A few years ago [I don’t recall exactly when], I noticed that driving intensified my symptoms. Not long after that, I noticed that my symptoms got worse even when I was a passenger in the car.
Last week, I took a rather long driving trip to visit family and friends, including my mentally handicapped brother who is in declining health. Every day involved a significant amount of time in the car, including nine hours on day one and six hours on the last day.
Recently I was walking from the house down to the lake to enjoy the view and the serenity. About halfway down the steps, it suddenly occurred to me that in that moment, I felt normal! My balance was fine [it usually is when I’m walking], there was no freezing, no trembling and no clenching in my hands. My gait was normal as well!
Last summer, after retiring from teaching karate, I decided to take up golf again. It has been challenging! Not only am I that much older, I have some physical challenges to manage… loss of balance, trembling, freezing and loss of dexterity [particularly on the left side]. I have also lost a lot of strength, so I don’t hit the ball nearly as far as I used to. On the flipside, I tend to hit the ball much straighter!
I have long held that view that I’m not suffering from parkinson’s disease. Rather, I am experiencing a health condition characterized by certain symptoms. What is more, I don’t believe that I have to cure the condition. Instead, in order to recover my health I need to return my body to homeostasis.
Thanks to a recent conversation with a friend, I had an epiphany about my experience with this neurological condition. I realized that I have been spending far too much time thinking about the symptoms I experience; wanting not to experience them.
Recovering from this neurological condition [parkinson’s]] is mostly about restoring body chemistry. It’s about ‘convincing’ the neurotransmitters that are produced in our brains [mostly dopamine and serotonin] and the hormones that are produced in our endocrine system [mostly adrenaline and cortisol] to return to normal levels. We want more dopamine and serotonin and less adrenaline and cortisol. Which the body wants as well by the way. It wants to be in homeostasis.
Contrary to the language used on most parkinson’s disease websites, I do not consider myself to be battling parkinson’s. Nor do I think of myself as suffering from a disease. What you fight, fights back! When you believe you are suffering from something, you put yourself in victimhood! I’m not fighting with anything and I’m certainly not suffering!
By now, you’ve probably seen the ABC News piece on how cycling can help people with parkinson’s. It is very encouraging and inspiring! Experts don’t seem to know why people who have such a difficult time walking can easily ride a bike. I think it’s all about muscle memory and doing something that puts you in a state of joy! Think about when we were kids and the exhilaration we felt while riding a bicycle! It can’t help but be a good thing!