Understanding PD
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Living Well With PD
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Clinical Trials
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Welcome 2012! It's hard to believe that I'm welcoming the new year in Hawaii. Not the location specifically or the fact that I'm here enjoying the sun, the sand and the beauty of nature that is in such abundance here...but that I'm here at all. There was a time I wouldn't have believed it. That coming into my 15th year since my diagnosis with Young Onset Parkinson's Disease, my body would continue to cooperate to some extent, that I'd be raising my three beautiful daughters with my loving husband and enjoying all that life had to offer. Mind you I no longer am able to work in a career that I am passionate about and I am at the mercy of the twenty odd pills that I reluctantly swallow throughout the day but I am here, alive and relatively well. I've made it thus far.

And for me, what a challenge it has been, a challenge more so for the spirit in some ways, than the body. For a long time, I focused on the difficulties that I faced on a daily basis and all that I felt I was giving up. For someone who was so used to a fast paced lifestyle, it was frustrating to have to slow down. But it seemed like the Parkinson’s had taken away any other option. I tried to not alter my life in any way. I figured if I acted like nothing was wrong then that would somehow become my reality. Act like everything was ok, just over schedule myself. That way I wouldn't have time to worry. However, with no regard for how "inconvenient" it was for me, the Parkinson's progressed relentlessly. This neurological disease took over my body and it wasn't welcomed with shaky open arms. There was no escaping it.
Eventually, about a decade into this experience, I came to a crossroads. I had reached my limit both physically and emotionally. The stress worsened my symptoms and it was changing me as a person. Although no one could tell from my happy go lucky facade, I didn’t like the fact that I rarely sincerely laughed anymore, never truly felt the joy that used to come so easily to me. The glass was always half empty but deep inside I knew this was not who I wanted to be. I knew that my circumstances were not about to change anytime soon. My future was uncertain. No amount of bargaining with the powers that be could change my reality. I wouldn’t wake up miraculously one morning and find the tremor in my limbs had disappeared or the stiffness in my body replaced with the suppleness I longed for.
I gradually realized that I had to determine my own experience in order to begin living again. To look beyond this diagnosis and find my true self once again. Which in turn made it possible for me to continue contributing to my family and community in a way that was not constantly overshadowed by my illness. It was empowering for me to finally understand that in a way I did have the upper hand. That although the diagnosis was not in my capacity to change, how I was going to deal with this challenge was completely under my control.
Once I truly accepted that my path in life was changing, not in an unfair way but in the way it was really supposed to be, I was able to move forward. So many doors have now opened, many fulfilling and wonderful opportunities to use my knowledge and experience have presented themselves. It is with gratitude for the blessings I am now able to recognize, that I welcome this next year. It is with a renewed sense of vigor that I face the challenges of tomorrow. May you also find peace of mind and a passion for life this new year...
Suggested Reading
The Power of Optimism
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For a long time, I focused on the difficulties I faced on a daily basis and all that I felt I was giving up. Primarily because it was not my choice to slow down, I was not given the option…
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Dear PD
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“Dear PD I’ll admit you may have conquered me in the beginning, made me fear the future and lose faith in my capabilities, but I soon learned to put you in your place…"
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