Parkinson's patient pours creative efforts into children's book

- The walls inside Jacquie Hoblit's home tell her story, including her painting of a woman in Paris on a background of street maps.

"I did this with acrylic polymer and crushed charcoal and painted it because we walked everywhere," she explained. 

But these days, creating works of art is tough.  That's because 10 years ago Jacquie was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, or PD for short.

"It was just a little tremor in my little finger but eventually it took over my right hand and my right side. And I'm right-handed, so it was, of course, terribly frustrating doing art,” she said as she tried to decrease the uncontrolled movements of her right arm. “I went through a period of depression, I suppose; it took me a long time to accept it.”

Part of that acceptance came in the form of photography and textured art using materials like computer pieces and jewelry. 

Now, this former art teacher is turning yet another page in her career by releasing her first children's book called 'Ms. O'Keeffe and Her Three Talented Cats.' 

"Took me a year; took me a good year to do that," she offered.

During that year, Jacquie was gaining strength in a boxing class for patients with PD. Studies show exercise helps manage or even delay Parkinson’s symptoms and the visual arts can help, too. 
           
But there's another way PD may affect artists.  According to a French study, medications used to treat PD enhanced creativity in people who were artistic before their diagnosis.  The creativity was lost in almost all patients when medications were stopped after a deep brain stimulator was implanted.  

A Japanese patient switched from impressionist paintings to realism even before his tremors began.

As for Jacquie, she's recently completed a video for her boxing class and plans to hand illustrate her next book -- work she'll tackle during quiet times in her day, when the shakiness subsides.

"I only do this jerky stuff when I’m anxious or nervous or tired,” she added.  “When I'm left alone and I'm calm, I'm great. I can do really well."

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