Dancing in the Rain: Lessons Learned on my Personal Journey with PD (more at www.PDPlan4Life.com) Copyright 2013-20 Sheryl Jedlinski
By Sheryl Jedlinski
My latest CT scans reveal a recurrence of my cancer, spreading beyond my original tumor discovered six years ago. My doctor assured me that this was more common than not in the course of this disease. As long as there are treatments I have yet to try, I will keep fighting for additional time to see my two beautiful granddaughters (a one-year-old and a four-and-a half-year-old) grow up and realize their dreams.
Now, some 22 years into my journey with Parkinson’s disease, and also fighting cancer, I hope I am creating fond memories for my grandchildren to have when I am gone. On days when I don’t have the energy to play as actively with them as they and I would like, I am still able to be present in their lives by reading to them, doing puzzles together, coloring, playing games, and having “private” talks about whatever is on their minds.
I communicate regularly with my doctor to voice my concerns. I ask what new treatments are available for my type of cancer and remind her that I would like to participate in clinical trials that may prove new treatments more effective and have fewer side effects than standard treatments.
I keep my spirits up by surrounding myself with people who encourage and support me. Talking to researchers, doctors, and cancer survivors gives me reason to hope. I insist on fully participating in decision making regarding my care. After all, who knows my body better than I do?
Getting the right diagnosis is the first step in developing an effective treatment plan. This often means reaching out to multiple cancer specialists for second, third, and even fourth opinions. My husband, Tony, drove us 2,000 miles roundtrip for a consultation with a recognized expert in my particular cancer.
I left this meeting feeling empowered and more hopeful about my prognosis. The doctor gave me peace of mind that my original diagnosis is accurate and my current treatment plan my best option for now. She and my local oncologist will collaborate as necessary to provide the best treatment for me going forward.
Upon returning home from our trip, my husband told me he noticed “a new spring in my step” that exudes confidence and happiness. Hence his new pet name for me: “Chipper.”