Late last week, songbird Linda Ronstadt exclusively revealed to AARP.org that she has Parkinson’s disease.

“I had two very bad tick bites in the ’80s, and my health has never recovered since then,” she said. "I have Parkinson’s disease, which may be a result of that tick bite. They’re saying now they think there’s a relationship between tick bites and Parkinson’s disease — that a virus can switch on a gene, or cause neurodegeneration.

“I think I’ve had it for seven or eight years already, because I’ve had the symptoms that long. Then I had a shoulder operation, so I thought that must be why my hands were shaking. Parkinson’s is very hard to diagnose. So when I finally went to a neurologist and he said, “Oh, you have Parkinson’s disease,” I was completely shocked. I was totally surprised. I wouldn’t have suspected that in a million, billion years.

“There’s nothing you can do about it except inform yourself. And I’m learning from other Parkinson’s patients that there are different treatments besides the drugs they give you.

“You always learn more from failure than success. I really believe that. I think adversity is a great teacher.”

Linda’s autobiography, Simple Dreams, is out next month. Read the full interview here.

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