Dear Ms. Parkinson's

Dear Ms. Parkinson's,

You first came into my life on March 17th, 2010. The day that I heard my neurologist say, "You have Parkinson's disease," was a day that I will always remember.

It was a surprise ... not a good one, like winning a basket full of puppy dogs or getting a lifetime supply of True Religion jeans. It was more along the lines of being told you have a debilitating neurological disease that usually impacts people in their 60s. But just like I have done in the past when faced with a challenge, I embraced you.

You took my confidence

In the beginning of our relationship, you weren't the easiest to love. You messed with my head. You made me feel depressed and anxious. You stole my identity and for a while I didn't know who I was. You stripped me of my confidence and security. I hated you for that.

You forced me to quit my job, because I couldn't multi-task anymore. Because of you, I felt vulnerable and weak. At times, I believed I wouldn't have the muscle to fight you, but then I got stronger.

I grieved my old self

You were a bully. Insulting, lying and disrespectful; you had no shame. You brought on symptoms that would push away friends and challenge my family. I became rigid and my body slowed as I could hear your evil laugh in my head.

You dominated my emotions and movements but left me only with pain and sadness. You challenged my faith and questioned my life. Because of you, I grieved for the loss of my old self. Would I ever be the same?

You do not define me

Then I started to educate myself. I learned all about your tricks and illusions. I created a wolf pack of people to join me on my new journey. We would come together and find ways to weaken your grip and slow your destruction. I encouraged others that you have infected to join the battle. For all the pain and suffering you have tried to place on us, we refused to go easy.

I know that I can not force you to leave, but I can tell you to stop being a damn diva! It is not all about you so knock it off! I have a life to live here and you are not going to take that away from me. I realize that I will have to accept that you are here to stay for a while. But I do not have to accept that there is nothing I can do to slow your devastation. You do not define me, in fact you have only made me realize how strong I really am.

What you have taught me

So I want to thank you. You have put some amazing people in my life that I would have never met if you, Ms. Parkinson's, didn't come knock on my door. You have also encouraged me to eliminate the unnecessary distractions in my life, such as meaningless relationships, or unhealthy worry.

I have learned not to let the small stuff take space in my head. You have educated me in the importance of family and friends. But most of all, you have taught me the meaning of life.

Yours Truly,


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