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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.

Cleaning up and Clearing out - Happy New Year!

Terri Reinhart

“What's this?” asked Mo, somewhat sarcastically. She was helping me to go through my stacks of old papers and decide which were to be kept, which would go to the recycling bin, and which would go to the shredder.

Me: “It's a bill from Children's Hospital. I'm never sure how long I'm supposed to keep those things.”

Mo: “It's dated 1994. I think you can throw it out now. Can you tell me again why we are doing this?”

Me: “Sure. It's my New Year's Resolution. A cluttered house is a cluttered mind, you know. I'm getting rid of all those things that have been cluttering up our house. I'm sweeping out the spider webs. Clean 'em up, clear 'em out!

Mo: “Something you haven't done since 1994, it seems. I hate to think how cluttered YOUR mind is.”

Me: “You're supposed to be encouraging me not insulting me.”

Mo: “I'm just giving my opinion. I am an Opinion Fairy, you know.”

Me: “Okay, okay, I got it. Oh, and since you're ready to give your opinion, would you take a look at my other New Year's Resolutions and see what you think?”

Mo: “Sure, hand it over.”

I handed her my paper. She looked at it, then at me, with a slightly bewildered expression.

Mo: “There's nothing on here but a long list of names and another list of words. From this look of this, you have a whole lot more decluttering to do.

Me: “Don't you see? This year, my resolutions aren't things I want to do, they are how I want to be. These are the qualities that I want to work on next year. Those names I've written down are people who show those qualities in such a way that they remind me to work on them myself. Here, look at the first name. Lindy has been my best friend for over 30 years. No matter what is happening in her life, she sits on her front porch every day and recalls everything in her life for which she thankful. That's one of the qualities I want to work on next year, being grateful.”

Mo: “I get it. Lindy helps you to remember to be grateful for all the good things in your life and to see the blessings in your challenges, Marie helps you to remember to be generous and thoughtful, Dave - to be honest and laugh at yourself, Mike – to live in the moment, Andrea – to love without judgement, Eric – to remember those who are less fortunate that you are, Daemon – to keep working on making yourself a better person, John and Coco – to live simply and beautifully... and so on. The list is long.”

Me: “Yeah, it is, isn't it? I'm awfully lucky, aren't I? If we went through the whole list, it would take a week.”

Mo: “I can see why you want to declutter if you are going to have room for all this in your life. Declutter the house, declutter the mind. You know that if you accomplish all this, your New Year's resolution is to become a saint.”

Me: “Nah, see that towards the bottom?”

Mo: “It's your name?”

Me: “Yup. I see that and remember how easy it is to fall down and how to pick myself back up again. I know myself well enough to know that I'm not headed toward sainthood, just humanhood!”

Mo: “And what's this at the very bottom of the list?”

Me: “Oh dear, sorry about the bad handwriting. My meds must have been wearing off when I wrote it. That's Chris, my husband you know. I saved the best for last.”

Mo: “I can't make out what it says. Gotta help me here.”

Me: “It says beautiful. Chris reminds me that I'm beautiful. Can't get better than that.”

Mo: “If you want my opinion, it sounds like 2012 is going to be a good year!”

Me: “Damn right.”

I poured a tiny bit of eggnog in a thimble and added just a couple of drops of Bailey's. We hadn't gotten all the papers organized, but we'd made a good start. I handed the thimble to Mo just as the clock struck midnight.