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Day #28

Back to the Future…
When I’m speaking to people who’ve been recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s, the most frequently asked question I get is “What can I expect?” When I received my diagnosis in August of 2012 that’s exactly what I asked…I’m still waiting for the answer!
Parkinson’s Disease is for the most part a slow moving illness (pun intended). By the time a diagnosis is made, you’ve had it for years… Different symptoms appear as the damage to brain cells continue, but it affects everyone differently.
Some progress rapidly while others stay in the early stages for years…It’s the luck of the draw.
When you get the news that you have an incurable, progressive brain disease the natural reaction is to want answers as to what to expect for the future. Unfortunately, that’s not something anyone can answer…
Parkinson’s generally shows as a tremor on one side of the body, usually in a hand. Current medications can do a decent job of keeping things under control for a while. As it progresses it can move to other limbs such as a foot or leg. This can lead to walking issues, which in turn can lead to balance problems sometimes resulting in falls. A laundry list of other issues can show themselves at various times including sleep problems, difficulties speaking, pain and stiffness, facial masking, emotional problems and cognitive decline. In the course of the last twelve years here’s what I’ve learned about what to expect from this unwanted visitor…
It’s not going to go away… I was convinced all I had was a pinched nerve from a fall…Wrong! Even up to today, I’m still waiting for someone to yell surprise! We were only kidding!
I know that this monster has forever altered the course of my professional life. Tremors, unsteady gait and balance issues make it impossible to do my job, although I’m not ready to have a garage sale of guitars quite yet!
It’s had an impact on my Wife. This is by far the worst… She sees the man she loves shuffling around with his shaking hand…She sees the impact not just financially but emotionally on me with my diminished ability to do do the thing that I love…almost as much as I love her.
These things won’t get better as time marches on and I understand and accept that…to a degree!
Dwelling on and obsessing over the bad things that happen to us is exactly what Parkinson’s wants you to do! As I’ve said before, it’s a living, breathing creature that feeds on fear! Letting it control your life is exactly what it wants! I’ve immersed myself in anything related to Parkinson’s in an effort to better understand what I’m dealing with. There’s a saying that goes “Knowledge is Power ” and I believe that one hundred percent!
The best advice I can give to someone with Parkinson’s, or any health issue is to learn to be in the moment! Thinking about who you were before and what you may become is a waste of precious time and energy. The past is just that, the past. Embrace the fond memories but don’t obsess about the glory days.
You can’t predict the future… Worrying about what may happen takes you away from where you are right now! None of us have any control over what the future will bring and the only thing for certain is that no one gets a pass..
Life is a beautiful gift and it’s meant to be enjoyed and savored like a fine wine. Don’t ever let anyone or anything take that gift away from you…
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