ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Don Gialanella's morning starts like most, with some breakfast and a little hope.
"Eggs?" asks Hope Crosson.
"That sounds good," replies Don. With a cup of coffee in his hand, he adds, "Get a little espresso to start your day. Thank you, Hope.”
He has Crosson there to help with the making of breakfast, and he holds onto the hope that today's hand tremors don't get in the way too much.
Gialanella was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease back in 2016.
“Ya know, I have learned to work around my tremor," said Gialanella. "I can get dressed and drive, and do domestic tasks, it is just a little bit harder with the tremor.”
The first stop this morning is Crumptons Welding Supply Store in St. Pete for some work essentials. An artist for his entire life, Don specializes in large metal sculptures.
“Anything else you need with that?" the clerk asks Gialanella.
"Just the Argon, swap out the bottle of Argon," replies Gialanella.
With items needed for the day, the next stop is his workshop. On this day, he works to finalize five larger than life animals that will soon be placed around Crest Lake Park in Clearwater.
“It could probably use a weld here, see look," said Gialanella.
The biggest hurdle with Parkinson's at this point is the tremor in his right hand. He fights his way through it though, and adds some final touches to a different piece.
With no cure for Parkinson's, time is of the essence for Gialanella.
“The Parkinson’s I can’t say anything good about it," Gialanella laughs. "It’s all bad. It really is. The only thing that may be a positive aspect of it, is that it just absolutely dissolves your ego.”
Parkinson's is not a disease a person can hide easily. Each day he is often humbled by it, and sadly sometimes humbled by others.
“I mean how can you have an ego when you are shaking like a leaf? I mean people come up to me in restaurants and say, ‘Are you having a seizure?’ Ya know, it’s embarrassing, so there is no place for an ego, which is a good thing," said Gialanella.
No ego, but a driving desire to keep going and to keep seeing his work make others happy.
“Oh this is a great little gallery. Oh here is the pieces right here, Hope," said Gialanella.
The final stop of the day is the Chihuly Art Museum in St. Pete. He and Hope walk around looking at four of Gialanella's pieces on display.
Gialanella wants to keep creating, and that means doing whatever he can to keep the Parkinson's at bay. That is why this past Summer, he went to the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio for testing.
As it turns out, Gialanella is a candidate for a procedure called High Intensity Focused Ultrasound. Come mid-November, Gialanella will go back to and be put into an MRI machine and undergo brain surgery.
“As soon as they zap it they will know," said Gialanella. "They slide you out of the MRI and you put your hand up and they can assess how much shaking or lack of shaking is happening, yeah I am really looking forward to it.”
The doctors will oblate part of his brain where the tremors originate.
“If it doesn’t work, I am no worse off than when I went in," said Gialanella. “It would just make life so much easier, that is the goal.”
The results from the surgery will be instantaneous. Bay News 9 will update the story once the procedure is complete.