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Seize the Moment to Fulfill Your Purpose

Sherri Journeying Through

I lie in bed at night, my left hand under my head. In this position, I can hear the ticking of my watch. Each beat reminds me that another moment no longer exists. I am one second farther from yesterday and one second closer to tomorrow.

About two years ago, a good friend of mine passed away. She lived across the street from me, and we exchanged hellos and see you laters, flower starts, and recipes for homemade cinnamon rolls and minestrone soup. Her cinnamon rolls were out of this world — the best I’ve ever had. 

Then one day, she began to slow down. She didn’t want to do much of anything. Her departure happened suddenly — too suddenly for me. One day I was helping her pull weeds in her side yard, and the next day, it seemed, I was telling her goodbye. That was one of the most surreal moments in my life.

As I stood next to her bedside telling her I’d see her again on the other side, I felt as if I was standing on hallowed ground. It was difficult to put my feet in motion to go home. I wanted to stay and bask in the holiness of that moment.

Another friend who has Parkinson’s lies in her bed now, silently saying her goodbyes to the things of this earth. She no longer wants to go anywhere or do anything. She doesn’t say much to anyone and she can hardly move. My heart aches for her, and just as much for her husband. 

Does her husband know how much she still loves him? Does she know how much he loves her? Do they realize that the days for saying “I love you” are numbered? Have they already passed that moment when there will be no more opportunities for expressing such words?

With the passing of time, opportunities to tell those we love how we feel are frantically fleeting.

We can’t get back what is past and we can’t change the future, nor do we know what it holds. But one thing I do know: I know Who holds my future. 

The other day, I was listening to Steve Harvey, a motivational speaker and the host of “Family Feud.” He was talking about having a purpose in your life. He said that if God is still waking you up in the morning, then He still has something for you to do.

Well, God is still waking me up.

We all have a purpose. Not until we take our final breath have we fulfilled it. Maybe yours is to let your spouse know what a vital role they have played and are still playing in your life with this little monster called Parkinson’s disease. Perhaps it’s to advocate for this disease. Maybe it’s to encourage others who have just begun their race with PD. It could be to bake cinnamon rolls for someone who needs a bright spot in their day.

We aren’t promised tomorrow, but if we wake up, there’s a good possibility it’s for a reason. We may not know what that reason is, which makes it all the more important to seize each moment, before they all tick by.

Encourage someone, love on someone, appreciate someone. Do it now. You might have many days left; they might not. 

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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 Seize the Moment to Fulfill Your Purpose appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

My Joy of Gardening Is More Than Skin Deep

sunscreen

Sherri Journeying Through

If you’re anything like me, there’s something energizing about gardening and pulling weeds. About pruning back overgrowth and watering budding seedlings, even if, because of having Parkinson’s, you can do it only a fraction of the time you used to be able to keep at it.

In those highly coveted fractions of time, what little gardening you are able to accomplish calms your spirit, draws you closer to your Maker, and soothes your soul. However, I just uncovered some interesting information while doing some research.

I think I may have finally found something about gardening that I can’t get into.

Did you know the first Saturday in May has been named a world day of observance for gardening in the buff? World Naked Gardening Day (WNGD) has come to be celebrated by some (and denounced by others) since 2005 thanks to the help of Mark Storey.

It has become quite big at the Abbey House Gardens in Malmesbury, Great Britain, where clothing is optional. Personally, I can’t imagine doing such a thing, but then I tend to be rather modest.

Roses like peonies. (Photo by Sherri Woodbridge)

Just think what you might encounter: the briar patch, the poison oak patch, the rose thorns, a little bug worming its way into a crack or a wrinkle where a little bug shouldn’t be … and more. But you can imagine for yourself.

Not only does the unexpected visitor to the garden get to see unbecoming drops of sweat running down your face and various other places (remember, people with Parkinson’s can tend to sweat more than others), but they also get to see your _______. (You can insert whatever you like in the blank.) And, for much of the gardening a gardener does, they are usually bent over. If you thought that was unattractive before,  just imagine …

Usually, for me at least, you go into the house at the end of the day and realize you forgot the sunscreen, and again, you are sunburned. Can you imagine forgetting the sunscreen on World Naked Gardening Day? Ouch. Just think how you’re going to explain to your Parkinson’s dermatologist how you’ve gotten all those new moles.

So, now, I have alerted you of this day of naturalistic gardening. It’s up to you to decide what to do about it. My advice?

Don’t forget the sunscreen.

Remember that melanoma skin cancer can be more prevalent with people who have Parkinson’s disease. Oh, and don’t forget the hat. I’ve heard gloves are also OK to wear on this day of celebration. Might I also suggest a fig leaf?

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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 Joy of Gardening Is More Than Skin Deep appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

I’m Learning Not to Make Assumptions

assumptions Journeying through Parkinson's

Sherri Journeying Through

I have a bad habit of assuming things. You would think (an assumption) that I would have learned by now, but no. 

Take today for example. 

My husband and I were at the mall this afternoon people-watching in front of the coffee shop. I watched through the glass doors as a dad bent over and tied his approximately 11-year-old son’s shoe. Attached to this boy’s belt was a knife sheath, which held a knife with about a 6-inch blade (another assumption). 

I told my husband that you’d think if that boy was old enough to be in possession of a knife like that in public, he could tie his own shoes. Then the dad stood up and the boy turned to face me head-on, and that’s when I saw it: the broken arm. It’s hard to tie shoes with a broken arm. 

You’d think I’d have learned by now, but again — no.

However, I am getting better. I’ve been praying to be redeemed from my habit of assumption, but it’s tough. I have stopped drawing conclusions right away. I can hold onto thoughts that once ran rampant, and instead, I am trying to get the whole picture, or I turn away from the “picture” entirely.

Having Parkinson’s has helped me learn this lesson. 

We can walk funny. We can talk funny. We can move all sorts of different ways. We can stop in the middle of a sentence or stop in the middle of a walk and have to be jump-started by the help of another. We know what’s happening, but the strangers who watch us most likely haven’t a clue.

They may assume we’re a tad bit tipsy, forgetful, senile. Any number of things could account for our odd behavior. Because I act the way I do (tremors, dyskinesia, dystonia, masked face, etc.), I have come to see others differently. To look past the initial assumption and see the situation for what it really is: not a spoiled child, but one with a broken arm. 

Now I need to figure out why he’s got a 6-inch knife in a leather sheath hooked to his belt. I don’t want to even think where my assumptions could take me with that one.

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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 Not to Make Assumptions appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Conquering Fear Turns Us from Worriers to Warriors

warriors

Sherri Journeying Through

When I think of a warrior, I think of Mel Gibson and the role he played in the movie “Braveheart.” Gibson played the main character, Sir William Wallace, a Scottish knight. He was a warrior for his homeland Scotland, fighting for freedom against the English. 

Although much of the historical telling of the story by Hollywood is inaccurate (go figure), it still makes for a good example of what a warrior is: bold and brave. They don’t show fear.

Fear will try to worm its way into your calm, your peace, your countenance.

The best way to add fuel to the fire of fear is to worry about what you can’t change. Worry promotes fear, and who needs or wants that? 

A college professor I once had made the statement, “We don’t fear the dark. We fear the things we can’t see in the dark.” And so it is with Parkinson’s disease. We don’t necessarily fear the disease itself, but we can continually worry about what the disease may be doing to us. Do we really want to dwell on what could go wrong with having Parkinson’s disease? How it will/does affect us and our relationships? Do we want to dwell on how it’s affecting our finances? Our overall well-being? I would venture to say we have other things we’d rather dwell on.

Someone once said that worry robs today of its joy.

Isn’t that the truth! When I start to think about things that are better left un-thought, my mood can plummet. When I begin to take a downward spiral with worry and let fear have its heyday, I do whatever it takes to get out of my head. I get up and I get out. I get busy. 

What if Corrie Ten Boom, a woman who hid Jews in her home during World War II, allowed worry to consume her? What if Joni Earekson Tada, a woman paralyzed in a diving accident in her teens who founded a ministry that reaches out to those with disabilities, had spent her life in her wheelchair, worrying what was to become of her? And what if Desmond Doss, who is credited with saving 75 soldiers during one of the bloodiest battles of WWII, allowed worry to consume him? 

What if you allow worry to consume you?

God may have an assignment he’s honing you for. Get out and get going. Wouldn’t you rather be a warrior than a worrier?

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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 Conquering Fear Turns Us from Worriers to Warriors appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

What to Say to Someone with Parkinson’s Disease

positive

Sherri Journeying Through

You’ve probably read articles with titles like, “10 Things Not to Say to a Person with Parkinson’s.” These typically include statements like, “But you don’t look sick,” or perhaps, “My Uncle Nero had that, and his arms fell off.” You’ve heard the possible and the far-fetched, the comments that are better left unsaid.

Well, this column is taking a turn.

Instead of the things you shouldn’t say, I want to share five things that you can say to people with Parkinson’s.

Make sure that your comments are encouraging, informative (in a sensitive way), or bring lightness or humor to the situation.

If you’d like to make a positive difference in the life of a Parkinson’s patient, try my following suggestions of things to say that may change their day for the better.

  1. Is there anything I can do for you? You might be surprised at what a person with a chronic illness may need help with. Tasks from toenail clipping to folding laundry can be difficult with Parkinson’s.
  2. How can I pray for you? Parkinson’s isn’t just about the symptoms. A person with any disease must also deal with the normal chaos of life. A prayer may be what is needed. And why wait to do it before you go to bed? Praying with someone right there and then is often welcomed.
  3. You look so nice today. Compliments can be a rare commodity to a patient when they feel stiff and twisted up. The smallest observation can make a big difference. For example, “Your nails look so pretty,” or “That haircut looks good on you.”
  4. Here, let me help you with that. We want to be independent, but our level of self-reliance is waning gradually. Offers of assistance are usually met with gratitude rather than resistance.
  5. I enjoy your company. People with Parkinson’s can feel as though their life lacks a sense of purpose. Knowing that someone wants to spend time with them can make all the difference to their day.

What positive words do you have for a person with Parkinson’s? Please share them 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.

The post What to Say to Someone with Parkinson’s Disease appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

How Our Disease Keeps Pecking Away

Sherri Journeying Through

Jean Mellano, a fellow contributor at Parkinson’s News Today, recently wrote a column about how this disease keeps taking bits and pieces of us — our abilities, our control of self — and leaves less and less of us day by day.

In a reply to a comment I left about her column, Jean said: “I do find it a huge challenge that everyone thinks I am fine, but they have no idea how much this disease chips away at us.” 

For some reason, a woodpecker came to mind. 

I have several bird feeders in my backyard, one of which attracts the downy woodpecker, the acorn woodpecker, and the northern flicker.

One of the acorn woodpeckers was also attracted to my neighbor’s tool shed and spent a good amount of time there last summer doing a lot of damage to the siding. The damage didn’t all happen in a day. It took several weeks. It wasn’t noticeable for a while, but when I finally figured out where the constant “hammering” was coming from, the damage was quite obvious. 

The chipping away happens little by little. 

At first, it isn’t too obvious. But before you know it, it almost looks as if a dog has been gnawing on the wood. Just outside my back fence stands a telephone pole. Although, with the lack of telephones today, these tall, cylinder poles are most likely referred to as utility poles. The woodpeckers aren’t picky as to whether we call them utility or telephone poles. They just enjoy drilling holes into them. This particular pole has hundreds of holes stuffed with acorns all the way to the top. Those woodpeckers just keep pecking away at those poles, and they’ll keep at it until the utility company has to replace them.

Little by little, day by day, the Parkinson’s woodpecker pecks at us, wearing us down in many different ways. It can take our smiles, our voices, and our balance. It takes our independence. It renders us feeling useless and without purpose, feeling as if our lives no longer have meaning.

But is that who we are — people with a disease, therefore without purpose or meaning? No.

Acorn woodpeckers. (Photo by Sherri Woodbridge)

As long as we have breath, we have a purpose.

As long as we can at least smile, our life has meaning. How often has a stranger offered you a smile and it changed your entire day?

You might say that you can’t smile because you have a stone or masked face. I challenge you that yes, you can smile. I have the same symptom (masked-stone face), but I pray for my smile to show through and I intentionally practice smiling throughout the day. 

As long as you can breathe, you can smile, even if it’s forced. And as long as you can smile, you can change someone’s day for the better. If you can do that, your life has purpose and meaning, no matter how much this disease keeps pecking away at you.

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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 How Our Disease Keeps Pecking Away appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Is a Parkinson’s Life a Poem in Disguise?

poem

 

Sherri Journeying Through

I’ve rarely had the thought, “Why me?” Does this mean that I’ve signed my life over to Parkinson’s disease? Is it a sign that I’ve given up?

Last week at my boxing class, I was punching a bag when I heard laughter coming from the other side of the half-wall. Behind the divider were our caregivers, family members, and friends who come to watch and cheer us on. However, I’m not convinced that their sole reason for coming is to encourage us; I think they enjoy the camaraderie with each other even more than watching their loved ones do forward lunges and situps. 

You could call it a caregiver support group. While we are jogging, tripping, punching, or attempting to rise from where we lie exhausted on the mat, they are on the other side of the wall sharing stories. The outburst of laughter caught my attention as I punched the bag, and I thought, “It’s not fair. Why me?” And as soon as the thought appeared, I reprimanded myself for indulging in such notions.

I want to be able to walk and run without inhibition; to eat my dinner without choking; to write legibly or type more than one letter every 30 minutes. I want my brain to do as I command and not stop me in my tracks.

The next train of thought went something like this: 

Yes, why not me? Would I instead prefer that a friend be afflicted with trembling, choking, and pain? My immediate response was “no!” Still, I’d rather not have this bruising of a blessing that appears as a curse in disguise. But just because I don’t want it doesn’t mean I’m going to get my way and be healed by the mighty hand of God — a God who sometimes, in my captivity with this disease, seems far away. 

During the night hours, I realize that my pain, sleeplessness, and cramping are not reasons to whine and wail but are part of a plan to complete His workmanship in my life. 

The word “poem” comes from the Greek word “poiēma,” which means “that which is made” or “workmanship.” Think about that for a moment.

We are a beautiful poem that is being written by the hand of God.

We are a poem written to inspire and encourage those who watch and read our lives. Knowing that, how could we ever again say, “Why me?”

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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 Is a Parkinson’s Life a Poem in Disguise? appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Is It Possible to Be Organized and Focused with Parkinson’s?

organized

Sherri Journeying Through

You ever try to go back to the way things used to be? Try to think the way you used to think when distractions didn’t compete for your attention? When you had some semblance of  “normality”? Things seemed somewhat organized or orderly and most things made sense.

I used to make lists and be organized. At least I think I was.

Now, I’m not so sure. How could I be so organized and sensible for so long, but then have it disappear?

I don’t make lists now, but every once in a while, I try to. One thing is certain: I sure don’t feel quite so organized as I once did. I should make lists because I forget everything, or so it seems. I don’t know. I can’t remember!

When I watched my grandkids every day, I didn’t feel like this, so scattered. I didn’t have to feel so scattered. I knew what I was going to do every day. That task kept me focused.

I would change a diaper. Love on my grandkids. Feed them breakfast. Play with them. Take pictures of them. Walk with them. Love on them some more and change another diaper.

Then I’d feed them lunch, play with them again, take more pictures, and make sure they knew they were loved.

I would read to them, change another diaper, rock them as I sang over them before they would fall asleep for their nap, watch “Rapunzel” or “Swamp People” as they woke up. We’d go for an afternoon walk, picking out four M&M’s, one always red. Always more love. Always more kisses. The daily routine of having my grandkids helped me feel more in control while having Parkinson’s disease.

Watching my grandkids was “easy” most days. But on the days when the pain didn’t let up and I felt wobbly and shaky and things didn’t work the way I want them to, well, those days were so much harder.

Distractions are immeasurable around here.

OK, around me anyway. They seem to follow me everywhere. Like the other day, my husband was telling me about something … I don’t remember exactly what. But then I saw this bird and … what was I saying? Or wait. What was he saying?  

When I had my grandkids around, I didn’t have to think about organization. I just did it. It just happened. Remembering? I had someone around to help me remember. She followed me everywhere and she helped me remember everything, such as where I had left her little brother’s dirty diaper. Just kidding. I never did that, you know, forgot where I left a dirty diaper. I’ve never been that distracted, I don’t think. I don’t know. I can’t remember!

Anyone else ever feel that way? Anyone ever been that way? 

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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 Is It Possible to Be Organized and Focused with Parkinson’s? appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Don’t Give Up on This Bittersweet Journey

give up

Sherri Journeying Through

Everything’s not all right or OK. Like it or not, we have a chronic disease that won’t go away. Our days are consumed with uncontrollable thoughts; they ravage our minds, threaten our souls, and grasp for our spirits.

Will we ever be “us” again — those beings who once dwelled inside these bodies? Will we become the burden we think others perceive us to be or that we believe ourselves to be? Will we pout and feel sorry for ourselves, thinking our lives are nearly done when not long ago, it seemed that they were just beginning?

We need to find a way to view our circumstances with new eyes. To realize that our situation may actually be a blessing instead of a curse. We can choose to travel this bittersweet journey that’s been laid at our feet.

Remaining positive despite this disease can be extremely challenging. We must remind ourselves that things could be worse and be thankful for what we have. 

We can consider what we can still accomplish. Adopting a fresh perspective helps us to get through each day instead of wallowing in “what could have been.”

Once in a while, someone will say something to us that should have been left unsaid; words they deemed wise yet when spoken aloud came across as ignorant, inappropriate, or distasteful. Incorrect and inadequate information about Parkinson’s disease leads to foolish comments. We can feel defensive and sad at the remarks we hear. Or we can put on our masked smiles and let them think they know better when in reality, we know best.

These are the facts of having Parkinson’s: We shuffle when we walk, we choke when we eat, we drool on our pillows. We shake on the outside and the inside. Sometimes it feels as if we are going to come right out of our skins. Our toes curl and cramp, our fingers as well, and sometimes we wonder if we will ever feel normal again. “Normal” becomes a distant world.

We experience stiffness on the left side and rigidity on the right, along with intense pain. 

We grieve for things gained and lost. Depression vies for our attention; even as we try to push it back into its place, it seeks to control by beckoning, mocking, and screaming out our names.

Our speech may be soft or so slurred that others strain to hear our words. We are interrupted, cut off, and misunderstood. We feel as if we have nothing worthwhile to contribute to conversations, which in turn leaves us feeling insignificant.

However, despite our “abnormalities,” and mixed-up and out-of-control feelings, we cannot, and will not, quit. Quit is a four-letter word, as foul as those others are when used in conjunction with the unrelenting challenge of finding a cure. If we quit, we give up. We relinquish control to this disease. And that is something we must — as long as it is within our power — never, ever do.

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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 Don’t Give Up on This Bittersweet Journey appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Parkinson’s Makes Us Role Models

role model

Sherri Journeying Through

We didn’t stand in a long line, waiting our turn to collect the perfect life. Nor did we have a choice as to what kind of life we would be handed. We were just given a box, wrapped in paper with “Surprise” written on it. When we opened our “gift” — some of us at birth, some as toddlers, some as teenagers, some as young adults, some old, and some older — we were definitely surprised. 

While in our mother’s womb, we may have been making plans. Perhaps we planned to be the next Beethoven, Marie Curie, or Albert Einstein. Having our course set before us, we were ready to run as soon as we exited the birth canal. Then, eventually, we opened our gift. To say we were surprised by what was inside might be putting it lightly. For some, sideswiped might be a better word. Needless to say, when we saw Parkinson’s disease sitting inside, we wanted no part of it. 

“What do I do with this?” we quietly asked ourselves. Maybe we even asked our doctors. We couldn’t send it back. Once opened, it wouldn’t fit back into the box in which it came.

So, what do I do with this?!

This time we were crying out loud.

Parkinson’s wasn’t what we thought about in the confines of our mother’s belly. We thought about warm, fuzzy things like raising healthy families of our own. Maybe we would run marathons with a strong body. Maybe we would even do some medical research with a brilliant mind. We watched as some opened their gift at age 82, while others unwrapped it in our late 20s or 30s. We called it unfair.

After the initial shock wore off, we became more familiar with our “new” life. We began to see that we had a choice of how we would live with this gift. Returning it wasn’t an option because we didn’t know where it came from or how we got it. So, we had to find some way to live with it.

The rest of our lives could be spent commiserating our plight in life. We could exert precious energy complaining and expressing our discontent. Or, we could spend it being a role model for Parkinson’s. We could advocate for a cure, encourage others on their journey with this disease, and teach people about PD.

Being a role model for PD wasn’t in our plans, but unfortunately, we don’t have a choice.

This is the quandary we find ourselves in. We are a role model for PD, whether we like it or not. We can live well in this life we’ve been given or we can waste it feeling sorry for ourselves, whining to those who will listen. 

Without this gift we’ve been given, we may not have known the depth of compassion and understanding for others we’ve experienced. Our “people connections” would have been limited and most likely not have included our Parkinson’s network. Without storms in our lives, we could not appreciate the sunny, more carefree days. 

Which will you choose?

Will you choose to fight this gift by complaining and bellyaching, making others around you miserable in the process? Or will you fight the fight of living your best with Parkinson’s? We are a role model for PD. For good or bad.

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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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