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‘Get It On Time’ Petition Seeks Better Access to Parkinson’s Meds in UK

petition

A healthcare petition called “Get It On Time” is circulating in the U.K. among people with Parkinson’s disease (PD). According to the petition, hospitalized PD patients are not getting the medications they need on time, if at all.

Over 700 patients in the U.K. were surveyed from May to July. Seventy-eight percent said their health suffered setbacks as a result of missed medications, including tremors, anxiety, decreased mobility, and communication issues. The Guardian health policy editor Denis Campbell noted that some Parkinson’s patients are unable to walk or talk because they don’t get their medications on time.

On Twitter, David Sangster, a Parkinson’s advocate in the U.K., described his hospital experience as a “caring environment, clean and professional. The visiting specialists nurses were … experts in every facet of PD, they were remarkable. … But #parkinsons was not understood on the ward and that’s wrong.”

Dawn Iola Chappell, another U.K. resident, responded to a tweet regarding the petition by saying, “[M]y Dad did not get his medication on time and it was the beginning of the end.”

It’s not just an issue in the UK

Before my deep brain stimulation surgery, my doctor told me to bring my medications to the hospital and administer them myself. The staff was unaware of the importance of distributing medications accurately or on time. Hospitals can be a frightening place, so it’s important that you take an active role in your healthcare, no matter how much you trust your medical team.

When medication schedules are not adhered to, a variety of problems can occur. The patient may begin to flail about. Tremors that were under control may worsen, or the patient may appear to be experiencing seizures. In response, hospital staff might treat the patient for seizures, resulting in dangerous and even fatal outcomes, which you can read about here.

What can you do now to prevent a mishap later? If possible, people with PD should have an advocate with them who knows the medication schedule and can help with administration should the need arise. One patient suggested the use of flashcards when a patient is coherent but unable to communicate verbally. For example, one of the flashcards could include: “Need PD meds now!”

If you’re a resident of the U.K., consider signing the petition. Every name helps!

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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 ‘Get It On Time’ Petition Seeks Better Access to Parkinson’s Meds in UK appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

We Share a Fear of Being a Burden, but We All Need Someone

burden

“You’re not a burden. You’re a human.” –Anonymous

It’s easy to feel alone when living with a chronic illness. You may think no one else truly understands, that you’re nothing more than a burden to others — with all of your “oddities,” you no longer fit in. Those feelings can push you to believe that you are destined to being alone, which leads you toward loneliness.

If you’re not involved in a community support group for people who also have your chronic illness, you are missing out. I am not the kind of person who jumps up and heads out the door to join a support group. It took me a long time to get connected because when I was diagnosed, I was working, and my hours didn’t allow me to attend a structured group. So I found support another way.

One night while surfing the internet, I came across a site, DailyStrength. This online community of people with various diseases and issues is divided into small groups — one of these is for people with Parkinson’s disease. I clicked and joined.

At first, I was an observer. I quickly recognized that this group of people cared for each other. The sense of community was phenomenal. They understood each other in a way no one else could. They were in the same boat or rowing a similar one — venting, grieving, encouraging, supporting — like a family sharing an unspoken bond. 

I wanted to be a part of that family.

“The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion … who can tolerate not knowing, not curing … that is a friend who cares.”  –Henri Nouwen

The real fear of being alone is familiar to anyone with a serious illness. We fear something will happen to us when no one is around to help — for instance, falling and being unable to get up. We worry about being alone at the end of our journey with no one by our side. We fear that no one will understand what we’re going through — or will go through — and that we’ll find ourselves alone, physically and emotionally.

I have always been a “giver.” And I know it’s hard for some givers to receive. It feels awkward, unfamiliar, and selfish. If you are a giver, you will know of the joy and the blessing that you receive when you give. So when we refuse to be the receiver, we are taking that giver’s blessing from others.

Do you need someone? 

Do you need someone to talk to, care, or understand? Would you like to have someone to sit and cry with you? Let them know. No one can read your mind. Trust me on this.

Many of us who have a chronic illness share a fear of being a burden to someone else. If you have Parkinson’s, you will have to accept help from someone, somewhere, somehow, at some time. 

My story of being humbled

In my earlier days of Parkinson’s, I found it increasingly difficult to tie my shoes. To have someone tie them for me when I was in my early 40s was a little humiliating to me. 

I knew that it could be worse, but I felt like a kindergartener having her mommy tie her shoes because she couldn’t figure it out for herself. 

I disliked asking my husband to tie my shoes. It felt like an inconvenience, a burden with a capital “B.”

Having my shoes tied humbled me and also prompted me to find footwear that I could slip on by myself. Is it still an issue of pride? Perhaps. Or maybe I merely want to hold on to my independence for as long as possible.

“Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.”Bernice Johnson Reagon

Don’t allow yourself to be paralyzed and without friends. Put on those shoes, even if someone else has to tie them for you. Then get up and go out. Make a new friend or call an old one. You’ll feel better for it.

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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 We Share a Fear of Being a Burden, but We All Need Someone appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

True Grit Is What It Takes

grit

It seems to me that the word grit is on the lips of many people today. It is old-fashioned, conjuring up memories of movies starring John Wayne.

Having grit means having the determination to stick to your goals despite setbacks and failures. You persevere. You set goals and you follow through. For those of us with Parkinson’s disease, that can mean taking our meds on time and with consistency. And not missing exercise class.

Angela Duckworth, author of “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance,” explained the concept in a TED talk:

“Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day in, day out, not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years, and working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

But you may have doubts about a future with Parkinson’s disease. You may wonder why you should work hard and try to move forward when this chronic illness is moving you backward. Why try to take another step forward when you are on a downward spiral toward (more) misery, agony, and pain? How do you move forward with that kind of future as your probable reality?

Grit. This powerful word holds hope and strength. Grit is continuing to act even in the face of severe odds. It is choosing to live with staying power even on the toughest of days. Those days when you feel you may not make it physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually.

Author and entrepreneur James Clear says that building grit comes with small physical wins. “Prove to yourself — in a thousand tiny ways — that you have enough guts to get in the ring and do battle with life,” Clear writes.

He adds that grit isn’t about inspiration or courage, rather, “It’s about building the daily habits that allow you to stick to a schedule and overcome challenges and distractions over and over and over again.”

Living life by building (more) grit into it is to run straight ahead into our challenges and the adversity that life throws at us. Grit enables us to bear our burdens, including those caused by Parkinson’s disease. It allows us to press on when obstacles are thrown in our path. It is the medium used to refine and reshape our lives into something more beautiful.

I’m gonna get myself some of that grit.

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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 True Grit Is What It Takes appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

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.

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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 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.

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.

Giving Up Is Not an Option: I Still Have Purpose

purpose

I discovered this quote a while ago and found it to be inspiring: “It is impossible to be satisfied with existence once you have tasted purpose.”

When you have Parkinson’s disease, it can sometimes feel as if you’re merely existing and no longer have a purpose. Your hopes and dreams have vanished. Your desire to change the world has faded, your ambition has waned, and the goals that once kept you moving forward seem unimportant.

But despite the tough days, when motivation is lacking, and clouds hover overhead, you still seek purpose. You want to matter. But it’s hard when it seems as if others see you as an invalid, unable to do anything for yourself, never mind someone else.

In my younger days, I was busy all the time. I felt that I had purpose. My husband and I raised three children. I ran a small business while teaching in a garden lab at my children’s elementary school and holding a Bible study group. Then we moved.

I overcame the loneliness of living in a new town. I started a new job, taught Bible studies, and directed children’s choirs. I coordinated women’s retreats and got involved with other community activities. I loved it.

Then I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s

It didn’t happen suddenly, but when it did, I began to lose my sense of purpose. I questioned my value. Was I contributing to life or taking from it? Could I help make life better for someone else or was I merely existing? 

Just when you feel that giving up could be a viable option, a blessing falls from the heavens and stops your heart from breaking.

What’s your purpose?

Four years after my diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease, my first grandchild was born, and I received the blessing of being able to care for her almost every day. Her smiles took my mind off my tremors. Her desire to play in the park and go shopping kept me active even when I thought that I couldn’t move. I realized I had more reserves in my storage tank. I still had purpose.

Now I often watch my 4-year-old grandson. His giggles make me forget my pain and other symptoms. Or perhaps I choose to ignore the pain. Having a sense of purpose can make a big difference. 

Maybe your purpose is to bestow smiles, encourage someone with kindness, or sit with them in their grief. Your contribution doesn’t have to be significant, but if you think about it, a smile is a precious thing and more meaningful than we realize.

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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 Giving Up Is Not an Option: I Still Have Purpose appeared first on Parkinson’s News Today.

Life Doesn’t Allow Do-overs, So Move On from Guilt

do-overs

Sometimes, I beat myself up when something goes wrong in my life. I convince myself that if I had only done it this way instead of that way, things may have turned out so much better. Or, if I had only said something different, I might have been more helpful. But there are no do-overs in life.

Truth versus a lie

Isn’t it much easier to play the negative tapes stored in the recesses of our brains than it is to listen to truth tapes? It is for me.

I remember arriving at one of my Parkinson’s appointments several years ago carrying a load of guilt. If only I hadn’t used so much bleach to whiten the clothes or so much 409 to clean the cupboard doors. Ant spray, wasp spray — you name it, I’d probably used it. I had truly convinced myself I’d had something to do with “getting” Parkinson’s. My doctor finally helped to lift my burden by telling me the truth: It wasn’t my fault.

Blaming ourselves

There are many things that, if given the opportunity, we would likely go back in time to do differently. Since life doesn’t allow do-overs, however, we are not able to fix what has been done. We have to accept that either we did the best we could with our resources and knowledge or that we did indeed goof up. If the latter is the case, then we need to forgive ourselves and move on.

There is no room for “if I had only” in this life. It just keeps us bound to the lies that rob us of our joy.          

If I had only …

Do you blame yourself for having Parkinson’s disease? Do you sometimes play the “if I had only” game with yourself?

The next time this tape plays in your head, tell yourself the truth: You are not to blame. Just because you like clean cupboard doors or your whites to be white, you didn’t set yourself up to have Parkinson’s. However, now that you have it, you are responsible for doing the best you can to keep it at bay as long as possible.

Your exercise regimen, nutritional choices, and other controllable factors affect how you will live with this disease. Make the best possible choices for yourself and move on, making sure you leave the blame game behind.

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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 Life Doesn’t Allow Do-overs, So Move On from Guilt 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.

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