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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.

Some Thoughts on Awareness Month

Terri Reinhart

One step out of the store and I knew I was in trouble. I had no idea where I had parked my car. I’m not really getting forgetful, I just had a lot on my mind. I had just come from talking with a social worker and, finally, was feeling reassured about my health insurance. Maybe all those Humpty Dumpty pieces will go back together again, after all.

At that moment, however, knowing this wasn’t helping me to find my car. As I stood there, looking puzzled, a man walked up and looked at me. Was it so obvious I was lost? I guess so. I confessed. I had forgotten where I’d parked. I felt silly, but the man just smiled and asked what kind of car it was. I blanked out completely. After a pause, I pointed to one closest to me and said, “It’s shaped like this one, but it’s dark red.” He nodded, glanced over and said, “That Nissan Rogue over there?” YES! That was it!

It wasn’t until he was walking away that I saw the telltale stiff walking, no arm swing, and tremor in his right hand. I’d had an encounter with another person with PD and neither of us were aware of it, at least not while we were talking together.

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I recently received a lovely honor for my blog. It is listed as one of the Top Ten Real Life Parkinson’s Blogs. What I love best is the description:

“Terri Reinhart’s blog, Studio Foxhoven, is far from ‘a blog about Parkinson’s disease’. Rather, it is a frank, honest, and often humorous journal of any and every aspect of her life that she deems worthy of writing about. It just so happens that some of those aspects are, in part, shaped by Parkinson’s, with which she was diagnosed in 2007. “ from My Therapy App blog .

Over the years, I find myself writing less about Parkinson’s and more about life. It works for me. It’s not so interesting to write just about my Parkinson’s anymore. My PD and I have gotten to know each other well enough, it’s old hat. There are a lot of new things in my life right now and I don’t want to limit myself in what I write. I’m grateful the award site appreciated my attitude, too.

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Have you ever heard of Sjögren’s Syndrome? Or Relapsing Polychondritis? Or Dandy-Walker Syndrome? How about Mast Cell Activation Disorder? Did you know April is also Sjögren’s Syndrome Awareness Month? These are rare disorders, but I happen to know someone with each of these challenges. I hope you are curious enough to look them up.

I know we need to spread awareness of Parkinson’s disease. We are somewhat privileged, though, and it’s important to remember we have some very big name people helping our cause: Michael J Fox, Billy Connolly, Alan Alda, Linda Ronstadt, Neal Diamond. .. to name a few. You might have heard about Sjögren’s Syndrome from tennis champion, Venus Williams, who also has this diagnosis. The other syndromes aren’t connected with anyone famous, so unless you’ve known someone personally with one of these, this is probably the first time you’ve heard about them.

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April is also National Mental Health Month, National Autism Awareness Month, Irritable Bowel Syndrome Awareness Month, Women’s Health Care Month, Stress Awareness Month … and many more like National Poetry Month, National Fair Housing Month, and National Soft Pretzel Month. It’s also National Humor Month.

With so many many things to be aware of, it’s difficult to see how anyone can remember them all. I’ve looked ahead to May and I’m overwhelmed already! May is almost here and brings with it National Correct Your Posture Month. National Stroke Awareness Month, and National Asparagus Month. There’s one nice one arriving: National Date your Mate Month. I’m putting it on the calendar.

It’s not May yet and there’s lots I need to be aware of this month…starting with Where Did I Park My Car. Is there anyone famous out there who has this challenge?