Redefining Victory Moments as My Parkinson’s Progresses

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by Lori DePorter |

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Living with Parkinson’s disease can feel like an insurmountable challenge. As we strive to maintain our mobility and preserve our way of life, we look for ways to empower ourselves as patients. We want to feel in control and restore our confidence.

As the disease progresses, motor symptom difficulties become a part of daily life. However, we must remember that we still have a life. All adventures, big and small, offer opportunities for both success and failure.

However, as Matt Lafleur wrote in his Friedreich’s Ataxia News column “Little Victories,” “Thinking differently saves my life. I think doing so is key to thriving with a progressive health condition.” Perhaps it’s time to redefine our perception of success and failure.

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For as long as I can remember, my older brother, Brian, has been an avid fisherman. Although I have found joy in fishing, we never had a fishing adventure together until recently.

This year, my Mother’s Day present came in June. I spent a day on the Chesapeake Bay with Brian, my son, Ryan, and friends both old and new, along with a plethora of fish.

As I wrote after a fishing trip with Ryan and my husband, Mike, in September 2020, battling the rod and reel to pull a fish onto the boat is truly a victory moment, especially as someone with Parkinson’s. But victory can take other forms, too.

Victory redefined

Victory No. 1: Our day started at 6 a.m., and the sunrise was beautiful.

The first order of the day was bait fishing, before we went off in search of “the big one.” Although I didn’t realize it at the time, the laughing and teasing (victory No. 2) would be the most exciting part of the day. Unfortunately, the tried-and-true “Here, fishy, fishy …” did not work in our quest to hook the big one.

As we took turns, a few fish made it onto the boat, though only two were big enough to keep for dinner. The biggest fish was brought in by my son’s friend Alec who was “napping” when I poked him and, in my best mom voice, said, “Get up there. It’s your turn.”

I have known this young man since preschool and consider his mom one of my greatest supporters. She is on my team. Taking his picture gave me the opportunity to do something for her. It was victory No. 3.

little victories | Parkinson's News Today | A young man poses at the back of a boat holding a large fish he caught while fishing in the Chesapeake Bay.

Alec Lloyd holds his catch while fishing on the Chesapeake Bay. (Courtesy of Lori DePorter)

As the day ended, I looked out at the beautiful Chesapeake Bay and posed for a picture with my brother on one side and my son on the other. It’s a memory I will cherish. The cooler was a bit empty, but my heart was full. Celebrating Mother’s Day with them was the final victory.

little victories | Parkinson's News Today | Lori DePorter poses on a boat with her brother Brian and her son Ryan after a day of fishing in the Chesapeake Bay.

From left, Brian Kalisky, Lori DePorter, and Ryan DePorter spend a day together on the Chesapeake Bay — a victory redefined. (Courtesy of Lori DePorter)

Where do you find empowering victory moments? Comment below or visit our forums and share your story.

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, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.


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