Nov 9, 2012

Share your Parkinson's story and feel better

A man called recently to sell something on the phone and asked if I was a white person; I told him that I did not answer questions which have no meaning for me. While talking to him another idea is brewing. There are always two or three threads vying for attention. Day and night the ideas come and demand to be attended to. It is as if there is a steam engine inside me and I have to put everything on the page before the whistle blows. However, writing has finally taken its toll and my brain is under attack.

Anger and disbelief
I went to the doctor for stiffness in my knee. He asked some questions, did some tests. Without fanfare he told me I had Parkinson’s disease. I was so shocked I could not say very much. A scan confirmed the diagnosis. I went home and tried to figure out all the medication I had to take; half a tablet for this, half a table of that, a whole table for yet something else. It is so confusing that I write it all out.

When the news spread that I had Parkinson’s there were many comments from friends; I heard about your illness, shame man – oh , you can still live long – you might as well go back to smoking, it’s not going to kill you – well at least you know what you are going to die from. People thought they were being helpful, but in fact they were reminding you all the time that you had received an invitation to death. Besides the comments there were the curious looks. People don’t know how to handle someone with Parkinson’s and say all kinds of stupid things. I went on a rampage; not a screaming match but a slow cycle of abuse. I ate two packets of chocolate Whispers a day. I started to eat bread and rice. I added red meat to my diet and smoked until my head spun.

Making the decision
After a stint of reckless and impulsive behavior I decided to change things. I could go two ways; kick Parkinson’s in the butt and be angry, or make the disease my friend. I decided on the latter. You are not bigger than God, I told myself. You are arrogant and wilful and a complete headache. You have no impulse control and this is your own fault.  One night I cried. It wasn’t a cry you could hear in the next room, but the hoarse cry of an animal. I could see myself as a doddering old woman shuffling down the hallway. Feeling sorry for myself was never greater.

God listened and watched. I acted like a recalcitrant child who wanted his way. Could I not see what a gift this was? Could I not be happy that I might still have another five or ten years? I could still walk. I could still brush my teeth and wash and clean myself. I could still drive my car. I was ungrateful. Other people with Parkinson’s have it a lot worse than me. I decided to write an invitation for Parkinson’s sufferers to share their own stories. Click on to write of your own experience. There is comfort in sharing and knowing that you are not alone. There will be good days and there will be bad days; this is an uptime for this writer; all thanks due to God.

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