Dec 31, 2016

It's all about perspective...

"If you don't like something, change it.  If you can't change it, change your attitude" Maya Angelou

As we embark on the newness of a fresh year, rather than the typical goodbye 2016 I'm kicking you to the curb cause you suck let's instead say well hello 2017 what shall you bring!

I've been working lately on changing my perspective about things, situations, people.  About myself and having Parkinson's & Dystonia at such a young age.  My motto shall remain "Screw You Parkinson's" as I don't see it in a negative way, I see that in an 'I'm going to fight you and not give up' kind of way.  However the last few years have been tough, spending 15 fearful, confusing, sad months wondering why my body wasn't working and why day by day it continued to get worse was horrible.  Getting diagnosed although I joke that after that long road of the unknown I said thank you and was grateful to finally know what was wrong, it was still awful.  Nobody has a plan in life to get a progressive, incurable neurological disease let alone two in your mid 30's.  Dealing with progression and the fact that I started out in the spring of 2013 with one prescription and 4 pills a day and now as 2016 comes to a close I have three & 18 pills a day.  Although the outside world doesn't see it for the most part because my constant tweaking and additions of medication keep me looking and functioning at the same level as before for the most part it's a real hard pill to swallow, pardon the pun.  Progression is and will continue to be a real struggle.  Realizing that I did not cope with having to give up my career like I tricked myself into thinking by replacing it with being a stay at home Mom; only to have my youngest start school this fall and reality slap me in the face was eye opening and a challenge.  One which I'm still working on.

Now how does one take all that negativity and see it as positive?  Well it's a work in progress and a one day at a time thing.  The pitty party days shall remain, the days of being in a 'fog funk' as a dear Parkie friend of mine called it shall remain.  But as I said to him it's a matter of clearing the fog before too much time passes to see the sun again.  There is always joy in the journey as I always say but sometimes it's harder to find, balance if you will of good and bad.  So here's my list on the flip side:

1.  That long diagnosis period taught me to listen to my instincts, gave me confidence to never let someone else (Doctor or otherwise) sweep it under the rug when I know better.  To be my own health advocate and that sometimes you have to fight for yourself because nobody else is going to do it.

2.  Getting diagnosed taught me to have courage and learn acceptance.  Acceptance in particular is something I needed to get better at in all areas, accepting of disease, of offers of help, of how other people differ, accepting my own life & situation etc...

3.  Dealing with progression taught me patience, teaches me to slow down and learn to say no as sometimes I have to take care of me first, to accept help.  I've never been good at putting me first or accepting assistance, I'm still a work in progress in that regard.  But most importantly to savor life's moments and not take time or memories for granted, not push something off to another day.

4.  Giving up my career, well being forced to is a better term is still one I have a tough time changing perspective on.  However it has enabled me to grow in many ways.  I've been able to take better care of my health and body and in turn help slow the progression by being able to exercise when I'm "on" where as if I was working I'd never be able to.  I've been able to help reduce my cognitive impairment by taking up playing the fiddle & picking the guitar up again after 20 years.  It has allowed me to continue to volunteer my time to groups & causes that mean something to me as I can do it when I have the energy and ability to do so on my own time.  Most importantly it gave me more time with my girls, not simply the crazed supper, bath time and put them to bed in the evenings after a work day.  It taught me to appreciate them more and my time with them. 

So I suppose when one changes the way you look at things it's not all that bad is it?  Perspective...  It doesn't mean your situation, diagnosis or whatever you're dealing with isn't rotten but if you change your perspective perhaps you can find the good in it. 

"The smallest change in perspective can transform a life.  What tiny attitude adjustment might turn your world around?"  Oprah

So with all that in mind as opposed to previous years and me saying to hell with you 2016, there were too many hardships and I can't wait for you to be gone and a fresh year to start.  I'm choosing to be grateful for all the lessons, the good times and the bad that the year has brought.  The lesson's I've learned some of which were very hard.  I've gone from wishing it gone to wishing it would slow down.  Time for a Parkie that's progressing moves FAR too quickly and I'm only now seeing how wishing a year to be over and a fresh one to start is rushing time.  It flies by on it's own there's no need to wish it away faster, so I shall breathe and take it all in and hope that I can focus on the moments and not rush things.  After all as time goes on I'll continue to get slower so that should be easy right?  Ha!  My 8 year old daughter refers to me when my meds aren't working as a tortoise.  When I asked her why a tortoise she simply replied "because turtles are slow but tortoises are slower!"   Perspective from an 8 year old!

So may 2017 be a year full of balance, that you may see that any bad that comes your way has something good in it as well.  That it may go by far too slowly.  And that you find the joy in each and everyday.


  1. You start with a great quote by Maya Angelou, and after that the prose gets even better. Thank you for being so clear headed and for getting right to the point about these important issues re: perspective. It helps long term and with the day-to-day stuff, too.

  2. NAtasha: I certainly see a glimmer of change in attitude and that is a huge huge tidal wave of improvement. Having a positive and hopeful attitude (the knowledge that there is a greater purpose in why YOU specifically have Parkinson's) will carry you through those "fog funk" days. Understanding purpose in my life - and of course my mega-encouraging wife and family - is what keeps me moving forward through life, slowly, each and every day; I know I am not as young as you ware, but I have the same medicine regimen; find your "beat" or "tempo" through life and it will uplift your spirits and make you soar in the clouds! Have a GREAT and Happy NEW YEAR!