“Really?”you might say. I thought we were not going to go all rainbows and butterflies? Parkinson’s is a gift? Someone needs to call bullshit……Well,
you wouldn’t be entirely wrong. Let’s start there. It’s certainly not all a gift. Take Dystonia. It’s anything but a gift. In fact it’s very much a bitch. Clinically, Dystonia can accompany Parkinson’s and in the foot it is “an uncontrollable and often painful muscle contraction which causes a twisting or turning of the foot.” For me, this shows up about ½ mile into every run and will continue with various degrees of intensity for the entire run. I think of it as that drunk uncle that shows up to every family gathering and just seems to have that ability to nose his way into every conversation and successfully offend everyone. (FYI not representative of my actual uncles 😀) So being very real, this currently bothers me more than my concerns for my future. Probably because it’s happening right now and is challenging my ability to do something I would otherwise be capable of doing. So yeah, that sucks. It also pisses me off and I can and will work around uncle Dystonia and accomplish my goals. Not as fast as I would otherwise be capable of, but at this point who really cares about race times.
Speaking of which, that’s the gift! Did you miss it? I no longer care about the BS that just doesn’t matter. I heard an analogy the other day that I think fits. If you or I were to get into a car accident and it was a simple fender bender with no injuries and only minor damage, I’d bet neither of us would make any real changes to the way we drive. Now, flip the script. If it were a serious accident where the car was totaled and someone was hurt, I’d bet we would reflect deeply on how we drive and we would be willing and motivated to make radical changes to better our driving. Well, on May 4th, Parkinson’s T-boned me. It has caused me to finally be willing to make a serious effort to live in a way that is more aligned to what I know in my heart to be who I am. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not currently living some wild life completely out of line with my value system. But I, like many people, feel the tension of conflicting priorities that pull at my time I plan to spend with my family, my wife, my time I want to commit to my church and even my quiet time with GOD. I think that most of the stresses in life are self-inflicted because we regularly allow the priorities of the world at large to pull us away from the things we really know are important. Which, over time, creates a natural tension. We (or at least me) rationalize this crap as being important because (as an example) we’ll say its “work related.” Let’s call it what it really is…. “self-importance.” Yes, that email on Sunday during the family cookout has to be answered right now. See, that’s just how important I am. Yeah that’s a joke. Well a funny thing happens when your future suddenly becomes uncertain. Right now REALLY matters. Screw the past. It’s already happened. You can’t change it and you can’t fix it. You can only learn from it and move on. The future? Well, I hate to break it to you…yours is as uncertain as mine. The only thing within our providence is right now, today. I used to have a pastor that would say….You want to make GOD laugh, tell him your plans.
So that’s it. I am lucky because Parkinson’s has provided two very important gifts. 1st I have a near, constant reminder (a trembling left hand) that the only thing that is really important is how I’m living right now. 2nd I have uncle Dystonia to remind me that there will always be obstacles to overcome and I will be stronger for it.
Consider joining me this year as I tackle the Great8. An endurance challenge with the sole purpose to raise awareness of these issues and to help fund further research to cure Parkinson’s Disease.