Dancing in the Rain: Lessons Learned on my Personal Journey with PD (more at www.PDPlan4Life.com) Copyright 2013-16 Sheryl Jedlinski
By Sheryl Jedlinski
Only two weeks after major abdominal surgery, I am taking my life back and starting down the road to beating cancer. Much to the surprise of my healthcare team, I have already retired the walker I brought home from the hospital and returned to using my signature walking sticks. On my first significant, post-surgery outing, my sticks carried me from one end of the mall to the other, returning me to my favorite activity… shopping. Today, I got the okay to climb the stairs to my home office, and was dismissed from physical therapy. Perhaps the biggest thing I had going for me was that I went into surgery strong and fit thanks to the daily exercise regimen I have followed since I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 17 years ago. I credit this, as well as a positive attitude, with my quick recovery.
I am equally happy to learn that blogging about my personal experiences with Parkinson’s has helped ease the journey for others following in my footprints. The strength of our community lies in the individuals who support and encourage one another to do whatever it takes to live well with Parkinson’s. Most of us have no idea how many lives we touch, let alone how many people we inspire while going about our daily business. I am fortunate to get this very emotional feedback almost every day.
After reading about my new battle with cancer, one woman emailed me:
‘While I was swimming today I decided that I will religiously stick to my swim schedule in your honor. When I don’t feel like going, I am going to do it anyway because that’s what you would do. I’m going to go because all your hard work and outreach to the rest of us will not go to waste. I will go because the best thing I can do to thank you for how you’ve helped me is to take care of my body and fight back against my PD.”
The next mountain I have to climb is completing 18 weeks of chemotherapy, while finding my way around any obstacles I encounter along the way. How I deal with these obstacles will determine whether they are annoying “speed bumps” or roadblocks to my achieving remission. Giving up is not an option; the cost is more than I am willing to pay. So, I continue to soldier on, all the while singing my fight song and repeating my mantra: “If you believe it, you can achieve it.” This has never failed me.