Running Again by Scott Fitts

A Journal of training and running with Parkinson



Finally a race.  After over a year of waiting for Covid to settle down, Ft. Worth’s Cowtown Half/Full Marathon offered a delayed race on May 8, 2021, which is normally held in late February.  Since it was rescheduled in the time of year I don’t like to run due to possible high temperatures, I was willing to overlook that so I could just run a half race.  Turned out that not only was the temperature in the high 70’s,  southerly gusty winds made it impossible to run at times. At mile 11, every runner I came upon was walking against the wind which I had never seen before.   But I proudly finished, even though it was my worst time ever.

I finally got to run again.

But little did I know that would be the last race I would run before the world changed for Sherry and me.

Going for my annual physical in August 2021, Dr. David Whittiker, my primary doctor, noticed my speech and shaky hand  and quickly suggested that I might have Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and needed to see a neurologist. I immediately thought he was wrong by giving me a such quick diagnosis and cancelled the neurologist appointment his nurse had scheduled.  I felt fine.

He had made the appointment with a local neurologist, Dr. Jessica Schultz. I was in denial, which almost all people with Parkinson’s o through in the beginning.  Thankfully they called back again a couple of months later and I scheduled a visit for December 16, 2021, 5 days after my 64th birthday. The hand was still shaking.

After a few motor skills tests and asking a lot of questions, she  confirmed what Whittiker had discovered.  PARKINSON’S.  At first I said,  “well, OK” trying not to upset Sherry.  But instead, Sherry quickly went into her problem solving mode, which she is well known for, not giving in to a crying session in the doctor’s office. In the parking lot  Sherry hugged me and she was about to lose it. I told her not now, don’t cry in front of me – wait until you get in your car. I think I was kind of in shock.

I made the decision not to tell anyone, because my mother was still alive and I didn’t want her to know because of the heart and asthma problems she was having herself. I was afraid it might put unnecessary stress on those conditions. We didn’t even tell our kids which I found was a real hardship on Sherry. She said she had to talk to someone about it, but I was still in denial. I didn’t even take the meds at first because I had doubts that I really had PD. I waited after the holidays to tell our kids, Braden, Conner, and Addison, but kept it quiet a few months for everyone else.  This decision about drove Sherry crazy because she wanted to tell our closest friends and have the support she needed. But over the next few months, I began to tell people I could trust.  Besides, the more people who knew, the more people that could pray for me.  God’s guidance and grace were needed.

So, over the next few months I kept running thinking I could get in one more race before my condition got worse but other things put a stop to that idea.  Before my diagnosis I had gotten Covid in October 2021 which affected my breathing and still does.  In August 2022 my enlarged prostate, which was never going to get smaller,  was removed and then in October 2022 I had 2 stints put in my heart after discovering 80% blockage in my right ventricle. So, the January 2023 3M race in Austin was out.

With progression of the disease, I needed something to slow it down.  Sherry had researched early on that the best exercise and therapy used by most people with PD was LSVT Big & LSVT Loud.  These treatments were customized goals targeting both gross and fine motor skills. Some examples of the benefits included walking faster, improved balance, increased truck rotation, speaking louder and just improved daily living.  This introduced me to Debbie Williams (PT) and Leesa Jones (Vocal PT) at the North Texas Rehab in Wichita Falls, two women that helped change my attitude and  understanding of what was needed to improve my way of living with PD.

Leesa not only helped my speech, but she became a prayer warrior for me. After each session we would hold hands and we would pray together asking for God’s guidance & grace in our lives and giving him all the glory.  It was a special time I’ll never forget.  A month (May 2023) after I finished LSVT Loud Therapy, she took her planned retirement.  God put me there at the right place at the nick of time.

Debbie’s PT began in November 2022 with the basics of LSVT  Big and lasted until January 2023 after my insurance ran out. But later in the year, when the progression was increasing and I began feeling stiff and falling often I thought it was time for a full blown treatment of Big. After a few weeks of struggles, I could see some improvements.  Debbie was great at encouraging, keeping  rehab positive, and was patient with me at all times, but it was something she said that got me all fired up.

When talking with her one day I told her of things I missed doing the most with the biggest being not running anymore, especially half marathons. Since 2010, when I ran my first half, I had completed 25 races and each time was just as fun and rewarding as the last.  To my surprise, she said “by the end of the year, we’ll have you running one”.  

I’d been thinking I was done with racing and there was no way I could achieve something like that again. This was music to my ears, but I still have my doubts.  But it gave me the energy and a new goal to achieve.  YES!

  1. The 3M Half Marathon, Austin Texas, January 19, 2025 will be it. Why this race?  My best times are mostly at this race, with my personal best (PB) time of 1:51 having been done there.  Most importantly, it is pretty much all downhill!  Living in flat North Texas, it’s a big plus and also the weather is usually ideal for that time of  year.

Then over Christmas after talking to my nephew Crews about my plans to run 3M, he said he wanted to do it with me and other family members joined in. How cool will that be. A few friends have also committed . If you want to run with us, check out 3M website (  

So, until then I will begin training and keeping a journal of my training schedule which will include times, miles, body condition, weight changing goals and the effects on a person with PD.  I couldn’t find anything on-line to help me, so maybe this will be a useful resource for others.

Also, I want thank a lot of friends and others for their prayers, help, and encouragement.  Especially Tim Thomas, my Monday morning stretching guru at URHCS and others at North Texas Rehab. All are great at their jobs.

Mostly I want to give all the Glory to Jesus Christ my Savior who gives me more than I deserve. If I can’t do this, that’s okay. I know there are other things more important in this world he wants to happen.  One is, people need  turn their attention to him and give him all the glory,  honor and praise he deserve.  I’ve already been blessed more than I could have ever imagined. Parkinson’s is a blessing that has drawn me closer to him and that’s all he wants.

Time to Run Again.


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