Dancing in the Rain: Lessons Learned on my Personal Journey with PD (more at www.PDPlan4Life.com) Copyright 2013 Sheryl Jedlinski
When making your New Year’s resolutions, you may want to think beyond traditional self improvement goals, focusing instead on goals that would not only make your life better, but also the lives of your family and friends. Nothing is more satisfying and empowering than knowing we have touched the lives of others. You drove this point home with your overwhelming response to my 2012 resolution to “not allow Parkinson’s to rob us of the good times we can still enjoy.” One response in particular has stayed with me, a constant reminder of the power of resolutions.
Robbin wrote that she had placed my 2012 resolutions next to her husband’s rocking chair hoping he would read them and be inspired to get up and enjoy life. It worked. He asked if he could accompany her to Sunday service. Friends who had not seen him for a while welcomed him with hugs and smiles! Afterwards, he took Robbin out to dinner.
“I knew he didn’t like eating in public because of the difficulty getting the food to his mouth,” she wrote. “I figured he was doing it for me. We tackled a major milestone of seeing the big smiles of old friends and eating in public as a couple again.”
Only a year prior, following surgery for severe cervical spinal stenosis, Robbin said her husband had given up, and was sleeping around the clock and refusing to leave their apartment for anything. He stopped eating solid foods, and wasted away to 135 pounds. After two months of hospice care, he gained back 25 pounds. Now he takes walks in the neighborhood, visits with neighbors, and goes to the pool with Robbin.
“I don’t tell people that my husband has Parkinson’s,” she wrote. “I tell them that WE have Parkinson’s, as I live each hour of every day and night with him. Please let others with PD know that they should never give up; and never forget that there is someone who loves them and is on their team, cheering them on!”
Stories like this are what motivate me, and my partner Jean Burns, to continue reaching out to the Parkinson’s community through our web site, www.pdplan4life.com. Living with a progressive, incurable disease is difficult enough without feeling like you have to face it alone. We are here for you. Our reach extends to every state, and 50 countries representing every continent. To quote Winston Churchill, “We make a living by what we do, but we make a life by what we give.”