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My Parkinson's Journey

In which Terri shares a humorous look at her journey with Parkinson's disease and Dystonia:

For me, illness and health are not opposites but exist together. Everyone has something that is challenging to them. Mine just simply has a recognizable name. My life will take a different path because of this but that's okay. Everyone has changes in their lives that create their path.  I'm learning how to enjoy whatever path I'm on.

And Now for Something a Little Different

Terri Reinhart

I was standing at the beginning of the trail, looking down the long and winding road. This was a number of years ago and I was teaching kindergarten. One of my colleagues loved taking the children for long hikes in the mountains and I tagged along. Once there, I knew I was in for a challenge. Walking is not my forte. But before I knew it, one of the dads was standing beside me, waiting. “I want to hold your hand”, he informed me. I knew that he didn’t have any romantic intentions. He would just be there if I fell. I did alright, with a little help from my friend, until we came to a hill. I slipped a little and thought to myself, “Please, hold me tight! Don’t let me down!” Another parent held on to my other arm and the three of us made it down the hill together. “I’m glad you’ve really got a hold on me!” I said. “I thought I was sure to fall.”

We also went to the Berry Patch Farm every year to pick raspberries and strawberries. It is a large farm and by noon, I felt as though I had been walking through strawberry fields forever.

Two summers ago, I decided to go to the Renaissance Festival with my family. I should have known better. After walking here, there, and everywhere, I wondered out loud whether they would sell me a ticket to ride in one of the horse drawn wagons. That was a big mistake. My daughter began chanting “Bring out your dead. Bring out your dead.” I informed her that I was not yet dead.

Some days, it’s all too much.

It’s getting better, partly due to the leg braces that were suggested by my physical therapist. But I’ve learned something else, too. Music can be magical in helping me to move. Usually, my speed is that of a geriatric turtle, but if I am listening to music that is rhythmic, my legs tend to follow along. If the music is faster, my walking will be, too. The therapist suggested listening to music with headphones, but then I tend to not pay enough attention to what I am doing and I walk into walls. I f I’m going to walk into walls, I’d rather slow down. So I try to just sing quietly to myself.

The only problem is, I can’t think of any songs.

(my apologies to the Beatles, Monty Python, and Mark Gordon)