Not a "Death Sentence"

Last updated: September 2022

2014 was a horrible year for me. I was issued a rolling walker by the VA, a cane and some knee braces and told I would probably not be able to walk in 5 years or so. I was extremely depressed and even despondent. It took me forever to get out of bed in the morning and even fixing a cup of coffee was a monumental chore. I lost 50 pounds in 3 months and had NO energy or desire to do anything!

I don't know how I got through that year, it's just kind of a very bad dream. One day, looking out the window at my completely abandoned yard (a certified wildlife sanctuary) and thinking of all of the little creatures that depended on me, I got very angry at what my life had become and the same time, VERY determined NOT to accept it.

Important realizations

I started slow, out in the hot sun, taking a lawn chair with an umbrella and plenty of water, pulling weeds (leaving them in small piles to be collected later), working, resting, working, resting - then inside for the A/C - back out, more weeds, a little trimming - day after day, no matter how bad I felt or how much I did not want to do it.

Two VERY important things happened. First, the exercise and fresh air did me a world of good. Yes, I was in pain and got winded so easily, but that got better (very slowly over the following months) and I began to see myself taking less breaks and working a little more each day. Secondly, the psychological lift of seeing my yard beginning to look like it did in "the old days" as well as the improvement in my ability to perform chores gave me such a positive boost and incentive to keep going.

At the same time, I went back to a fairly strict, organic diet, eliminating all of the things we all know we should not be eating anyway.

As I am writing this, I am better than I have been since I was first told about all of my debilitating symptoms in 2011. It is NOT easy to do what I do now and I still have very bad days, but where I am now, is infinitely BETTER than where I was in 2014.

As Emily Dickinson once wrote, "Hope is the thing with feathers, that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without the words, and never stops, at all."

Making progress with Parkinson's

People HAVE to see progress, no matter where it comes from or how it happens. Even small amounts of progress.

...and if YOU are the one responsible for this progress, that is ALL you need to keep on doing whatever it is you started to do and to NEVER allow yourself to go "backwards" again.

I have kept a journal for almost 30 years. Reading the entries in 2014 as well as seeing 39 BLANK pages in a row during that year, keeps me from EVER letting myself sink into that horrible abyss again.

Who knows how this is going to end for me. What I do know is that it is NOT going to be INSIDE a house, looking out a window and feeling depressed and despondent. It's going to be OUTSIDE, filling bird feeders, maintaining gardens and water features, feeding my fish, tadpoles, crayfish and frogs and being so thankful for another day in the healing sunshine and fresh air.

Two of the saddest phrases in the English language - "What if" and "If only" will NEVER come out of this mouth!

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