Dancing in the Rain: Lessons Learned on my Personal Journey with PD (more at www.PDPlan4Life.com) Copyright 2013-16 Sheryl Jedlinski
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?