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Book details
  • SubGenre:Diseases / Nervous System
  • Language:English
  • Pages:144
  • eBook ISBN:9781543945423
  • Paperback ISBN:9781543945416

Counterpunch: Duking It Out With Parkinson's

by Gil Thelen and C. Struby Thelen

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A Hall of Fame Newspaper editor describes his turbulent journey of discovery with Parkinson's. Gil Thelen confronts this malady with infinite faces and—using keen reporting and engaging prose—offers inspirational and practical ways to foil the beastly tenant in his brain. Armed with Cornell medical training, a background of health and medical writing, and activism in national and local Parkinson's communities, Gil tackles his condition head-on. In two chapters, his wife Struby courageously reveals the devastating impact Parkinson's and its drugs have had on their marriage.

From both Parkie and care partner perspectives, Gil and Struby bare PD stumbling blocks and share workarounds to counterpunch this condition by taking aggressive action to stay upright, moving, productive, and to NOT be a victim. The perfect read for the newly diagnosed, looking for insights into Parkinson's, as well as anyone looking for guidance, either personally or professionally to help others, in fighting back against this baffling condition. An outstanding collection of recommended resources and suggestions for Parkies to get informed, get organized and get MOVING.

All proceeds from the book go to the Me-Over-PD 501(c)(3) Foundation, dedicated to creating live, local databases of crucial Parkinson's resources in communities across the United States.


This book chronicles a Parkie's journey of discovery from the inside--what PD feels like and does to a person's body. You walk in the shoes of Hall of Fame newspaper editor and publisher Gil Thelen and his care partner, fellow journalist Struby Thelen.

When Gil's Parkinson's diagnosis came in 2014, the news guy in him said "report the story." The resulting book, "Counterpunch: Duking It Out With Parksinson's," sets forth his--and his wife's--stories about the PD Beast churning in his brain.

"If you had behaved this way when I met you,, I never would have married you," Struby writes in the first of her two, care-partner chapters.

This book's primary message is to take aggressive action to counter Parkinson;s blows and to live well with the malady. The book is candid. No misadventure goes untold.

Driving down I-75 one memorable day, Gil could not make it to the next rest area. His PD-embattled urinary system let go. "I peed in my shoes, a disease sufferer's nightmare," Gil writes.

The prose is unadorned, unfailingly passionate, always accessible. The book contains numerous coping tips and "Lessons Learned."

"Counterpunch will provide fuel for Parkinson's disease patients and families who are ready to move forward and fight back. It is a great read," writes Dr. Michael S. Okun, famed Neurology Chairman at the University of Florida and Medical Director of the Parkinson's Foundation.

"The writing is very engaging, and ideal for the messages you are trying to convey," adds Dr. David Riley, Ohio Parkinson's specialist. "It's tough to make dry medical information entertaining, but you are succeeding admirably."

Dr. Jerri Edwards, Professor, University of South Florida's College of Medicine Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences, says "A straight-talking newspaper editor and his journalist wife describe their Parkinson's journey with wit and passion... 'Counterpunch' inspires, engages and teaches, a rare combination."

For the curious, the jaunty title comes from Gil's passion for Rock Steady Boxing Parkinson's training and his university, Duke.

About the author

Gil Thelen has been a journalist for more than 55 years, including a prizewinning medical reporter in Washington, a managing editor of The Charlotte Observer, editor of two South Carolina newspapers (Myrtle Beach and Columbia) before becoming editor of The Tampa Tribune in 1998. He was named to the Florida Newspaper Hall of Fame after his retirement as President and Publisher of the Tribune in 2006. He was Clendinen Professor at the University of South Florida's School of Journalism and Mass Communications, 2006-14.

Gil was educated at Duke University and Cornell University Medical College. He was diagnosed with Parkinson's in 2014. He is founder and president of Me-Over-PD, a 501(c)(3) foundation. Follow his Parkinson's journey at www.ShufflingEditor.com.

Struby Thelen met her future husband in the newsroom of The Charlotte Observer. She has been a prize-winning newspaper designer and supervising editor. While at The (Myrtle Beach, SC) Sun News, she edited and designed the book "Hurricane Hugo and The Grand Strand."