I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2015, and luckily, thus far the symptoms are more of an annoying inconvenience.
In the past few months, I have been struggling with disease progression and worsening symptoms. I believe this is because I haven’t been able to exercise like I have in the past. My inability to work out is due to a shattered elbow I suffered last May. Add normal signs of aging to that, and it can make for a perfect storm.
While trying to put things in perspective so that I don’t fall into a pit of despair, the lyrics from a song by the recording artist Pink come to mind: “You’re not broken just bent.” Although the song is about a relationship, the lyrics have given me pause to look at my situation and realize it is not so bad. I have much to be thankful for.
I am bent
Rolling over in bed is now a workout due to Parkinson’s-induced rigidity.
The sheer exhaustion I feel when I take an exercise class is astronomical.
My speech is starting to slur.
It is becoming more difficult to swallow.
My handwriting and fine motor skills are pitiful.
My slowness in movement is almost a complete standstill at times.
But I am not broken
I was able to put on my earrings today. Yes, something as inconsequential as that is cause for celebration.
I can still live independently.
I can still walk and stand on my own.
I am still able to research options for treating my symptoms.
I can still drive.
I can still create stories and type them on my computer.
I have the support of others with Parkinson’s.
I can hear and understand a motivating cheer written by Gordon Gagliano, a fellow boxer with Parkinson’s. Gordon wrote the following poem in my honor when I returned to my first Zoom Rock Steady Boxing class after I broke my elbow:
“Welcome back Jean, with your dignity and grace,
With you not here it’s been a whole different place.
You speak for us all – just by being who you are;
You’ve been a beacon of hope, a fighter, a shining star!!”
A great reminder
Going through this exercise of identifying how I am only bent and not broken allows me to better accept my current health situation. It also serves as a great reminder for me to feel gratitude for what I still have. This, in turn, will allow me to thrive and survive.
I am not broken!
“The oak fought the wind and was broken, the willow bent when it must and survived.” ―Robert Jordan, “The Fires of Heaven”
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.
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