Adopting a New Mantra to Stay Positive

Jean Mellano avatar

by Jean Mellano |

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(Graphic by Jean Mellano)

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”

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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.

Comments

CptJack avatar

CptJack

Thank for posting, my symptoms are almost exactly like yours except I have a lot of falls, including one required an ER visit..
Lack of exercise is definitely one issue for me right now..
I m only 18 months into what’s thought to be a slow progressive disease. Have to wonder how I’ll be down the road, at 71 never thought I would be paying for my exposure to Agent Orange, but here I am, rocking it ! 👍🇺🇸

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Jean Mellano avatar

Jean Mellano

Thank you for your service CptJack! Balance is starting to become an issue for me, however, I think my years of dance training I had prior to PD onset has helped with muscle memory. I try not to think about the future and focus on what I can do, otherwise I would stay in bed all day LOL. If you can, try to practice some form of movement. I believe that is the best we can do to fight this beast called PD.

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Lori DePorter avatar

Lori DePorter

You are a warrior! Rest but never quit my friend!!!

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Jean Mellano avatar

Jean Mellano

thank you for your encouragement Lori!

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Raimund Beretta avatar

Raimund Beretta

Ray Beretta says:
I got diagnosed 2014 and experienced same symptoms as Yours and with
the same fast decline of tasks. Turning im Bett,button up Shirts, tying Schuh
laces , and many more little all Day tasks. The Frustrate not be able to do
those little things was the worst for me. Every thing changed Christmas
Holliday 2018/19 in Germany. After 26 hr of travelling half around the Globe
I wend for a Remedial Massage . The Therapist introducet me to "brainLight",a new concept of relaxation . After 45 minutes listening to calming Musik and Flashing lights,I a woke from the best sleep I had in the
last 5 years. No more stiffness, slow movements, mumble .....; Back to a near normal function Human. It lastet for gut 12 hr. I bought one , using it
2 to 3 times a day for max. 20 minutes each . I am still on medication,
but the quality of Live is back. I have not met one other PD sufferer who is
using this Equipment. But if it works on me , it could work on You and every
one else.
Ps. I am working again up to 8 hrs a day.

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Jean Mellano avatar

Jean Mellano

Hi Ray, I am glad you found relief from the brainLight. It looks like it is only available outside the USA

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