Dale’s Story: Parkinson’s Disease

After being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2003, 46-year-old Dale Ankenman was determined not to let it keep him off his bike. Considering his long list of credentials, including former U.S. Navy Submariner, qualified ArmyRanger, scuba diver and parachutist, he wasn’t used to the idea of something he could not physically conquer.

Despite being diagnosed with the disease just months earlier, Dale and his wife took part in the inaugural Sunflower Revolution bike ride, a fundraiser for the Gardner Family Center at UCNI, a decision he says changed his life. Inspired by the positive things he heard about the Gardner Family Center physicians, he decided to change neurologists. He began seeing Dr. Fredy Revilla and noticed an immediate improvement in his care.

When Dr. Revilla recommended DBS surgery, Dale wasn’tready to take that step. Then, a car accident resulted in head trauma that exacerbated his tremors and dyskinesia and introduced the new symptom of pill rolling (an involuntary rubbing motion with the thumb and index finger). Three months after the accident, in the summer of 2008, Dale optedfor DBS with UCNI neurosurgeon Dr. George Mandybur. Following surgery, he knew the right decision was made almost immediately when stiffness in his right knee, a pain that had troubled him for years, subsided. He recovered in just six weeks, fast enough to again ride in the Sunflower Revolution, marking his fifth consecutive ride since the event began the year of his diagnosis.

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Hope Story Disclaimer – This story describes an individual patient’s experience.
Because every person is unique, individual patients may respond to treatment in different ways. Outcomes are influenced by many factors and may vary from patient to patient.

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