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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.

New Year's Resolution

Terri Reinhart

dawdle \dȯ-dəl\ verb

 

I have finally, after much thought, decided what my New Year’s resolution will be. I know, I know...it’s already past the middle of January and resolutions are supposed to be made on the first, right? But, really, there’s no sense in hurrying this, you know. A New Year’s resolution needs to be chosen very carefully. It should be practical enough that you will have some motivation for keeping it and yet also show that you are one of those people who strive to take life seriously and make the world a better place just because you are serious about it.

 

My New Year’s resolution is to dawdle.

 

The word, “dawdle”, has several meanings in the dictionary, but the one I like the best is: “to take one’s time, proceed slowly, linger”. I like this and I take it very seriously. Taking one’s time is important. I know that our society seems to think that faster is better and multitasking is an important job skill, but I suspect there are jobs that would benefit from taking one’s time and proceeding slowly. Jobs like Secretary of State, Brain Surgeon, and the Mechanic who works on the big city trucks and snowplows are a few that come to mind immediately.

 

This definition is, of course, different from the other definition of dawdling, which is: "that which my daughter does every morning before school."

 

I can think of no better time to “proceed slowly” than when one is considering the possibility of having brain surgery. That was my conclusion, anyway, after some months of evaluations, tests, and fretting over whether or not this would be the best thing for me to do. My husband and I weighed the possible benefits against the possible side effects. We spoke to the surgeon, watched the information video, and did our own research. I spoke to a number of people who had already had the surgery as well as people who are on the waiting list.

 

Everyone I talked to who has had the Deep Brain Stimulation surgery, without exception, has said that it was very positive and they are glad they had it done. Any hurdles they had to go through were definitely worth the time and effort it took to get over them. Every one of these people said that their lives were better now than before the surgery. So why am I dawdling?

 

There are a number of reasons.

 

I should probably wait till I am through menopause.  Having surgery done now could confuse things.  If I start acting a little weird, no one will know what to blame it on.

 

But the biggest reason is that I still get along well, most of the time. I can take care of myself. I can walk, get up and down stairs, in and out of the car, and drive by myself. I can still type, write, and bore my family with stories. I can talk, sing, and shout at my kids. I am not depressed or anxious about my future.

 

When one person at a support group meeting, with the best of intentions, told me that I needed to have a more positive attitude and look at the glass as half full, I was a bit bewildered. I can’t honestly describe my glass as being half full. It isn’t. But it's not half empty, either.  It’s overflowing! I have said it over and over. My life today, despite my Parkinson’s, and perhaps even to some degree because of my Parkinson’s, has never been better. I feel happier and healthier than I have ever felt before.

 

Why mess with that?!

 

So I’ll wait. My kids are glad because they have just gotten used to the daily comedy routine of watching mom flailing with knives in the kitchen, walking backwards while swearing, and occasionally falling to the floor. My husband is glad to not have to worry about the possible risks connected with having any sort of brain surgery. My friends are glad because they won’t have to listen to me fretting over this decision, at least for now.

 

And I’ll keep my resolution. I’ll find as many ways as I can to take my time. I’ll go slowly with my housework and try to honestly enjoy it. I’ll savor my art projects and not give myself unrealistic deadlines. And I’ll linger with my friends and take time to enjoy each of them as well.

 

This is serious business.

 

“When you do finally get time to yourself – dawdle!”

~advice given to me in 1998 by an expert mom.