Living with Parkinson’s disease colors our world
Things happen that color the way we see the world from that day forward. Learning we have a progressive, incurable disease is one of these things. Although we have good days and bad, our lives never return to “normal.” Soon, we forget what “normal” feels like. One incurable disease is enough for anyone, but many of us will develop a second, or a symptom of a second, that will give us a scare. In my case, it was a lump under my armpit that thankfully turned out to be “nothing worrisome.” I wish I had known this before I expended so much energy worrying. Still, pulling back the curtain showed me that as bad as Parkinson’s is, there are worse illnesses to have. Other life lessons I’ve learned on my journey are:
- The devil we know is better than the devil we don’t know.
During the 15 years that Parkinson’s has been my constant companion, I’ve worked out an arrangement that allows me to live well with it. Why rock the boat?
- It is not what happens to us that matters, but how we handle these events.
Hope springs from refusing to give up. “Once you choose hope, anything is possible,” said the late Christopher Reeve. Instead of allowing Parkinson’s to limit and define me, I have found new purpose for my life, done things I never dreamed I’d do, and made friends I would not otherwise have met.
- Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.
Co-founding and working on www.pdplan4life.com with my friend, Jean Burns, is the most rewarding venture I’ve ever undertaken. We share our challenges, triumphs, humorous perspective, and coping strategies to empower others to live well with Parkinson’s. You have touched our lives as much as you say we have touched yours.
- We gain strength and courage and confidence by each experience in which we stop to look fear in the face. We must do that which we think we cannot.
When my body refuses to cooperate, I look for inspiration to the “super heroes” sharing my journey. These are friends who have returned from the edge of the abyss: from surgeries that left them unable to walk or talk, from repeated falls, and from exhausting dyskinesia.
- Finding humor in the daily challenges we encounter makes life less difficult.
A poster child for anxiety, I am proof that optimism can be learned over time.
Welcome to our world.