‘Constantly remind myself to keep on keeping on’ despite Parkinson’s
This is Mike Krukar’s story:
My name is Mike Krukar. I’m 66 years old and live among the beautiful red rocks of Sedona, Arizona. I was officially diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in October 2020, a time my wife, Fraya, and I remember well. We were in Sun City, Arizona, to pick up our second rescue cat, Geri, and see a specialist at Banner Hospital.
If Parkinson’s doesn’t kill me, Geri just might. She is underfoot constantly. I always try to walk with intent, though, and haven’t fallen in quite some time.
Often, I feel low. But of late I wake up fairly early, put on my earbuds, and do my chores to the inspirational music of MercyMe or Lauren Daigle, both great Christian artists. They bring me out of my funk, with music that stays in my head. I clean the cat boxes, feed our buddies, and, very quietly, unload the dishwasher. This is followed by moving to the deck for my daily “boxing with cats” rounds: the LSVT online exercise program from Blessing Health Care and Parkinson’s classes from Norton Neuroscience. Massage, acupuncture, and physical therapy are part of my weekly life with Parkinson’s. On many mornings, we walk to a nearby coffee shop, and I’ve weekly meals with my Parkinson’s buddies, Dan and Tom.
The discovery that a traumatic brain injury while in the military contributed to my Parkinson’s was a godsend. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has joined me in my struggles, and I believe Jesus Christ has been with me on this journey. My scripture is: “His strength is made perfect in my weakness.”
My affliction is my new source of expertise; it is really how we choose to look at it. Once a person decides to live with a condition and not give in, the question becomes, how will we live?
Last year we drove to Palo Alto, California, to be with my sister and her husband during his heart surgery. It was a 700-mile drive through a snow storm and COVID-19, but I was able to be there for my family. Life is not always all about you. There, I said it!
The surgery was a success, as was our trip. We fed the ducks from our room and saw giant elephant seals on the beach. We traveled to Alaska last summer for our granddaughter’s wedding. In May and June, we’ll be driving a distance for my niece’s graduation and our grandson’s wedding. These experiences all exist, even with Parkinson’s.
Stiffness plagues me, but exercise routines and (mostly) healthy eating keep me on track. For the last six months, I have been taking Neuralli (PS128), a gut-brain probiotic for Parkinson’s by Bened Life, with good results. See, I realize lots of folks have it much worse. I don’t have tremors, I still care for myself, and I walk, though carefully. I constantly remind myself to keep on keeping on.
I must say Jesus Christ and my wife are keys to my attitude. I’m so lucky today. Don’t ask about tomorrow, because I may have retreated to my “pity party.” My life has been blessed with the good and not so good. Only God knows what the future holds.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share.
In recognition of Parkinson’s Awareness Month in April, the Parkinson’s Community Spotlight campaign features a series of stories highlighting the real-life experiences of people affected by Parkinson’s disease written in their own words. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this, using the hashtag #ParkinsonsSpotlight, or read the full series.