My thoughts after reading the New Yorker's article on Parkinson's Disease, April 28, 2014, "Have You lost Your Mind?" ---
Apparently, many people who have PD are ashamed and/or embarrassed about the diagnosis. Do they see it as a personal failure? Or, maybe a defect?
My personal attitude is that
1) it's not a personal failure - because, as far as I know, I had nothing to do with acquiring it,
2) and yes, it's a defect. So What? Does that make me "bad" or "undesirable"? No way!
I've had a lot of personal success over the past 60 years, creating a strong self-image (good news) - but, also strong enough to foster an un-healthy level of pride and independence (bad news - too much of anything can become a negative, IMHO.)
Actually, I want people to know that I have PD. I want people to know 'why' I look and respond the way I do. Most of the time I'm smiling inside - something desperately lacking in my demeanor. (I've tried to notify my face, but unfortunately it doesn't respond to my mental commands very well.)
Because I had DBS surgery, My Parkinson's tremor is gone -- however, my speech has been extremely impacted. I recently made a calling card to help break the ice with strangers:
Today, at age 63, Parkinson's is not a 'career buster' for me, but rather a journey to a new place - mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Fortunately, my diagnosis came at a time in my life when my vocation was morphing into a technological rat race. I had been pleased with my accomplishments by age 55, but not necessarily excited about chasing the learning curve of the tech/video future. (Maybe that apathy was a non-motor symptom of PD -- undetected at the time) I was ready for a change - but not necessarily Parkinson's
Now, mind you, I'm not a stranger to change - having lived in numerous locations from:
Philadelphia to Anchorage, New York City to Detroit,
North Hollywood to Modesto, Sacramento and Yuba City, CA.
Currently residing in North San Diego County, in retirement, I look back at the many hats I've worn since the 1960's:
o professional musician, magician/entertainer; laborer/carpenter on the Alaska Pipeline;
o construction superintendant; racquetball and fitness club manager/owner;
o roller skating rink owner/operator; Independent Business Owner with Amway Global;
o professional videographer and audiovisual contractor, producer/director.
To be certain, I've had a very full life and my bucket list is small. I'm sure there will be some surprises yet to come, but I have learned that adversity happens. How we respond to adversity determines our well-being in this life...and potentially, it determines our status in the next life to come.
I don't like Parkinson's Disease. It has grossly altered the dynamics of our lives - Beckie, our children and grandkids have been negatively impacted. It has forced us into a place of pain and emotional trauma - a place, in some small way reminiscent of the trouble encountered by the ancient patriarch, JOB...a place of psychological and philosophical drama...a place, however, where I am learning about faith and hope. A place where I'm connecting with my Creator -
A place where the 'glass is half full' --- always.