Mr. Parkinson, An Update

032It’s been a while since my last update about life with Parkinson’s disease. As far as health is concerned, I’m doing well. My drugs are still effective; I walk 4 miles a day (with my trusted cane), meditate and stay as far away from stress (good and bad) as I can. However, I have noticed a slight tremor in my left hand as opposed to my main tremor in my right hand. There are some differences in its development for I remember all too well how my right hand started to shake. Though PD is Continue reading Mr. Parkinson, An Update

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Parkinson’s and the Mindfulness of Stress

____Eyes_like_the_Sun_____by_reKAYOH“Our task must be to free ourselves… by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty,” -Albert Einstein

I keep a card in my wallet from the National Parkinson’s Foundation that list my name and address, family members to call in case of an emergency, medications I take, drugs I should not take and so on… On the back, it states that I have Parkinson’s disease which could cause me to move slowly and have difficulty standing or speaking. Now here’s the clincher and most of you will think I’m making a joke. Underneath the above statement, printed in capital letter it states I AM NOT INTOXICATED. Now why would it say this? Continue reading Parkinson’s and the Mindfulness of Stress

Part 9- Medications… All in Good Time

astronomical-clock-5706_640“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life,”                                                                     -Mary Oliver

“All in good time, the bad times will be gone, ”                 -Ron Sexsmith

By the summer of 2014, this was the state of my mental and physical condition. My tremor was still constant; it had not decreased or slowed down. Indeed my hand shock as much as it ever did. My movements were slower because I was more conscious of the way I moved. I could think now to pick up my feet, move my arms, and walk erect. But as you can imagine I felt awkward and looked the same. To walk and have to constantly be mindful of it; like remembering to breathe… stop and the outcome is not so good. Stop being mindful of my movements and down I go. Continue reading Part 9- Medications… All in Good Time

Part 6- Tremor… I’m All Shook Up

“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.” -Oscar Wilde

“On the outskirts of every agony sits some observant fellow who points.” -Virginia Woolf

The program director for Raleigh Research called me up the other day and asked if I’d partake in a two-day overnight clinical trial to test a device which sticks to your skin much like a nicotine patch. It measures motor symptoms such as balance, stiffness and slow movement, to name a few, their decline is the result of Parkinson’s disease. But the most obvious motor symptom it will measure is ‘tremor’; the consistent uncontrollable shaking of one hand, as is the case with my right hand.
Continue reading Part 6- Tremor… I’m All Shook Up

Part 5- Meds… The Art of Symptoms and Side Effects

“The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it,”  -John 1:5

It was the medical treatment with an emphasis on medication, exercise and mindfulness that came to my rescue from the deep-sea of cognitive and physical disparity. Those who knew me at the beginning of this ordeal and see me now comment on how much better I seem. With excited eyes they infer that the doctors must have made a mistake, the diagnosis was wrong, you’re not sick! So when they ask how, I tell them the truth, “I’m on drugs.” Suddenly they get this quizzical look on their face, not knowing what to say. I reassure them, “it’s still the same me shaking under this mask of medication.  I’m in control with a little help from my friends… for now”. Then it suddenly occurs to me, what an absurd statement that is; am I ever really in control. Yes, on some days you have to look a little closer to see if I have Parkinson’s at all. But it’s there and never really gets too far away, tied at the hip it seems constantly waiting for the next adventure. Continue reading Part 5- Meds… The Art of Symptoms and Side Effects

Preface

Some time ago whilst I was sitting in Starbucks, a woman noticed the tremor in my right hand and asked, “do you have Parkinson’s disease?” I looked at her a little surprised captured in my tremor and answered “yes.” She proceeded to ask questions of which I answered freely. Most of the questions centered on PD and the fact that she has is a distant relative who was just diagnosed.

I get this kind of attention a lot, which I don’t mind, either people ask questions or those too embarrassed to ask. However, they reveal a slight smile with a look in the eyes and you can tell they know. And rest assure, that whether you ask outright or you’re too embarrassed to ask, you have a few things in common; either you know someone with Parkinson’s or know somebody, whom you feel might have it. That someone might be you!

So the relative in question was a sister-in-law who upon hearing her diagnosed, stayed in bed for two weeks, too upset to get out of her room. And here is this woman looking at me and seeing two extreme reactions to the same diagnoses. I know in my mind I was thinking the same thing. Upon leaving, she told me she would pray for me of which I thanked her. This was probably the first seed of inspiration to write about Parkinson’s.

So the gist of my story is this: I am like these individuals and all others who know. And depending on what day it is, I can go to extremes. So my therapy is to write and share these words and just maybe this will give those with a close connection to this disease a rhyme or reason as to ‘why’ and move forward. As T.S. Eliot wrote in ‘Little Gidding’:

“We shall not cease from exploration,
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”

I didn’t set out to write about Parkinson’s figuring there was enough being said and written. But the more I told my story to friends the more encouragement I received. It wasn’t enough that others have written about this disease and their relationship to it, what mattered was, my story wasn’t out there for I had a voice and an obligation to write it.

For their understanding I want to thank family and friends for being there and patience in the fact that my life had changed and I now moved a little slower. To my fellow bloggers who encouraged my creativity in the blogosphere and to Mirja who always had an unending faith in my abilities as a writer.

Thank you,  JC                                                                     

Part 3- A Question of Balance

“My life extends far beyond the limitations of me.”                                                                          -Cloud Atlas

A bit of a tantrum and the voices of my better angels talking me down one day after my official diagnoses… Continue reading Part 3- A Question of Balance

Part 2- Diagnosis…Down the Rabbit Hole

320px-Down_the_Rabbit_Hole“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another,” -Anatole France

At first I made a doctor’s appointment because of my diagnosed pinched sciatica nerve in my lower back and wanted a second opinion but things had changed; I now suspected that I was experiencing certain symptoms not associated with nerve damage.

The office set my appointment for the morning of October 29, 2012; asked to arrive early to complete the new patient forms. As I arrived, I sat in my car in silence, the situation seemed too surreal and at the same time permanent. I knew I would see this place again. October is my favorite month and I couldn’t help but think of those lines by Thomas Wolfe: Continue reading Part 2- Diagnosis…Down the Rabbit Hole

Part 1- In the Beginning…By the Deep Forbidden Lake

Lake_Lynn_Raleigh“Our challenge is to ride the waves of chaos with trust, faith and love, allowing everything in its time to unfold and harmonize,” -Julie Parker

In the summer of 2011, I was living about a mile from Lake Lynn in Raleigh, North Carolina. The lake is vertical in design as it is about 5 to 7 times longer than its width when measured from its northern perimeter to its southern boundary. The rich diversity of trees and vegetation along with water in abundance gives shelter and food to a number of birds such as heron, hawks, ducks, geese, and swans. I’ve seen deer that will eat out of your hand after a game of trust settled any inhibitions. The lake is an idyllic place to sit or walk at the closing of the day.  Continue reading Part 1- In the Beginning…By the Deep Forbidden Lake