Spelunking and Parkinson’s: Embracing the Opportunity for Exploration

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by Lori DePorter |

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“Sometimes life seems a dark tunnel with no light at the end, but if you just keep moving forward, you will end up in a better place.” — Jeffrey Fry

Would you say that living with Parkinson’s disease is like being in a really long tunnel? Sometimes the journey is dark, and other times there is something to guide us. There’s hope in knowing that there are good things waiting on the other side.

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However, we might keep moving and searching for that coveted light at the end of the tunnel, but our journey might not be a linear one. It may have unexpected ups and downs and dramatic twists and turns. So perhaps a better analogy might be in order.

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” — Joseph Campbell

Yes, let’s look at caves and spelunking instead. Just as living with Parkinson’s involves ever-changing landscapes, caves are formed by a changing environment. Spelunking refers to the exploration of such caves.

Unlike a tunnel that leads in one direction, a cave is a labyrinth of tunnels. It is composed of tunnels of different sizes and shapes, all heading in different directions. Some are easy to navigate, while others require crawling and wading through water.

While this may sound frightening, it can lead us to different places to explore and cool adventures before we find our way out. This sounds like living with Parkinson’s.

With Parkinson’s, there are times when symptoms are manageable and we seem to be in control, moving right along. Other times, we’re stuck both literally and figuratively. Medications may not be effective, and our “off” periods, when symptoms reappear or worsen, may seem to happen more frequently. Depression and anxiety may take over, and we might find ourselves in a dark place.

That’s a scary place to be, but the Parkinson’s community has a valuable network of resources to help. These resources are far-reaching, thanks to the continuing development of virtual platforms. Webinars and online classes can provide education about medications, research, health, wellness, and other areas of interest. People with Parkinson’s can avoid isolation and connect with others from all over the world through virtual support groups. Telehealth can provide care teams that include movement disorder specialists, therapists, and psychologists to communities that would not otherwise have access to them.

So whether you see life with Parkinson’s as a cave or a tunnel, keep spelunking and exploring. As you run into dead ends and other challenges, use your resources. Educate yourself and others along the way. Because, ultimately, it’s about working together to find the treasure we seek: the light, the way out, the cure.

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.


karen steck avatar

karen steck

love reading the comments and actually learning at the same time, keep this up!

Lori DePorter avatar

Lori DePorter


I am glad you enjoy the columns. Be sure to visit our forums to connect and share with others - lots of comments to learn new things. Thank you again-



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