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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.

Off Road Traveling and that Someday which is Today

Terri Reinhart

As you have probably seen already from the photo that's been posted several times, I am "off-roading" these days. The photo is not totally honest. I rarely travel in the streets if I can help it. I travel almost exclusively off road, on the sidewalk. We finally bought my mobility scooter and we've been putting this little baby to the test. Last Saturday, we got on the train in Denver and came to Glenwood Springs. We had planned to do this as our 30th wedding anniversary celebration and also as a way to begin Chris' retirement.We had talked for a long time about taking a trip together someday, and now we finally are doing it.

There are all kinds of things that I plan on doing someday. Someday, I plan on finishing my book. Someday, I plan on writing down the Grandmother Willow stories. Someday, I will have the studio finished. I could go on and on, but you get the idea. When will someday turn into now?

This is part of why I am so happy that we have come to Glenwood. Of course, the biggest and best reason for taking this trip is that Chris and I can spend 6 days together, just the two of us.  We have had a marvellous time wandering around the town, shopping, swimming, and today, we even rode the Tramway up the mountain! Chris was rightly proud of this accomplishment as he has a serious fear of heights.I have been most excited about wandering around the town and shopping. I can do that now because I am not concentrating only on keeping myself upright and moving, as I need to do if I am walking.

My new scooter is part of how we made our someday become today. Parkinson's is a strange disorder. My neurologist refers to it as a designer disease because it affects different people in so many different ways and our reactions to medications are also very different. There are some days when I don't appear to have any physical challenges whatsoever and other days when I have difficulty getting around in my house.

I met one man whose Parkinson's wasn't at all visible to other people. When a friend of his, whom he hadn't seen for several years, came to town, she didn't believe that he had anything wrong with him and she actually became angry with him for worrying her with his story of having Parkinson's.For those friends of mine who see me only when I am doing well, they might wonder why I would even think of getting a mobility scooter. Isn't it important to exercise when you have Parkinson's? And why would I want to make myself look and be more disabled than I am?

My answer to these questions is simple. I am not trying to be more disabled, I am trying to be more mobile. Over the last 7 years, I have given up a lot of activities that I loved, just because I knew I could not do the walking involved. I didn't go to festivals and fairs anymore. I wasn't able to take long walks or opt to walk with my children to the library instead of taking the car. I didn't go to museums or shopping malls. Some places have simple non-electric wheelchairs that can be used to get around but that really makes me feel disabled! I don't have the strength to push myself through a museum so I would be dependent on someone to push me. Walking will never be the way I get my exercise because, after a half a block or so, my dystonia will kick in. My physical therapist agreed with that. With my scooter, I am able to do things that I haven't done for 7 years. I am more able, not more disabled with my scooter. Why wait till my disease has progressed to the point where I can't get around any other way? I feel good now and I want to do as much as I possibly can do, now!

Why wait for the someday that may never come? Having successfully accomplished so much on this trip, I now have renewed energy to bring home with us. I am determined to make many more somedays turn into todays.

First things first, however. We have just spent two and a half days wandering around the town and being very busy.

I think I need a nap.