Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton (D-VA) announced in a solemn manner that she has decided to retire from Congress due to a rare neurological illness for which she has been diagnosed. The illness is referred to as Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), and it impairs speech, thinking, balance, and movement.
Wexton was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, but more recently, she was given a diagnosis of Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), which she likens to “Parkinson’s on steroids.”
The congresswoman announced her retirement plans and provided an update on her health on social media. Wexton declared, “I’ve always thought that the most important value in public service is honesty.” The difficulties posed by her new diagnosis were further discussed by her, who pointed out that although PSP has certain therapies, they are not as successful as those for Parkinson’s disease.
Wexton made her choice after realizing that her Parkinson’s support group experience was different from others’. Following the acquisition of other expert views, her diagnosis was changed to PSP, a more severe variant of the illness.
Wexton said she was determined to stay in Congress in an interview with the Washington Post, but her health did not get better as she had hoped. Wexton is currently concentrating on leading a healthy lifestyle by eating properly and getting enough sleep. Wexton keeps an optimistic attitude and focuses on the positive parts of life. Wexton vowed to tell her experience honestly as she shared a moment with Abigail Carter, her close friend and chief of staff.
“It’s okay,” Wexton assured Carter, before revealing her true feelings. “It’s not okay. It’s not okay at all … I’m going to die, which isn’t fair.”
— Rep. Jennifer Wexton (@RepWexton) September 18, 2023
PSP is characterized by difficulties moving the eyes, especially in a vertical (up and down) motion. The word “supranuclear” describes the situation as involving the brain regions that regulate the eye muscles rather than the actual eye muscles or the direct nerve supply to them.
PSP is characterized by a number of key symptoms, such as aberrant eye movements, dysphagia and speech difficulty, rigidity, balance issues, and frontal brain dysfunction.
Wexton wrote, “I’m heartbroken to have to give up something I have loved after so many years of serving my community,” expressing sadness over the choice. She made it clear that she wanted to spend as much time as possible with her family, which included her husband Andrew and their kids.
“When I made the decision to run for Congress, this was clearly not the way I anticipated it coming to a close,” Wexton said, looking back on her career. She treasures the relationships she’s forged and the influence she’s had on her community, despite the unforeseen obstacles.
She thanked Virginians for their confidence in her and reaffirmed her commitment to carrying out her duties for the duration of her tenure.
Although the precise origin of PSP is uncertain, certain brain regions are thought to be affected by the degradation of brain cells. People with PSP have abnormal buildup of a protein called tau in their brains.
Because PSP’s early symptoms might mimic those of multiple system atrophy, Parkinson’s disease, and other neurodegenerative illnesses, it is frequently misdiagnosed.
PSP has no known cure, and no known medication can stop the disease’s progression. The goal of treatment is to control symptoms. Certain Parkinson’s disease drugs may help some PSP patients for a brief period of time, but their efficacy is typically restricted.