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I’m Learning that Life Doesn’t Always Need to Be Lived ‘My Way’

my way, courage

I saw a musical movie with my daughter a while back. We were the only people in the theater and we had a great time. The only problem is that these types of movies awaken my repressed desire to sing and dance, much to my family’s despair. 

I left the theater singing, adding a few little dance moves to the words I could remember (which were few) in my song of choice. (Yes, the attendant behind the snack bar delighted in laughing at me.)

Pain in pleasure

And then, in one of my graceful moves, I threw out my back. The pain seared through the entire middle section. Fortunately, it didn’t last too long.

What was unfortunate, however, was coming face to face with Parkinson’s disease once again. I know that no matter what my heart desires, this thieving disease will determine whether I can do what I’d like to do. Ultimately, it isn’t my decision to make. Not really, anyhow.

My way would be a different way

If I had my way, I’d join a dance class and learn to waltz.

If I had my way, I’d go skiing just one more time.

If I had my way, I’d play softball and hit a home run.

If I had my way, I’d put on my own socks and shoes.

If I had my way, I’d insist that I can do it all myself.

If I had my way, I’d do many things I once could do but can no longer do.

But today is different

I can’t have my way. Parkinson’s has seen to that.

I’ve had to learn to receive and accept that I am not always able to give.

I’ve had to learn that dancing will have to wait, at least for right now.

I’ve had to learn that skiing is not for me anymore.

I’ve had to learn that others are able and willing to do what I cannot.

I’ve learned, unlike Frank Sinatra, that I don’t always have to have it — or do it — my way.

And I’m learning … that’s all OK.

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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’m Learning that Life Doesn’t Always Need to Be Lived ‘My Way’ appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Playing Helps to Calm a Blustery Day with Parkinson’s

playing

Fall is rapidly passing by, and with it goes your last opportunity to fly a kite. Even though April is National Kite Flying Month, I have always thought the blustery days of fall were the best time of year for kite flying.

I love blustery days, when the wind whistles through the trees and leaves are blown every which way. Taking a walk through the park with my grandkids in tow and stopping to jump in a pile of rich autumn color brings out the child in me, and I feel a longing to revisit my younger days.

We know we can’t go back, but going forward doesn’t have to mean succumbing to old age just because we’ve been selected to play in the Parkinson’s band. The child in us should be let loose to play as it once was: wild and free, laughing and giggling, dancing and singing. 

Laughter does a body good

You’ve heard it said that laughter is the best medicine. Where you hear laughter, you’ll most likely find someone playing or jesting with another person. There are many ways to play, and no reason not to.

Although Halloween is my least favorite holiday because it’s so creepy, I admit that I got a kick out of our 65-year-old neighbor who used to go trick-or-treating each year as SpongeBob SquarePants.

I always laughed when I answered the doorbell and found him standing there with his pillowcase half full of candy. After getting his treat, he would walk to the next house in his royal blue tights. I think he got more treats than the kids did.

To quote George Bernard Shaw, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”

The next time your grandkids (or kids) are with you, don’t fill the time with channel surfing or watch their backs as they play video games. Instead, get out a game or a puzzle and do it together. On a rainy day, play ball in the house using balloons or have a fluff war using large pompoms, hiding behind couches and chairs or tables turned on their sides.

While I was visiting my son, he and his family played games of basketball and baseball. I mainly watched, but I wish I could have bottled their infectious laughter — that stuff that’s like medicine to a weary spirit — and brought it home with me.

Play can be creative

You can also play creatively. You don’t have to be an artist to draw or paint. There are hundreds of YouTube videos that show how to create beautiful pictures step by step. Some of my favorites are about pour painting. You pour different colors of paint into a cup, turn the cup upside down on a canvas, let the paint spread out (with a little coaxing), and voila! You’ve made an original artwork.

The opposite of a blustery day is a calm day, but sometimes it’s hard to feel calm when you’re living with a disease that can constantly have you shaking on the inside as well as the outside. That’s when it’s time to put on your windbreaker, head outside with your kite, and watch the song from “Mary Poppins” come alive:

When you send it flyin’ up there
All at once you’re lighter than air
You can dance on the breeze
Over ‘ouses and trees
With your fist ‘olding tight
To the string of your kite

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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 Playing Helps to Calm a Blustery Day with Parkinson’s appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Dancing for Dopamine

music, dancing, visual hallucinations, antipsychotics

Sherri Journeying Through

I have been starving for music lately. I am not great at technology stuff, and my husband has much of our media set up so that if I get ahold of the remote control for the music-player thingy, it’s safe to say my husband will soon be working on bringing our technology stuff back to life.

But the other day, I decided to brave it while he wasn’t home because, as I said, I was starving for music. And not just any old music, but some good ol’ Steven Curtis Chapman-style music. Some Chris Tomlin-style music. After finally getting Alexa (the other woman in our home who is technologically very friendly) to finally stop taking a survey from me, and me screaming “ALEXA, STOP!” at the top of my lungs for 10 minutes, I somehow finally got a song to start playing.

During my starvation period, I had begun to feel down. I know that Parkinson’s can assist in making your blue days even bluer, and mine were becoming a dark blue. I wasn’t about to give up hope and decided to put on some music while my husband visited the dentist as I watched my 3-year-old grandson.

For the most part, I cannot play music softly. I have to crank it up and feel it. I’m not talking about the music that my brother used to listen to on the way to school. You know, the kind of music that leaves you shaking out of your skin because the volume is so loud, the drums reverberate inside the speakers, and the electric guitars screech as screech-ily as they can. This was not the kind of music that researchers say relieves the symptoms of depression or eases pain. This was not the kind of music that others say benefits our physical and mental health in many ways. No. This was the kind of music that you don’t want to listen to when your blue skies have turned to gray.

I was reading an article today that said it was recently discovered that dopamine is released when you are listening to music (specifically NOT heavy metal/techno or the like). It also showed that dopamine levels are up to 9 percent higher for those who listen to music. It was also noted that music can increase your focus levels.

After I read that, I cranked up my little techno helper Alexa, and after about six tries, she started playing a Steven Curtis Chapman song. Chapman has never let me down when he sings. He always plays the right song at the right time. Finn (my 3-year-old grandson) came into the kitchen where I was and started dancing. I picked him up and we danced together and he giggled and giggled. And I didn’t know it while we danced across the kitchen floor, but my dopamine levels were very happy. And that made all of me very, very happy.

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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 Dancing for Dopamine appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Source: Parkinson's News Today