains, foggy mind, depression, sleep disorders, change in physical appearance and much, much more. It is progressive and there is no cure, it can be treated with medications until the medications are no longer effective.

I have always been athletic person and lived an active and healthy life style. I did not want to take any medication. About two years into my diagnoses, my movements on my left side began to slow and my arm and hand would tremor. At that point, my Dr. convinced me to start medication. I am now taking about 10 pills a day at a little less than 3-hour intervals.

When I first received the diagnoses, I went to a physical therapist who specialized in movement and he gave me a set of exercises to do daily. You might see me here at the Kroc daily completing my exercises. I have done them every day for over 6 years. I also, run on an elliptical, shoot baskets, lift weights and soak in the hot tub. I have tried to keep my life as normally as it can be. I continue to garden, cook, camp, golf, fish, and spend time with my family and their activities.

I believe that I wouldn’t be in the condition I am in today if not for exercising, eating right, trying to keep my life as normally as possible and having faith in God. Now in my 30th year of teaching, I have cut back to half-time because of the stress. Stress plays havoc with Parkinson’s symptoms, the less stress, the less Parkinson’s. After exercising in the morning, I gain energy and able to go to school and teach a full day. The thing that helps me the most is getting up and going, no matter how exhausted I feel. I must get started, if I don’t I will end up in a chair at home sleeping. There are times when my medicine isn’t working, and I am exhausted, I am bent over, I shuffle my feet, and I move very slow. Most people would not believe it, if they have ever seen me exercising and my physical appearance when my medicine is working. At some point, the medicine will become ineffective. I don’t know what my future holds, but as a Christian I intend to follow God’s words and run the race and be a light to others with afflictions. The following are some good verses to consider: 2 Corinthians 4:17 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. Proverbs 17:22 22A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. 2 Timothy 4:7

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.