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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.

Oh Bugger

Terri Reinhart

It seems that whenever I make a bold statement sharing my most cherished beliefs, something happens. It’s as if the universe hears what I am saying and decides to challenge me to be damn sure that I mean what I say.


Did I say that I was an optimist, that I can face life with all its ups and downs and still see all the joy and good and sweet and mellow and wonderful everything about everyone and about life in general? What was I thinking? Was I just in one of those moods where I was floating off into la-la land for awhile?


If so, I can truly say I’m back, back on the hard, cold earth, and trying to find my balance once more.


I guess I did admit that there were still times when I get angry and upset. Sometimes my physical challenges do get to me. But I had made such an effort to keep this at bay. If I am angry, I will admit it, allow myself to feel it down to my very bones, and then let it go. This way, I am not denying my anger or sadness but I’m not wallowing in it either.


Until a couple of weeks ago, that is. That is when I realized that I had overdone it yet again and I had a little relapse from my surgery. I knew for sure that I had overdone it when I dropped something off at a friend’s house and could not speak a clear sentence. I babbled something but I would be surprised if it made any sense at all.


On the way home, I became a little teary, embarrassed by my inability to communicate clearly. This is something that can happen but thankfully, it is rare for me. It is one of those Murphy’s Law things, though. Whenever it happens, the same person or persons will be there to witness it. No matter what I do, that person will always know that I am a fool at heart. The worst thing I can possibly do (meaning, this is what I will do) is to TRY to not make a fool of myself when I’m around this person. That’s a guarantee that I will trip over my feet or my tongue or the planter on the front porch.


That night, as I tried to make dinner, I fell about 5 times in a row. My husband came to rescue me and finish dinner. I said a few choice words and really did begin to cry. I felt awful. I went to the couch and fell asleep.  I slept a lot during the next week. I think I needed it.


At the same time, life was handing out all sorts of challenges, not to me, but to a number of my friends, and compared to some of them, Job got off easy. This has led to a bit of a crisis for me. Many of my long held spiritual beliefs just went flying out the window. I had once thought that everything that happened did so for a reason and that reason was ultimately good. I could not, however, conceive of any justifiable reason for what had happened to my friends. Fortunately for me, my beliefs seem to be hovering just outside the window waiting for me to stop my yelling and arguing and snatch them back. I am not nearly as patient as Job. I didn’t question God; I yelled a lot.


And I wallowed. I admit I was less than optimistic over the last two weeks. I was back to old habits, blaming myself for everything that might go wrong in the world, be it an unsuccessful dinner or global warming. Finally, after subjecting my family and friends to my wallowing, and feeling guilty about that, too, I gave myself a good shake and a talking to. “Terri,” I said, “you are being stupid. You don’t have time for this nonsense and neither do your friends, however gracious they may be. Do something!”


I am happy to say that I listened to myself and took my advice. I did something. I cleaned the whole house (well, not quite, but I got the laundry done) and went out to buy plants. I know that one is not supposed to spend money when they are feeling down; however, it sure felt good! I spent way more than I should have. I bought our vegetables, some herbs and perennials, raspberry plants, grape vines, and two lovely rose bushes.


And then I planted a garden.


“I think that if ever a mortal heard the voice of God it would be in a garden at the cool of the day.”

~F. Frankfort Moore, A Garden of Peace

 "It's okay to have a pity party now and then, just don't forget to flush."

                                ~unknown - from a PLM member!