Dealing with “Parkinson’s on steroids,” Virginia Rep. Jennifer Wexton navigates exhausting and gridlocked Congress

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Undated picture of Rep. Jennifer Wexton, Democrat of Virginia, middle.

Photograph supplied by Rep. Wexton’s workplace


“Fatigue completely does have an effect,” she stated throughout an prolonged interview. “A very powerful factor you are able to do is get sleep.”

She teared up a number of instances as she echoed the message she despatched to constituents in a written assertion earlier this 12 months: “I am heartbroken to have to surrender one thing I’ve beloved after so a few years of serving my group.”


“I have been worse since September. It has been tiring. It has been actually exhausting being right here for the ten weeks,” she stated. “It is terrible.”

Her voice is barely louder than a whisper, and her capability to enunciate has been weakened. She speaks shortly, and her speech is at instances troublesome to decipher. Wexton and her workers repeatedly encourage colleagues and guests to ask her to repeat herself if they can not perceive what she’s saying.  


“You may additionally have seen her crying on the ground and assume she’s actually upset or one thing is improper,” Carter continued, “however crying extra simply is one other symptom of the illness. Generally she’ll cry about blissful moments or unhappy issues. Generally the warmest hug from sure Members or mates will even spark tears. When the tears do come, that additionally impacts her capability to talk in a approach which you could simply perceive.”

She traverses the Capitol complicated with aides and strolling sticks. Wexton acknowledges the rising problem of navigating the sprawling Capitol complicated on foot, whereas combating the ache and mobility limitations of her illness. 

“There’s a whole lot of forwards and backwards,” she stated. “It is exhausting on all the pieces.”

Wexton stated, “It was very nice of her to say that.”

Wexton stated she nonetheless has hopes for legislative accomplishments and advocacy within the ultimate 14 months of her congressional profession.  

“Childhood most cancers analysis is basically essential to me,” she stated. Wexton desires Congress to do extra to make sure analysis and help for “mind well being and Parkinson’s, and to discover a treatment for (Progressive Supra-nuclear Palsy) and to [give] folks extra sources for it.”



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