Flee or Fight: Which Do You Choose?

Flee or Fight: Which Do You Choose?

Sherri Journeying Through

As a young parent, it is often hard to realize how fast time slips away. You’re too busy changing diapers, refilling milk bottles, wiping dirty faces, and running bath water. You’re doing tubs of laundry daily and wiping up spills hourly. You’re consumed with the next activity, whether it be a school baseball game or homework assistance.

Through all of the busyness, you lose sight of the reality this could be one of the “lasts.” The last rocking chair moment. The last bottle feeding while you hold your not-so-little-one-anymore. The last Boy Scout camp out.

As my grandkids grow, there have been times I’ve wondered if it was the last day for opportunities to rock them because they won’t fit on my lap any longer. Will today be the last day for my granddaughter to be excited to see me as she runs into my arms when I pick her up from her preschool? Will today be the last day my grandson will be enamored with a hummingbird and wave “bye-bye” as it flies away? Will this be the last day my youngest grandson tries to roll over because tomorrow he won’t need to try anymore, having another life moment for which he can claim victory?

Join our forums and be part of the Parkinson’s Disease News Today Community!

Sometimes “growing up” in life can bring us down. The important thing for me to remember is it’s dangerous to stay down. When dealing with a chronic disease on a daily basis (constant pain, loss of mobility, confusion, whatever comes with whatever you have), we can easily find ourselves dying in our spirit. We lose the desire to be a part of the fleeting days. We want to “fleet” right along with them. Life is sometimes unbearable.

The fleeting days, the hard days, are partly why I watch my grandkids. Life is so very precious, and tomorrow isn’t promised. We aren’t promised endless opportunities to spend time with those who mean the most to us. We might choke on an olive at supper, and that will be it. We may get another tomorrow, but we don’t know we’ll have energy or strength or a clear mind.

Knowing PD’s path and the road it could choose for me, I may avoid the olive choking incident but still be left with the inability to do much of anything in the years to come with my husband, my kids, and my grandkids.

And so, I must make a choice. In lieu of the pain, loss of movement, lack of energy, strength, and everything else that can come into play with a chronic disease: Do I say forget it and give in to that dying spirit? Or do I endure through the pain, the frustration of losing control of my body and mind, and keep fighting this thing?

I choose to fight.

There may be some reading this today who are not so sure. Some who have been fighting much longer, much harder, than I have. That is what prompted this post. Someone may feel like giving up, like giving in. 

Please don’t. 

If you don’t have the strength to fight emotionally, write me, leave a comment, or message me on Facebook. Something. You are not in this alone. I will fight with you. I will fight for you. I’ve been there in the dark places, and fighting is so much better because even in pain, in the unknown, life is precious. And if we fight together, we may just beat this thing.

***

Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

16 comments

  1. Rosemary DuMont says:

    I do not have Parkinson’s. My husband has Multiple Symptoms Atrophy (MSA) which at the beginning, mimics Parkinson’s. Many MSA patients are diagnosed with Parkinsons before they get worse and worse more quickly and more profoundly than those facing Parkinsons. Re-diagnosis sometimes takes years. So I will comment on this….I think the “fighting” metaphor is just the wrong one for these neurological diseases. There is an assumption, when using the word “fight,” that there is a possibility that the disease victim can “win” and when the disease wins (always wins in the end) it seems like the victim was somehow at fault, was not strong enough, wise enough, “lost the fight” or whatever. This is not so – the disease always get the victim in the end. People get depressed when they realize they cannot win the fight, that being a warrior is just not enough. If surviving with this disease only relied on ones will, why a lot of people would “win.” They never win. Here is a quote from The Atlantic on the subject: “patients around the time of diagnosis and followed… for years after have found that [those] who view their disease as an “enemy” tend to have higher levels of depression and anxiety, and poorer quality of life than those who ascribe a more positive meaning. They also tend to report higher pain scores and lower coping scores. More recent work has found that patients encouraged to “fight” may feel that they have to suppress their emotional distress and maintain a positive attitude to avoid upsetting family members—and clinicians.” Question: Aren’t there better ways to describe what the victim is facing that describes their reality more realistically but still provides encouragement to continue to live the best life one can live, under the circumstances? I would really like to know.

    • Rosemary – thanks so much for responding. You raise a good point. Although I tend to occasionally think of PD as my enemy (because in my life, it can feel like it and is), I don’t necessarily think of it as something that I must be ‘fighting’ in the sense you speak of. I think of fighting PD as living my best, giving my best and not letting it get the best of me.

      When i say i will fight with you and for you – I am willing to come alongside and walk this journey with others who struggle with PD, advocate for them, encourage and support them to the best of my ability. I truly understand what you are saying but I can’t help not being able to get away from the fact that there are times it feels like a battle we are fighting.

      I will stew on your words some more and I think there is an article in there! Thanks so much for your wisdom and sharing your thoughts.

  2. Donna Comarow says:

    That is a wonderful column. I’m sure a lot of us would try to help others as we’d hope to be helped. Thank you so much.

  3. Dr V Thyagarajan says:

    I fully agree with you.
    I have been diagnosed with PD in 2013.Till date I am fighting a virtual battle with it. I will not give up, for if I do it PD will incapacitate me forever making this life real living death.
    My two daughters have been my life line and theysaved me from the pangs of death last year after my angioplasty post surgery complications, heightened by PD

    V Thyagarajan, New Delhi, India

  4. Jean A Murdock says:

    My first challenging DX was a monumental flare up of Multiple Sclerosis on 01/06/1972. I was out of it for a couple of days and felt like it was killing me. The steroids kicked in and my fight started, I was 31 years old. The MS was an up and down beast until 1984 when I had to have a complete hysterectomy. The MS became a slightly peaceful companion after that (amazing?). There have been many other problems such as a DX of Bi-Polar Illness, we finally hit on the meds that work for that. Six years ago I received a DX of Parkinson’s.
    I still find it impossible to roll over and play dead, and I learned my biggest lesson in how to fight in 2013-14. I had a nasty bout of C-Diff and at the end of every “stinky” day, I learned to say thank you, for me to God, for any one whomever they see as a higher power. I was assigned two doctors who were so full of themselves that they would not use the cure for that stuff, which was a fecal transplant.I was rescued by a young woman doctor who blew off the “old boys” and set me up for the transplant, we did that, the following day the C-Diff was gone.
    I truly love my life, have a great family, great friends, and amazing cat. I feel so blessed, even by the folks who say “you don’t look sick”.

  5. Dawn says:

    Hello Sherri,
    I am thankful for you and the encouragement you have offered me in the words you have chosen to share. God has used you to lift me up on many days when the world’s ways were crashing in on me. You are right on the mark when you state that we must make a choice. That choice is ours and I choose to embrace the opportunity, not the obstacle. The PD I carry may be in control of body but it will not define who I am and whose I am.
    Keep writing!

    Dawn

  6. Natalie L says:

    I love your writing. Some days my granddaughter (and Lord willing, my future grandchildren) is the only thing that keeps me fighting.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *