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Jeff Jennings: “Despite Parkinson’s – what you can believe, you can achieve”
The ruggedly handsome man you see here is 51 year old Jeff Jennings of Greenville, South Carolina. While Jeff played football in college and competed in distance running (including the NYC Marathon in 1986), his life changed in 1996 when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease at the age of 35.
Since then, as Jeff describes his life— he’s been living on “PST (Parkinsons Standard Time).” While a PD diagnosis might discourage some people— not Jeff!
Today Jeff’s one of of the most prolific and inspirational Parkinson’s bloggers on the Web. Jeff describes blogging as ” great therapy to be able to expose some vulnerabilities, face fears and perhaps bare your soul to good friends, as well as perfect strangers.”
Jeff’s articles cover the broad canvas of his life and chronicle his light-hearted look at a life with Parkinson’s and occasional musings on “How do I live with this disease?”
Reading Jeff’s blog — I’m impressed with his strong spirit, his refusal to be prideful, and his constant optimism to triumph in the midst of adversity including his past adventure of DBS (Deep Brain Stimulation) surgery.
Jeff has written “for exercise therapy to work, there going to be those times (probably many) when a good ration of self discipline will be make all the difference.” He also comments that the mental issues are tougher than the physical ones.
Honoring Jeff’s fighting spirit, the Theracycle Blog is proud to publish this article, written and contributed by Jeff Jennings, titled:
Visualization – The Power To See A Successful Outcome
Visualization & Parkinson’s Disease
By Jeff Jennings
I have Parkinson’s Disease, a scary thought but even scarier reality. Diagnosed in 1996, this nasty affliction can turn your brain to mush and send your mental ‘super highway’ into a tailspin, which few people have been able to recover from, let alone allow for happy and productive lives.
After the initial shock of the diagnosis, denial set in as I looked for other conditions that may fit my symptoms and give me a way out. I spent a long time trying to fit round pegs into square holes, looking for other explanations that could shed light on my situation. But even harder than dealing with the what, was trying to figure out the why. I was thirty-six years young, played college football, ran marathons and taught aerobic classes, there was no time for Parkinson’s Disease, and additionally, I was entering my strong earning years; things were really starting to look up for me.
It was college athletics that turned me on to visualization. In fact, athletics was the culprit of many habits I acquired from the ages of eighteen to twenty-two. One of the most important was passed on to me by a salty old football coach, who being much wiser than his years, shared with me the art of visualizing and all of its benefits.
The concept was simple: what you can believe you can achieve. His contention was that before you could win you had to sincerely believe that being successful was the only outcome. Furthermore, visualization was no stranger to the world’s great inventors as each of them had one major characteristic in common. Before Henry Ford drove a car, the Wright Brothers flew an airplane or cavemen rolled a wheel they had successfully visualized the outcome. Their finished product began as a thought.
So here we are, fifteen years later and although things are far from perfect, I am driven to fight this disease using every ounce of energy God has given me. Some days are good, some days are not so good. But I wake up every morning visualizing a new day and a new beginning. I believe!
Keep on believing, Jeff!
You can meet Jeff on his blog at http://elcid82.blogspot.com/