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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.

Finding a balance

Terri Reinhart

It’s amazing how much easier it is to find my balance now. Maybe it’s because I’m getting a lot of practice. Getting older does have that advantage. Or maybe, it’s because I’m gardening again and it’s hard to be too off balance when you spend time in a garden. Wildly optimistic? Try ridding the garden of bindweed. Too pessimistic? Look at the bean sprouts pushing out of the earth and look at the size of those potato plants!


And if that’s not enough, you can always visit our small field of borage. It was planted by Miss Prairie’s class several years ago. If you need borage, come see us. If you know what to do with it, let me know...please! My friend, Ed, suggested I cook it with lovage (an herb) and end up with “boring love”, which led me to suggest cooking borage with garlic and ending up with “garbage”. Bad jokes aside*, there have got to be some good uses of the stuff.


The bindweed in our garden is amazing. We try every known method of getting rid of the stuff, short of using poison or really hard labor, and it thrives. I pull them up one day and by the next morning; they have snuck back in and look stronger and healthier than ever. They have been particularly persistent in our lettuce patch and there I am on my hands and knees attempting to pull up the weeds carefully to spare the tiny lettuce plants. It’s easy to see the lettuce among the bindweed as it is a much lighter shade of green. Light green stays, dark green gets yanked out. Then I discovered that the bindweed is becoming clever. After yanking out all the dark green weeds, I discovered a number of bindweeds coming up in the exact shade of green as the lettuce! I had no mercy, however, and yanked them, too.


Finding my balance is easier too, now that my Parkinson’s is once more in control. The week spent sleeping did wonders for healing. I am feeling much better physically and that does make a difference in my attitude. The challenges of the past weeks have not gone away but I have stopped yelling and started doing. There are many questions that I don’t have answers for and so much that I don’t understand. I am not exactly at peace with this yet but I can let it go for now.


For now, I’ll work in the garden, bake cookies for my family and friends, attempt to keep the house clean, and I’ll keep knitting, making books, felting, sewing, and doing all those other artsy-fartsy things I love to do. Maybe someday I’ll have the answers to some of my questions, anyway.


On the whole, in the core of my being, I guess I would have to say I’m optimistic.


And I should be optimistic! Chris and I did just celebrate our thirtieth wedding anniversary! Chris has been my anchor all through the years, someone who has been there steadily to catch me when I fall (sometimes literally now) and allowed me to flit from project to project. He has endured a not-terribly-exciting job because it was stable and provided for our family. It was only because he endured this job that I was able to have the freedom to have a job that, while never paying a lot, was certainly interesting and provided me with a community that I am still a part of today. Chris retires on June 30th after nearly thirty years at the same job. I hope that he can have the freedom to do whatever exciting things HE wants to do now!


In the last year, we have added our daughter-in-law, Coco, to our family, and now we find our family will be growing again. John and Coco are expecting their first baby in late December!! I’m gonna be a Gramma! And, of course, Chris will be a Grampa, Patrick will be an uncle (if the name the kindy kids gave him holds out, he’ll be Uncle Patchy-Hero), and Emma will be.....Aunty Em. How can I be less than optimistic after hearing this news?


Bring on the knitting needles! Gramma’s got work to do.




*if you particularly enjoy bad jokes, see this week’s edition of the C.O.W. (Chronicles of Waldorfia), our high school newsletter and read the particularly bad cow jokes (COW 6), written by Mr. John Reinhart: