WRITER . ARTIST . REAL PERSON
Something I would have never imagined doing, was to admit to myself that I do not have the control over my own world as I once believed. I am strong willed and stubborn; and have pushed myself to achieving a multitude of personal goals since I was a teenager. I still struggle with the impression there is nothing that can’t be accomplished with hard work and a little determination. The controlling personality that I have always been, has had to laugh at my situation now. I can clearly see the twisted irony of how the universe would bestow upon me, a disease I have absolutely no control over - Parkinson’s disease.
The only control I now have is over the choices I make… and I choose to not sit down and wait. I am no fool and am by no means ignorant of the reality to come. I watched my grandmother loose her ability to walk or talk, and finally her ability to swallow or eat. I watched the indignity of how Parkinson’s worksto trap a viable mind in a useless body. I thought to myself what a relief her death would be, how this would put an end to her personal suffering. But to my surprise (and later my admiration), I saw her cling to every second of life she could. Though unable to do hardly anything for herself, she seemed to revel in surviving each additional day as if life itself was enough. I think of her often, her courage gives me strength… and is why I choose not to sit down and wait. Developing early symptom Parkinson’s disease has changed my life in different ways. Yes, I have had to admit I can’t do anything to control my disease or its progression. I can only treat the symptoms with medication which works for now. I have had to accept I am now slower and can no longer hide my tremor. I recently had to give up driving a standard as clutching and shifting had become an impossible chore.
What having Parkinson’s has done is to help me really appreciate my time and gives me the resolve to live life in the now. It gave me the courage to quit my corporate job of 17 years and to pick up and move halfway across Texas to be with the love of my life. It inspires me to dedicate time to my writing and my art. It reminds me to tell the people I care for that I love them. It lets me know I don’t want to leave this life with any regrets. Even after eight years from my original diagnosis, I refuse to see myself as handicapped. I’ll probably be in a wheel chair someday, and still not see myself as handicapped. As long as I can still wear cute shoes, it’s all good. So I plan to keep pushing and setting new personal goals. I see it as my choice to not sit down and wait but to get out there and live.