Yesterday I went skiing. It was my first outing of the year! At one point while riding the chairlift back up the hill, I had a sudden thought. Parkinson’s is like a relentless flood. No matter what you do, no matter how many sand bags you put down or how high the ground you move to, the water just keeps rising and rising!
You see, I have been skiing for over 30 years (it’s a great activity to help pass the frosty winter months) and yesterday it was apparent that my skills have diminished. Because of the lack of balance I’m experiencing and the lack of control and dexterity on my left side, I was not able to turn or hold myself upright like I normally would. I skied many runs with not a great deal of control and if you’ve been following the news lately, you’ll know that skiing is a sport where control is paramount. And so, it is another activity that has been adversely affected by this God-forsaken condition … heck, I couldn’t even get my helmet and boots on without help!
Experiencing Parkinson’s has really affected my life. So far, I’ve had to stop running, sell my motorcycle, stop rollerblading, scale back bicycling, put away my guitar and type with one finger. I’ve also had to accept that I’m not able to do push ups or martial arts the way I once could. The water just keeps rising!
As Homer would say, ‘Stupid Parkinson’s!’
It may sound like I’m feeling sorry for myself, but I’m not. I like to think I’m a realist. I believe everything happens for a reason … everything has a purpose. I also believe that my current state of health is the result of my experiences and the way I’ve lived my life up until now. So if I helped create it, I can help un-create it and one of the most important things I can do to un-create it, is accept what is … to surrender to the experience. Like swimming with, rather than against, the rapids, my welfare depends on it!
Parkinson’s, or any chronic health condition for that matter, can take the enjoyment out of things. It can take the fun out of life! So surrender is crucial.
Surrender doesn’t mean giving up. It doesn’t mean losing hope. Quite the contrary! It means accepting the present circumstances with dignity and grace (not to mention a sense of humour), and for me, doing everything I can to find a solution. It means keeping a positive attitude rather than succumbing to desperation. It means having faith!
I may some day have to put away my skis, but until then, I’ll spend more time on the flatter slopes (and get bigger boots) and slow it down a bit. I’ll find other activities (like Qigong) that are equally enjoyable. I’ll also continue to search for a solution!
Have an awesomely accepting day!