Huntington's Disease Society of America
Meet Joe & Monica
My name is Joseph Paul Collins II. I was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease in January of 2008. I did not know my biological parents, so this diagnosis was quite a shock to me and my family.
Due to the physical symptoms I was experiencing, I had to leave my job at the mine where I worked for almost 30 years. I love and miss driving those enormous haul trucks. I also had to give up driving and my wife became my chauffeur. Prior to my diagnosis, my wife had noticed I was having anger issues. She thought it was a lack of sleep from the hours I worked; every week was a different shift at the mine. It wasn’t until the diagnosis of HD came in, that we understood why I was having behavioral and physical problems.
Every day with HD is a struggle. I can only walk short distances so I use a wheelchair when we go out. I also have trouble speaking and swallowing. It is easier to eat soft or pureed foods. My wife of 33 years left her job four yrs ago to care for me. I depend on her for all of my needs.
We have met some great people at our support group. We love doing things together; like going to movies, short trips, eating out or just hanging out. With our new friends we created a team for the Tucson Team Hope Walk called “The Three Amigos”. Together we raised over $3,000.
I’m blessed to have family and friends who love and support me and whom I love very much.