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With Parkinson’s, the Good Is Worth the Fight

grit

In her latest column at Parkinson’s News Today, Jean Mellano shares a frightening experience she had several years ago while cycling in Spain. “The memory of that trip plays in my mind as I fight my new battle against another formidable adversary,” she writes. “Just when I think I am making headway against this beast called Parkinson’s, it rears its ugly head with a renewed fury.”

Isn’t that just like the Parkinson’s beast? Much like what Jean describes, it can come head-on, offering no grace. For some, it gives a reprieve and hides for a time. That’s rare, but it’s been known to happen.

Be in it to win it

Jean says she is a survivor. After reading some of what she has been through, I am inclined to agree. She is someone who has continued to press on despite her circumstances.

In “The Lord of the Rings,” Sam tells Frodo (after somewhat of a lengthy speech), “Folk in those stories [of hardship] had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something. … That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, … and it’s worth fighting for.”

How do you keep going while living with Parkinson’s disease? You believe the good is worth the fight. It is worth cinching your belt and preparing for a battle for hope. It is worth pulling up your boot straps, sharpening your sword, polishing your shield, and setting your helmet securely upon your head.

It is time to do battle with the beast. Be in it to win it.

With Parkinson’s, you must be ready for the blows it will throw at you. Be intentional. You need to be ready to strike back.

How to keep pressing on

  • Get up and exercise: Parkinson’s will try to keep you in your recliner. Pull tight on those boot straps and move! Even if it’s walking around your house two times a day, something is better than nothing.
  • Take care of yourself mentally: Don’t let Parkinson’s steal your joy. Focus on what makes you happy.
  • Spend time wisely: Parkinson’s will compete for your energy. Decide in advance how you will handle your “down” time. Don’t waste the time given to you.
  • Fill your mind with truth: Parkinson’s will mess with your head, so keep that helmet snug. Play brain games. Listen to encouraging music.

I call Parkinson’s the “little monster.” It is out to destroy us, but we can’t give up and we can’t give in. We don’t have to be alone in this battle. We are in this together.

***

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 With Parkinson’s, the Good Is Worth the Fight appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Are You a Victim or a Winner?

victim

When I think of a victim, I think of someone who has had something bad happen to them. A victim could be someone who has been tricked or fooled in some way. Maybe the person has been harmed, or even killed.

Or it could be someone who has been affected by an illness.

Enter Parkinson’s disease

A diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a life sentence. It is an incurable, chronic illness destined to be your companion for the rest of your days. And a not so pleasant companion at that.

But must we take on the role of victim? Because we have been told that we must live with this disease we often loathe, must we live defeated? Must we live as if we have lost the fight against something that begs for control over our body? Give in and give up, throwing to the wind whatever hope we had left?

Enter the winner

A winner perseveres in the game, whether it is soccer, parkour, Monopoly, boxing, or cards. Winners are the champions of their games. A winner wins. They defeat their opponent with ability, strategy, and hard work.

We are playing a game with Parkinson’s disease. It is a never-ending game, and we must work hard and play strategically, giving it our all. Our life depends on it.

How to play the game

As with any game, if you don’t play to win, you most likely will lose. If you don’t play to win at Parkinson’s, you most likely are playing without hope.

Playing without hope is nothing short of a death sentence. It is as if we are deciding that there is nothing better. As if we think we know what the future holds. 

Instead of allowing dark clouds to hover above our heads, we should be playing this game of PD with unfettered hope. A hope that says and believes that someone is out there fighting with and for us. A hope that doesn’t give up.

The Michael J. Fox Foundation mission statement says, “Here. Until Parkinson’s isn’t. We went into business to go out of business. We act with urgency, focus and determination, and won’t stop until a cure is found.”

I don’t know about you, but that gives me hope.

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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 Are You a Victim or a Winner? appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Hope Is Good Medicine When Fighting Parkinson’s Disease

hope

I thought I knew what to expect. But I was hoping that the first opinion was incorrect — that they had missed something or seen something that wasn’t there.

I drove on, the second opinion soon to come.

Entering through the sliding glass doors, I made a right turn and pushed the elevator button. I ascended two floors, stepped out, made a left to the neurology department, and checked in. New patient paperwork filled out, I took a seat among others who sat waiting.

The wait was unusually short. When my name was called, I stood and followed the nurse back to the room that I would occupy for the next two hours.

White. All white.

The walls, the trash cans, the sheet of paper that covered the exam tables — everything was sterile white. Cold and uninviting. But then what is “friendly” about a doctor’s office? I would soon find out.

The nurse ran through the paperwork and repeated the questions that I had already answered with a pen. After taking my vitals, she stood, and as she turned to leave the room, she said, “The doctor will be right with you.”

“Yeah,” I thought. “Right with me.” At least I didn’t have to wait in the lobby. But before my thoughts had time to flourish, the door opened.

The doctor’s smile was wide as he stretched out his hand. He was dressed in slacks and sweater, his dark, curly hair pulled back into a neat ponytail and topped with a knit beret. After the introductions, he began “testing.”

Testing for Parkinson’s disease is different than for most other conditions. There are no blood or urine tests, or scans — at least, there weren’t then, nearly 20 years ago. These “tests” began with the following:

  •  Close your eyes.
  •  Start at 60 and count backward with your eyes closed.
  •  Arms out in front, palms up, palms down, tap thumbs and second fingers together, etc., etc.

He made notes for the next 20 minutes. Then he put his pen down, sat up straight, and with both feet on the floor, rolled his chair closer to me. Looking right at me, he put his hand on my knee. “I have to agree with Dr. So-and-So’s diagnosis. You have Parkinson’s disease. In fact, I think after reading through your records that they misdiagnosed you 12 years ago.”

That diagnosis, 12 years earlier, was lupus. I could have flushed all that Plaquenil (hydroxychloroquine) down the sink instead of swallowing it. But, Parkinson’s disease? I was only 43 — isn’t it an older person’s disease?

I have since learned that Parkinson’s disease doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t matter what age, nationality, or gender you are. I thought that I knew what to expect when I drove 30 miles for that second opinion, but looking back, I know that I wanted to hear something else, such as, “Well, I’m not sure what Dr. So-and-So was thinking, but you’re the healthiest person I’ve ever met.”

Hope springs eternal.

Ah, hope

At a conference I attended on Parkinson’s disease, one of the speakers stated that the best medicine that we have when fighting any disease is hope. Hope for a better day, a breakthrough in research, a cure.

It’s easy to feel like giving in or giving up when you’re confronted with a challenge over which you seem to have no control — except your response to it.

After the appointment, I went outside into the rainy afternoon. I walked across the wet pavement, unsuccessfully sidestepped the puddles, got into my car, and closed the door. I shivered, and then cried.

My doctor didn’t tell me that I was the healthiest person he had ever met in all his years in medicine. He didn’t tell me that Dr. So-and-So was wrong or that I would get better. But he said that he’d be there with me to the end.

Hope is good medicine

Now, I know that you can’t hold a doctor to a promise like that, but the feeling that he cared gave me hope. The knowledge that I had someone who understood what I was going through, who would be on my side through my journey made me feel less alone.

Hope brings purpose back into view. It shuts out the “what-ifs” and turns down the dial of doubt. It disables the feelings of despair, enables you to have a confident expectation of a cure, finds the blessings in the curse, and faith for a brighter future.

I started the car, and as snow began to fall, a sense of peace came over me. All was well. I felt reassured that though I couldn’t choose to give back this disease, I could decide how I would face this challenge.

I chose hope.

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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 Hope Is Good Medicine When Fighting Parkinson’s Disease appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Have Hope That a New Day Is Coming

new day

It is raining in southern Oregon. Do you know what’s good about so much rain? Things stay green all year long. It might seem depressing, but not today. Today, it’s raining, and though I have Parkinson’s disease, it’s a beautiful day.

The birds are singing. Nothing keeps them from whistling a happy tune. Even when it’s raining, they find something to sing about. 

There are jillions of puddles to jump in, which is exactly what my grandson does. He absolutely loves it. He even gets Grammy to do it sometimes.

Leaves are a bright, spring green. The air smells fresh (for those who still have the gift of smell), and flower roots are refreshed.

When I lived in northern California, there was a time when there was no rain. It was during the big drought. You could only water the landscape once a week. Residents were asked to cut back on laundry and shorten showers. Energy-saving faucets were stocked in hardware stores and signs that said, “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down,” were selling like hotcakes.

People were trying to conserve water wherever they could, but despite their efforts, things began to die. Lawns and shrubbery were replaced by species that were less colorful but guaranteed to survive the heat with less water. Kids were disheartened when the summer fun of sprinklers ceased. People obsessed with washing their trucks on a weekly basis were frustrated by the new policies that were set in place.

The drought affected many other things, like river rafting and skiing. We longed for the days when rain would come. We prayed for the days when rain would fall.

Hope renewed

One day, the skies clouded over. There was a hint of hope that turned to joy when drops began to fall. People opened their front doors, walked into the uncommon liquid sunshine, and danced (or at least my neighbor and I did). The rain was a wet welcome to a dry and thirsty area.

Winter can be more than drizzling rain, snow, ice storms, and flooding. It can be a season in our lives when the sun is shining on the rest of the neighborhood, yet dark clouds hover above us, pushing us down, down, down. All that’s left is depression and hopelessness over this stinkin’ disease — and when you have Parkinson’s, the last thing you want (or need) is hopelessness.

“Winter” days for people with Parkinson’s can consist of medications that once worked wonders, but aren’t working so wonderful anymore. Falls may increase in frequency, resulting in frustration over what else Parkinson’s might bring. Your concentration levels may fall, your speech may become more difficult to understand, and you may even feel like you can’t remember anything.

But wait!

It may be raining, but a new day is coming! Maybe you don’t feel like it’s winter. Maybe you feel like you’re struggling through a drought, and the heat is burning up what little hope you have left. But a new day is still coming!

The greatest gift we can give ourselves is the gift of contentment. The gift that enables birds to sing in the rain because they know that whatever the season or weather, they will be taken care of. 

A new day is coming. Hang in there and keep singing.

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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 Have Hope That a New Day Is Coming appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Do You Know How Lucky You Are?

laughter, Journeying Through Parkinson's

While my grandkids were here last week, we read books every night before bed. And, of course, each night at least one book had to be by Dr. Seuss. The night before they left, we read “Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are?

It starts out by offering some rather sound advice:

When you think things are bad,

when you feel sour and blue,

when you start to get mad …

you should do what I do!

Just tell yourself, Duckie,

you’re really quite lucky!

Some people are much more …

oh ever so much more …

oh, muchly much-much more

unlucky than you!” 

Of course, Dr. Seuss then spends the rest of the book expounding on all the different ways the reader is lucky as a ducky. 

Most people would agree that having been handed a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease is anything but lucky. In fact, it can be downright scary. Even so, there are things to be thankful for. Things that cause you to pause and say, “I am so lucky” or “I am so blessed.” Things that take your mind off the unknown. Things that give you hope.

Today, I fell

I was puttering in my yard, trying to eradicate the wounded and the dead and replace them with the new. I stepped down on the shovel to finish digging the hole for a salvia plant, and I lost my balance. 

It seemed as if I was falling in slow motion. 

On the way down, all I could think of was hitting my head on one of the rocks that line the pathway. Some of them are sharp. I fell hard on my arm and then, with a rocking motion, came to a halt, my head never touching the ground. I waited a minute to assess the damage before trying to get up. No pain. No scratches. I was lucky. I was blessed. Given what could have been a terrible accident (considering the DBS wires tucked in my brain), I was indeed blessed. 

Life is so beautiful

I went over to my grandson’s house yesterday to help him and his mom weed their backyard. When we had finished, he began yelling for his mom and me to “Come here. Quick! Come here!” He was jumping up and down (literally) with such joy on his face that I was certain he’d found a bug he’d never seen before. (Or perhaps George, “his” praying mantis, had shown up again.) 

I approached where he stood, next to a small, bushy plant. He looked at the plant — a weed, by most standards — and with great excitement exclaimed, “It’s so beautiful!”

It was a smallish plant with little yellow flowers scattered here and there. To him, it was so beautiful.

Oh, how lucky I’d be if I could see the world through the eyes of a child. But wait! I did! 

Oh, how lucky I am! 

“Thank goodness for all of the things you are not!

Thank goodness you are not something someone forgot,

and left all alone in some punkerish place 

like a rusty tin coat hanger hanging in space.” —Dr. Seuss

***

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 Do You Know How Lucky You Are? appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

9 Things to Have in Your Home If You Have Parkinson’s Disease

things

I wrote a column recently about the things you shouldn’t have in your house if you have Parkinson’s. In this column, I take the opposite approach and suggest things you might consider having in your home that may be of benefit.

1. Laughter

We’ve all heard the adage that laughter is the best medicine. How many times have you felt sad and someone has cheered you up with a funny anecdote or joke? Perhaps a smile slowly crept across your face, or you indulged in a belly laugh that lightened a cloudy day. Either way, laughter is good medicine.

2. Scented dryer sheets

Do you know that people with Parkinson’s can lose their sense of smell? Every once in a while it comes back, and we celebrate the gift by inhaling sweet aromas and fragrances. That is what I did one day when I stood outside and took in the summer smell of my climbing roses.

I was on my front porch and I asked my neighbor if she noticed how fragrant my roses were, as I didn’t recall the intensity of their scent. She burst my joy bubble by telling me that it was probably her fragrant lilac I was inhaling. Meanwhile, my other neighbor was doing her laundry using sweet-smelling dryer sheets. Her vent is near my front porch. Enough said. You know where I am going with this. 

So, when you’re feeling overwhelmed by Parkinson’s, throw a load of wet towels into your dryer, add some scented dryer sheets, go out on your porch, sit in your rocking chair, and close your eyes. Now pretend you are in a beautiful meadow with wildflowers blooming all around you. You can dream, right?

3. Fresh flowers

You may not be able to smell them, but you can see them, and few things can cheer you up like a bouquet of freshly cut flowers, especially blooms chosen from your own yard.

4. A pet

During a question-and-answer session at a Parkinson’s conference a few years ago, a patient asked a doctor about the one thing a person with Parkinson’s can do to help themselves the most. His reply? Get a dog. He explained that dogs will help you to keep your balance when walking and they provide companionship — which is particularly beneficial if you live alone. I wholly agree.

5. A list

Get a calendar and a to-do list going. Both of these tools will help to relieve some of the anxiety of not knowing or remembering what’s coming next or what needs to be done.

6. A new hobby

Maybe you can’t paint landscapes or run a pottery wheel because of your Parkinson’s progression. However, there are other artsy things you can engage in and enjoy. I recently discovered a therapeutic and fun activity called “pour painting.” If you miss dabbling in art projects, this might fill the void.

7. Happy photos

Decorate your walls with pictures of people and things you love. Frame photographs that bring back wonderful memories. Arrange items that you enjoy looking at and gifts from loved ones on your shelves. Don’t waste precious space with things that don’t bring you joy. Life is much too short.

8. Music

Music can lift you like nothing else — this is true particularly when you hear a song that makes you want to sing along or grab someone you love to dance with them.

9. Hope

Nothing can change your outlook more than looking at your circumstances through the eyes of hope. Where do you find hope?

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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 9 Things to Have in Your Home If You Have Parkinson’s Disease appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Two Summer Reading Recommendations to Encourage and Inspire

scars

Sometimes we need to be encouraged in our journey with Parkinson’s disease. We become weary and find ourselves at the edge of despair. We feel like we’ve nothing left to give and life is losing its luster. What better way to dispel the gloom than to read an inspiring book?

I have recently read two books, one about chronic illness and another specifically about Parkinson’s. In their own ways, both evoke laughter, echo grief, and inspire that much-welcome, four-letter word, hope. 

Rush of Heaven” author Ema McKinley was doing a normal day’s work when her entire world turned upside down — literally. While climbing a mountain of boxes to replenish merchandise in the department of the store where she worked, she lost her footing. Ema hung upside down for almost three hours before being found.

Her journey is a difficult one, to say the least. It is a journey of endurance in a life filled with horrible pain, but also with joy. Her accident left Ema with reflex sympathetic dystrophy, a severe burning pain that is usually brought on by trauma and tends to settle in one of the extremities. In Ema’s case, it affected most of her left side, neck, and back. She required the use of a wheelchair and permanently leaned at a 90-degree angle in an attempt to reduce the severity of the pain she was enduring.

Just when one condition would settle itself and bring some sort of reprieve, another would show itself. It seemed there would be no end to Emma’s suffering. As her situation became somewhat bleaker, Ema knew she had to “shift my focus from my situation to my destination. God didn’t just keep me alive so I could take up space. He had a purpose for me.”

Through her pain, she eventually did find purpose, one that leads her to encourage others because of her accident, her pain, and a miraculous encounter.

At home alone one Christmas Eve, Ema lies on the floor after falling out of her wheelchair. She fears this could be her last Christmas with her family. However, the One who has been faithful to her in the past will prove Himself faithful to her once again. (You’ll have to read the story — no spoilers.)

There are similarities between “Rush of Heaven” and “Dropping the P Bomb,” by Emma Lawton, but the two books are also very different. While Ema chronicles her journey as a narrative story, Emma’s book reads more like a series of short blog posts written over the course of the first year of her Parkinson’s diagnosis.

Whether taken from a diary or straight from her blog, her entries are honest, and she leaves herself vulnerable on the pages shared. The newly diagnosed would benefit greatly from her description of what that first year can really feel like.

With her dark sense of humor, Emma keeps things real, yet light, as she talks about her ups and downs in that first year, about sharing the news of her diagnosis with family and friends, and their reactions. She shares her struggles with acceptance, adjustments, and more. Emma was diagnosed in her late 20s, so this is a rare account of a young person with Parkinson’s. All the more reason to read “Dropping the P Bomb” this summer. 

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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 Two Summer Reading Recommendations to Encourage and Inspire appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

You’re Not a Pack Mule: Release Your Burdens

Sherri Journeying Through Parkinson's

I was reading through some forums for Parkinson’s disease recently and came across one that was talking about stress. I am a fairly calm, even-keeled person who handles stress pretty well.

I thought so anyhow.

The woman who brought up the topic of stress said she had felt like her “meds were not working.” 

Check. That has been my story for the past week.

Then she had her regular Parkinson’s exam and found out she was actually doing quite well. Her movement disorder specialist, after further testing, said that this woman’s anxiety was what was making her feel “like crap.”

The other night, I had my boxing class. What started out well ended up badly — in my mind, anyhow. My meds wore off much too soon. They’ve been fizzling out at about the three-hour mark lately, but I was lacking coordination at only an hour and a half into my last dose. 

This isn’t good, I thought to myself, while punching out my frustrations on one of the jelly bags.

That night, I cried myself to sleep over all the things I had been worrying about lately. Most of these things will probably never happen, but try telling that to someone who is stuck in her head, and her head keeps telling her that they might happen. As I lay there, it became harder to breathe. My legs began to ache, and rigidity set in. It was a long night.

The next morning, my husband and I went for a walk at the mall. We stopped for coffee and had a heart-to-heart talk. All my worries began to pour out of me. And just when he and I thought that was it — that there was nothing more to say — there was plenty more. But you know how much better you can feel after a good cry, even if everyone sitting around you wonders why you’re blubbering at the table? You feel as if your burdens have been lifted.

Lifting something is raising it to a higher level, and the only higher level I know or put my hope in is God. I believe my burdens are raised to someone who can actually help. I pictured my husband unlocking the clasps that had held those burdens tightly to my back and saw God lift up and off what was weighing me down recently. The minute I felt my worries and cares leave, peace and calm settled back within me.

A woman who responded to the original forum post said something like, “Stress is our enemy [of Parkinson’s disease] and hope is our ally.”

How very true. 

Hope is here for today. For you. For me.

That heavy pack of burdens that is strapped to your back is not a permanent accessory for your journey with this disease.

Let it go. You were never meant to carry it alone. Let it be lifted up and off of you. 

Now, doesn’t that feel better?

***

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 You’re Not a Pack Mule: Release Your Burdens appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

I Have Parkinson’s, and Life Is Still Beautiful

mammogram

Sherri Journeying Through

 

“Life is beautiful.” “The best is yet to come.” Two small plaques inscribed with these words of wisdom stared back at me as I sat in a cubicle waiting for the technician to come and get me. I was booked to have a mammogram and an ultrasound. As if having Parkinson’s disease wasn’t enough, I was being tested for “concerning tissue,” as my doctor called it.

Life is beautiful, but sometimes a gray cloud casts its dark shadow over us, causing us to fear. “The best is yet to come,” beautifully scrawled on a sign, may soothe us temporarily until we are facing the possibility of a new and troubling diagnosis. In that case, these words may seem like mocking whispers in the background noise of our minds. What we hope for may not come to pass, and fear, if it hasn’t already done so, soon takes over.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

One thing we all have in common is fear. But in times of uncertainty, some of us fall short of hope. We can jump to conclusions about what our future may look like while we await our test results. Our minds run rampant and we have our funeral service mapped out before we even receive the findings due to our tendency to fear what may not exist.

Drawing on fear when facing an ambiguous situation can be easier than relying on hope because it is natural to fear the unknown. Hope is an attitude of optimism that believes good things are possible. It comes from within.

To hope is to believe the best is yet to come, no matter what the diagnosis or prognosis.

And so I sat there in that cubicle waiting, and then it was time. I followed the technician into the mammogram room, my “cape” blowing behind me. The machine trampled over my breasts like a Mack truck slowly rolling over a rubber ball. Next stop was the ultrasound room. After that, I returned to my cubicle, where life is beautiful and the best is yet to come. 

And the best did come. There was nothing abnormal to report, and the radiologist didn’t see anything to be concerned about. I could go.

I only had Parkinson’s and the need to get my hands on a tire pump. No cancer.

Life is beautiful.

***

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 Have Parkinson’s, and Life Is Still Beautiful appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Is Parkinson’s Disease a Bully?

bully

Sherri Journeying Through

We have all heard of them, and many of us, in one way or another, have encountered them. Some of us (hopefully, with regret) have been one. Who am I talking about? 

Bullies

They intimidate us and physically hurt us. They embarrass us, taunting us with their words. We fear that they’ll defeat us.

What do bullies have to do with Parkinson’s disease?

Parkinson’s is a bully with a capital “B.” It teases and taunts us, telling us that we are no longer useful. It tries to convince us that we no longer serve any purpose. This disease can tempt us to give up, to surrender to its cruel clutches. 

Embarrassment is one way Parkinson’s tries to steal our dignity and pride. And it often wins. We forget as we struggle through each day that others don’t understand us: our movements, speech, and forgetfulness. We can take those misunderstandings personally.

Drooling, shaking, a quiet voice, and a masked face are symptoms that may have become “natural” to those of us with the disease. But no matter how “natural” these have become, we’re still embarrassed by them because of others’ reactions when we’re out in public.

Parkinson’s whispers its ugly lies, saying you are no longer of value

If anything, you have more value. You have developed an empathy that many others don’t possess. You can relate better to those who are battling other diseases, those who are in pain, feel alone, and need hope. People who are fearful receive your undivided attention. Of course, having this disease may not be your preferred method of acquiring such character traits.

In a recent documentary video on Facebook, television host and producer Mike Rowe said, “To feel bullied is to feel helpless.” While Parkinson’s disease is a bully with a capital “B,” we don’t need to feel helpless. Instead, we should feel hopeful. Why? We are becoming better and strong enough so we don’t allow Parkinson’s taunting to get the best of us. And for me, that’s a huge plus.

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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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