Memories of a Parkinson’s Diagnosis Spur a Flood of Feelings
Reactions, repercussions, and responses to the day of my husband's news
We vividly remember very few days in our lives, and the rest of our memories tend to blur together. I’m always amazed at how accurately I remember specific events from childhood, like witnessing my neighbor’s house burn to the ground when I was around 7 years old; I can still recall feeling the intensity of the fire’s heat and hearing the embers crackling. Yet I have no idea what I ate for lunch today.
The most important days in our lives, hopefully the good ones, are the memories we can still picture accurately in our minds. For me, those beautiful memories include my wedding and the births of my three children. I often think about these spectacular moments, especially if I’m having a rough day.
We were at the neurologist’s office, and I remember the doctor asking Arman to draw a circle on a pad of paper. I can’t recall many other moments of that appointment, but that circle on the paper seemed to be an essential piece of the puzzle. The neurologist soon confirmed that Arman’s symptoms were consistent with Parkinson’s.
This memory, as you might guess, does not take my breath away with happiness and joy, as the others do. Instead, thoughts of that day fill my mind and entire body with feelings of dread, doom, anxiety, fear, confusion, sadness, and anger.
As I’m a Type A person who always has a detailed plan, the diagnosis immediately derailed my visions of our future. But more importantly, my mind began racing, thinking of how this disease would affect our young children and their own futures. And then there was the disease itself: How would PD wrap its nasty arms around my husband, and how fast would this disease progress?
So many questions and so few answers.
I had to pause, stop letting my emotions get the best of me, and get back to the basics. I gave myself a virtual slap across the face. (Does anyone remember that in the movie “Airplane!”?)
I’ve always been a positive person and have strived to instill that quality in my children, leading by example. It was essential that I maintain this attitude for my own well-being and for my kids and Arman. In those memories from my wedding, I promised to take care of my husband in both good times and bad, and he promised to do the same for me. Not only were we in love, but we had a solid partnership in our marriage. We had successfully overcome many obstacles in our young lives together, and we would get through this.
We pledged not to let this disease break us; we would handle it together, one step at a time. One day at a time. One pill at a time. One symptom at a time. One surgery at a time. One fall at a time. One smile and one laugh at a time.
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