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
As teens, my cousin, Wanda, and I would alternate summers at each other’s homes in California and New York. As much as we enjoyed our time together, our shared fear of flying left us living in an unhealthy state of high anxiety well in advance of our flights. Exchanging “courage” letters helped us overcome our immediate fears, and paved the way for my future success in battling Parkinson’s disease and cancer.
“Courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it,” said Nelson Mandela.”The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
Living with PD and cancer is like running a marathon every day. Some mornings it takes all of my courage and energy just to get out of bed. I lay awake worrying whether my brain and body will work in concert so I can do the things I need to do, and whether my latest blood test results will show that my chemotherapy is doing its job.
Studies reveal that our best chance of surviving cancer calls for equal parts of positive attitude to preserve quality of life, coupled with positive lifestyle changes, which transform bad things into good, and encourage all of us to live life to its fullest every day.
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face” said Eleanor Roosevelt. “You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.”
Comparing the cognition of “normal” people to people with chronic degenerative neurological diseases reveals that each of us has our own mental strengths and weaknesses. This information should not be used to make us second-class citizens. We are not victims. We are not powerless. We are seasoned fighters for whom giving up is not an option. We believe that what doesn’t kill us often “sparks positive change, revealing inner strengths and bringing new meaning, purpose, and direction to our lives.”