Living Well with Parkinsons Disease

Dancing in the Rain: Lessons Learned on my Personal Journey with PD (more at Copyright 2013-20 Sheryl Jedlinski

Awareness + Acceptance = Empowerment


As Parkinson’s Awareness Month comes to a close, we are reminded that this is not the end of our work, but rather the foundation upon which we will build another year of activities focused on helping to develop improved treatments and new strategies for living well with Parkinson’s. This chronic condition is a game changer, regardless of our age at onset or whether our symptoms are tremor or rigidity dominant. The sooner we accept our diagnosis, the sooner we understand that it isn’t a death sentence and can learn how best to live with it. There is no return to “normal,” to the way things were before Parkinson’s hijacked our brains. By adapting to the changes this condition brings, however, we can create a new normal that will allow us to continue leading rich and full lives, albeit different than those we enjoyed prior to our becoming ill. Below are my thoughts on how to achieve this:

Declaration of Acceptance

I will do my part to help bring about new treatments that can slow, stop, or reverse the progression of Parkinson’s disease. This includes participating in clinical trials, donating monies to research, fundraising, and volunteering my skills and time to further understanding and acceptance of this chronic condition.

I will continue looking ahead and making plans for living, finding opportunity in adversity

I gain strength and courage with every obstacle I overcome, and each time I find new ways to cope.

I will not let Parkinson’s define me. I will be the person I want the world to see I am. I will not base my self-worth on how much I accomplish in a day.

I will not hide in my house to avoid the stares of strangers.

I find strength in 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 living with exhausting dyskinesia.

I leave myself twice the time I used to to get dressed and out the door. This allows for several failed attempts to put on my pants one leg at a time, but without two legs in one opening,

I will order food that I have a taste for, rather than food I am least likely to end up wearing. This means no more ordering salad when I really want soup. Wearing a specially treated napkin/bib protects my clothing no matter how much I spill on myself.

I will stop apologizing to those behind me in the checkout line as I fumble for change.

I will accept help when I need it. Everyone needs help with something at some point in their life. This is as close as we come to being normal.

Woody Allen says, “People can be divided into three groups… those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened.”

Which group are you in?

8 comments on “Awareness + Acceptance = Empowerment

  1. Angela Maben Robb
    April 24, 2015

    Sheryl – I love your declaration and the passion you share with all of us!

  2. Pingback: Awareness + Acceptance = Empowerment | Fairfax City Parkinson's Support Group

    April 24, 2015

    Very proud of you . Keep up the good work. Love always, Mom and Dad

    • mydancingintherain
      April 24, 2015

      All of us should have such supportive parents in our corner, cheering us on when times are good and sharing our pain when we encounter life’s rough spots. Thank you both for always being there.


  4. Gretchen Garie-Church
    April 24, 2015

    Ah, the power of overcoming our adversities and the courage to perform in spite of circumstance in a variety of ways. That is what I think of when I think of you.

    • mydancingintherain
      April 24, 2015

      Thank you. Gretchen. As long as we can put one foot, one walking stick, or one wheel in front of another, we will not give up the fight. And we will leave no one behind!

  5. FacetsofLucy
    April 24, 2015

    Reblogged this on Women With Parkinson's Disease and commented:
    Wise words on how to continue the PD Awareness month. I like her Declaration of Acceptance. I may have to try me own. What would yours look like?

  6. FacetsofLucy
    April 24, 2015

    A wonderful post! I reblogged it for my Women with Parkinson’s Group. (Check us out at ). Its a great invitation to personally reassess how we’re handling our personal circumstance. And I love that your parents are proud 🙂

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This entry was posted on April 24, 2015 by in Advocacy, Coping Strategies, Family Life, Friends, Parkinson's Awareness.

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