WAIT! I Give Care, I am Not Supposed to Need It.
As a practicing nurse for over 30 years, I never imagined one day my role would be reversed. On May 16, 2017, I received news that would change my world. I was diagnosed with Early Onset Parkinson’s Disease. As a nurse, I knew a few years before the diagnosis that I probably had Parkinson’s Disease, but I ignored it as I didn’t want to know or admit it.
Coming to the realization that I would have Parky (what I refer to my Parkinson’s Diagnosis) as a lifetime companion was difficult. There is no way to sugar coat this devastating realization, but I had to determine how I was going to respond to this chronic condition.
Not long after my diagnosis I met Eileen McDargh. She was speaking at a conference on resiliency. I connected with her as she had a granddaughter named Alicia Lynn. That is my name, which is not common. Her work on the topic of resiliency really hit home. She also shares many perspectives and has many tools that have helped me so much in this journey.
I am so blessed to have the care team I do. Dr. Sriram and Angela West are amazing! I also interface with Dr. Coleman on a periodic basis who is just as amazing. I do what they recommend, and it works. Most people looking at me have no idea I have a Parkinson’s Diagnosis. Take your meds, exercise/therapy, and a positive attitude are needed to make the best out of life. It is of vital importance that you take care of yourself. I was wired to take care of others. That can be a hard shift to take care of yourself, but you must do it.
I worked in the Pediatric Critical Care for so many years and it is evident attitude had a lot to do with how people do with their disease and injuries. Your mental frame of mind impacts how you feel and cope with the challenges encountered with a chronic disease.
Gravitate to things that make you happy. I love Snoopy and I found out Charles Schultz had Parkinson’s Disease which makes me love Snoopy all the more. Laugh! I love to watch the comedian Jeff Dunham as he makes me laugh so hard. I do adult coloring which is good hand coordination therapy but is also relaxing. Music is shown to be good for people with Parkinson’s and I listen to Creed as the messages in their songs are good for me. My furry kids, my dogs, are my therapists. I am so blessed with an impressive son and love spending time with him and his new wife when I can. I share these thing as it is important things to do for me. What do you love and what makes you happy? You need to do them
While I struggle everyday with memory, anxiety, tremors, feet muscle cramps and stabbing pain in my legs. That will not define my me or impact my outcomes on life. I continue to focus on my blessings. I am blessed with friends, a wonderful team, and support system to get me through this journey.
My question for you: What do you love and what makes you happy? Make them a priority, because Joy heals all.
My friends with challenges, I hope this brings you blessings.
Used with permission from the Adaptabilities Blog – Parkinson’s Awareness Month 4/2022.