Jonathan Herskovitz inspired us with his outlook on life- and his recent trip to Italy and Switzerland with his wife, his amazing attitude, and his electric scooter in tow. The Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy spoke with Jonathan to get his view on how to keep active and positive, no matter what life throws you- and how to continue to have adventures along the way.
Jonathan considers himself active, competitive and someone who loves life. He was a runner and an outdoorsman- he was diagnosed with CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome) which has had a huge impact on his mobility and his life. Jonathan keeps up with an active business, his terrific family, and just returned from a dream vacation in Italy and Switzerland.
Jonathan shares with us his story.
What is your connection to peripheral neuropathy?
About three years ago, I began getting overwhelming levels of pain in my feet. A neurologist diagnosed me with CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome). After watching FPN’s patient conference held in New York in 2018, I recognized the similarities between some of what I am experiencing and idiopathic peripheral neuropathy.
I now work with a team of healthcare professionals (a neurologist, physical therapist, acupuncturist, nutritionist and others) who help me face my condition every day.
You just came back from a trip to Italy and Switzerland. Can you give us the top tip on traveling with peripheral neuropathy and similar conditions?
I use a scooter to get around now due to the CRPS. One day, a woman opened the door for me- who mentioned that she has just come from traveling with her sister who uses a wheelchair. This stranger taught me a lot- and inspired me to step out of my comfort zone and even think about traveling.
The most important piece of advice I can give: be persistent and use a reputable mobility assistant travel agency. (I used Sage Traveling who made all the arrangements for me.)
I would also suggest to know your limits. Rest upon the day of arrival and day after your trip back. Also, take daily breaks. You can minimize your pain by pacing yourself, knowing your limits and resting.
What helps you think, I can do this…whatever this is
Persistence to accept the challenges in life and create a solution and plan to execute and accomplish. So, if I want to enjoy the outdoors, attend an expo, or travel I just sit down and plan, create, adjust, execute and adjust again if needed. Flexibility and adaptation to change is critical.
What would you say to people who are looking for inspiration to live their best life, despite their PN?
Accept that which you can’t change and work on what you can change. Living with pain causes one to focus on it daily, however, over time and with acceptance that focus can diminish and will become your new way of living. (your new normal)
What would you love people, with and without PN to know?
I once meet a Handicap Officer and he told that you never know someone’s disability because it’s not always visible. I thought about that and I said to myself, “I often wonder what people think, because I look like I am NOT in pain, but often times I am. The bottom line is, don’t worry about what others think, just live your life.
You are such an inspiration- what motto do you live by?
Smile, Smile, Smile. I am alive. There are ups and downs in life, and during the downs always find the ups. The ups are there, you just have to find them.
Thank you Jonathan for making us smile- and inspiring us to get out of our comfort zones and explore!