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My Wedding Verse of Courage Can Be Our Parkinson’s Pep Talk

courage

I can’t believe that it’s been almost 39 years since I got married. July 4, 1980, was the day I obtained my independence. Sort of.

When the pastor was preparing for our wedding ceremony with my soon-to-be husband and me, he asked if we would like to include a particular biblical passage as our “life verse.” We chose some verses that were associated with bravery and courage (Deuteronomy 31:6-8). 

I don’t recall why we chose those specific verses over the thousands of others in the Bible instead of something like “love is kind.” Perhaps our youth had something to do with it.

We may not have given much thought to a “life verse” when we said “I do” 39 years ago, but the verse became just that during the many personal trials we went through over the years. One of these is Parkinson’s disease (PD). Certain life events require you to be brave whether you want to be or not.

It’s easy to tell someone to be brave; it’s another thing to have courage. I remember my granddaughter watching a movie with her “Boppa,” and he was pretending to be afraid. She asked him what was wrong and he replied, “I’m just not very brave right now.” She said, “Yes, Boppa, you are brave. You just don’t know it yet.”

Parkinson’s disease is a real enemy. At times we show fear and terror on our masked faces as we continue on our difficult journey. The verses we chose to guide us told us to be strong and courageous. They urged us to be calm and assured us of God’s presence.

Our wedding “life verse” was originally a pep talk given by Moses before going to battle. (Remember him? He was the guy who parted the Red Sea.) It was our pep talk when we got married; it can also be a pep talk for those of us with PD.

I still encounter enemies of various kinds (like Parkinson’s disease), but I’ve learned to be strong and courageous. It’s a lifelong lesson. We need a pep talk now and then to encourage us to face our struggle with courage. We go into battle with PD after defeating fear with the knowledge that we are not alone.

We can find words of wisdom everywhere that we can carry for life. You could even borrow mine — they’ve worked for me.

Following is my pep talk for those with PD:

  • Be strong. Be filled with courage. 
  • Do not be afraid and don’t be terrified.
  • Do not be discouraged.
  • You are never alone.

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Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

The post My Wedding Verse of Courage Can Be Our Parkinson’s Pep Talk appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Finding Courage to Face Life by Using the CHRONDI Creed

CHRONDI Creed

My previous eight columns addressed the CHRONDI Creed, a plan anyone can put in place when seeking to live better with a chronic disease. The CHRONDI Creed is challenging to put in place as a way of life. It takes courage to face life honestly and to make the changes needed to move toward well-being. It takes courage to wake up every day with a chronic disease and to stand tall with the CHRONDI Creed as your action plan.

Life is about choices. Using the CHRONDI Creed is a choice. I could say to myself, “I am tired of having to do all this hard work.” And on bad days, that voice gets annoyingly loud.

That voice was particularly loud while driving to my monthly doctor’s visit for my other chronic disease, ocular histoplasmosis. It’s an eye disease, and I need chemo treatment injected in the eye every month. This treatment is scary. Imagine watching a needle coming straight for your eyeball and then watching the fluid being injected. Imagine the thoughts and fears.

I sign a waiver every time because of the risks involved with this treatment. Do I want to want to do this? Dumb question, right? But if I don’t do it then there is a chance the disease will eventually take my sight. It’s a choice. I could choose not to do it, but instead, I choose to face this scary treatment every month. Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather facing fear and doing what promotes health.

It takes courage to use the CHRONDI Creed as a way of living better with a chronic disease. CHRONDI stands for the following:

C – Compassion: I will act compassionately toward others and find gentleness toward self.

H – Happiness: I will seek the inner bliss of happiness that is not material in nature.

R – Rehabilitation: I will apply courage and mindfulness to a total health rehabilitation plan.

O – Others: I will genuinely communicate with others about my experiences and maintain an attitude of gratitude for their help.

N – Nature: I will take time to embrace nature and all its beauty, which may include gardening, walks in the forest, and just sitting with nature.

D – Death: I will find the courage to face the terror of the “death of self” (loss) and not let it control me.

I – Individuality: I will continue to express my individuality and my purpose beyond the disease.

The CHRONDI Creed is a series of self-affirming statements. (For more detailed information about each one, click on the links above.) I start each day with these statements and have been doing so for years. They have become my inner dialogue — most of the time. It’s a healthy inner dialogue to replace all the negative, sometimes nasty, inner noise. Keeping that negative noise numbed down to a level of minimal impact is an important part of my personal plan for well-being.

Choosing to live by the CHRONDI Creed is not quite as intrepid as a needle stuck in your eye, but it is still something that takes a strong dose of courage. It takes courage to look honestly at your life and ask, “Am I living by this creed?”

I have found that the CHRONDI Creed gives me more strength, helps me to have more courage, and adds to my quality of life while living with a chronic disease. I am always looking for a way to live the creed more completely.

Where have you needed to draw upon courage in making choices to live better with a chronic disease? Please share in the comments below. 

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Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

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Combating the Fear of Parkinson’s Disease

fear

Sherri Journeying Through

There is an acrostic I have seen for “fear”:

False
Evidence
Appearing
Real

I am sure the author of that acrostic meant well, and while there is some validity to it, it is not completely accurate. Ask anyone who is dealing with any kind of illness. Speak to an elderly person who knows they only have days, maybe weeks left to live. A mother who is waiting to see if the test results of the baby she carries are accurate. The father who just lost his young wife and must now raise his three young children on his own. Or the single mother who has just lost her job.

These people’s fears don’t just appear real. They are real. Those who live with a chronic illness deal with fear daily. A chronic disease robs you of the joy in your journey, the delight in your day. It steals your contentment and calm, replaces wonder with worry. So what do you do when the worry ogre comes to call? When fear capsizes its ship in your harbor and leaves you to deal with the wreckage? How do you handle the kind of fear that does that?

In his book, “Fearless,” Max Lucado examines fears relating to finances, children, violence, and more. However, he doesn’t address the fears of living with a chronic illness. Yet, tackling the fear of unemployment, our children’s safety, violence, chronic illness, etc., are all dealt with in the same way.

Fear is a feeling or emotion about a perceived threat, either real or imagined. It’s the condition of being afraid. It is having a feeling of dread and hopelessness. It is assuming something terrible is going to come out of a given situation. Having Parkinson’s disease can make you feel like that: afraid, threatened, hopeless.

We fear losing our ability to talk coherently. To sing or dance. To write, read, paint, draw. We fear losing the ability to hold our children or grandchildren, to hug our spouse. We fear having to depend on others for help with everyday tasks. We fear there will be no cure. We fear we will be left to die with this cruel disease instead of the more abstract fear of being hit by an unmanned, runaway ice cream truck.

Fear implies a sense of anxiety and a loss of courage. With fear, there is an intense reluctance to face or meet a specific situation such as Parkinson’s disease. There is an aversion to fear, and rightly so.

One thing I don’t want to be in this battle against Parkinson’s disease is a coward, but it’s certainly easy to let the fears take control and to think about the “what ifs.” This is when I step back and ask myself where my faith lies.

A friend, Ardyce Glessing, shared the following in a Facebook group: “I too have fears of not being able to look after myself and be dependent on my family for everything. I am used to taking care of everyone else and I wish it could stay that way. Somedays I do pretty good and try to carry on and think positive, but at times I just break down and cry from, I guess, a fear of the unknown. Eventually, I get over it and carry on with the rest of my day. I can honestly say it’s always in the back of my mind though. My family is supportive, but I don’t like to continually complain about my problems so just usually say ‘I’m doing good”. Every day I pray for a cure or a medication that stops the progression of PD.”

A recurring theme in facing and combatting fears seems to be having a positive attitude. Although this may seem basic, it’s often hard to muster up courage when you’re facing your little monster every day. I like Ardyce’s fear-buster tip: “Have a good cry.”

There is a legitimate fear in not knowing what the future holds, but thankfully, I believe God holds the future. So, while we can have a good cry now and then, we can also remember God still remains in control, even though all around us it seems life is unraveling.

I think we all have fears, but we seldom talk about those fears. I find myself moving onto other things to distract myself from harmful thoughts that may never amount to anything.

And again, Ardyce is spot on: Sometimes we just need a good cry to wash those fears away.

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Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

The post Combating the Fear of Parkinson’s Disease appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Source: Parkinson's News Today

Walking Through the Valley of Shadows

shadows

Sherri Journeying Through

One of my grandson’s favorite things to do when we go for a walk is to follow his shadow or to chase mine. It brings out the giggles in him. One of the hardest things for those who struggle with a chronic illness such as Parkinson’s disease is to watch oneself become less of the person one feels they once were. A “shadow of your former self,” some say.

One of the greatest promises God ever gave to us was that He would be there with us when we walked through the valleys of the shadow of death. Those places where we would feel as if we can’t take another step. The places where we feel we are not going to recover from this long and difficult journey. The places where life’s ups and downs have us stuck in “down” mode and we aren’t sure if we can or ever will recover.

A shadow occurs when something comes between light and a surface. So, for instance, when you are outdoors, your shadow occurs when you are between the sunlight and the sidewalk. Shadows occur in the valleys of creation by the mountains that are erected around us. The valleys are low and the mountaintops can seem so high. They can seem agonizingly overwhelming. We can feel as if they are closing in on us, attempting to leave us in utter darkness.

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.” – Psalm 23:4

King David wrote these words over 3,000 years ago. He personally knew what running from the shadow of death felt like. He ran from shadows for years as King Saul sought his life. He hid from death while he waited to receive the king’s crown, as God had promised him. He fought against death when he boldly stepped forth and took down Goliath when everyone else stepped back, shaking in their boots. David walked through the valley of the shadow of death where he learned to fear no evil. He had learned to not be afraid in the valleys of his childhood where God trained him to conquer the hard stuff. The wild stuff. God trained David to walk through the valleys so he could learn to trust his Shepherd.

He knew God’s rod and staff were used for the very same purposes that he used them for his own sheep: to guard and protect, comfort and save. Because of his past experiences, he was able to walk through the present, while being guided by the mighty hands of his God. He had learned to trust God through the valleys. The valleys of hard places. The valleys of pain and sorrow. The valleys of shadows where death drew near.

Sometimes it’s hard to giggle like a child when the shadows we see and deal with are shadows of whom we are presently, but we must remember: They are merely shadows. Perhaps we once did skip down the sidewalk in glee where now we may be rolling in a wheelchair or steadying ourselves with a cane. But the light still shines, no matter how dark and gloomy life may appear around us. Something may have stepped in behind us to cause shadows around us — pain, loss of control, sorrow — but there is still light before us, and as long as we keep following that light and moving forward, we will not only be able to walk through the valleys ahead but also climb to the mountaintops as well.

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Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

The post Walking Through the Valley of Shadows appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Source: Parkinson's News Today

I Will Fear No More

fear

Sherri Journeying Through

Often when I am tired, feeling sorry for myself, or in need of encouragement and truth, I pick up and read my Bible. Sometimes I am inspired to mix up the message (hopefully without mixing up the meaning), and in doing so, it becomes much more personal.

The following is a “mixed-up” version of Psalm 23. If you’re having an especially hard day today, I hope it encourages you in your journey with Parkinson’s disease or whatever shadows you’re facing.

In the valley of the shadows of this disease, where darkness threatens to consume me, causing an uneasiness and anxiousness about my life, I will fear nothing. He will lead me to green pastures and quiet waters, and it is there I will find rest.

Though the darkness clamors around me relentlessly from every side, clawing at me for what little that remains, still I will fear nothing. It is through the darkness I am renewed and restored.

In the coming of the night, though my body trembles, my heart shakes, and I question whether I will make it through to dawn — still I will fear nothing. A rod and staff stand positioned ready to comfort and protect. I am not alone.

In the deepest of the dark, when my mind dances as a winter storm pulling from its chains and playing the game of what-ifs with my weakened state of mind, yet again, I will fear nothing.

When my night journey threatens to consume my soul, laying me twisted, contorted, and vulnerable before the world, still I will fear nothing. Instead, I will enter into a glorious feast and those who taunted and teased will stand watching, hungry, and humbled.

For the dark of the night will turn its ugly face to the Light of the morning. And it is there — there.

I will feel no more,
I will see no more,
I will fear no more,
for there will be no more
shadows,
no more darkness,
no more disease …

… in the Light of that morning.

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Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

The post I Will Fear No More appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Source: Parkinson's News Today