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Living with Parkinson’s: More Than a Diagnosis

Here’s another post from our friend and Guest Blogger Marc Sherman, who regularly chronicles what he calls his “journey and struggle through the life changes attributed to the onset of Parkinson’s Disease.” in his “But This is the Hand That I Shoot With” blog.

“Parkinson’s isn’t my life. I have Parkinson’s. Why does it have to have to be my life?

By Marc Sherman

The quote comes from the movie, “Love and Other Drugs.”  The movie was both fluff and at times true to life.  The quote “Parkinson’s isn’t my life. I have Parkinson’s. Why does it have to be my life?”  stuck with me, and made me wonder, is it my life?  If so, is it possible for it not to be my life?

I’ll try not to think about Parkinson’s, but I must remember, four times a day, to take my meds. I hate taking Medications.   I went through my college years, straight and sober.  I was run over by a car, during Law School, and got off of the pain killers within 2 weeks.   I don’t like being drunk,  I don’t like being high.  Taking so many medications is anathema to me. I imagine that in this sense it has come to define my life.

I’ll try not to think about Parkinson’s, but it reminds me during my morning and afternoon walks.  I live in New York City.  I was born as a character in a Woody Allen Movie.  As a New Yorker,  I walk.  I walk in Central Park,  I walk on Queens Boulevard,  I walk on Fifth Avenue, and as they say in “On The Town,” I “walk in a hole in the ground.”   I love to walk.   But. I’m walking with my buddy, Parkie.   He tells me, “Your neck is straining, from the posture.”   He tells me, “move your arms, you look like Frankenstein.”  He tells me, “Better rest for five minutes.”  In this sense he is with me, but doesn’t quite define me, because tomorrow, I will walk again.

I now take buses and trains instead of driving.   He has forced me to do that, but because I can still get places, he’s an inconvenience, not my life.

He’s with me at meals.  my dietary habits were forced to drastically change to avoid the GI problems that Parkinson’s causes.

He’s with me as I sleep.  Dreams are vivid and often scary.  Sometimes I even act them out.  He doesn’t sleep.

He has become Harvey to my Elwood P. Dowd.

Have I answered the question?  No.  If pushed to answer, I would state that, “it doesn’t define me.”  What else can I say?  Wouldn’t anything else be admitting defeat?  That is something that I’ve never been willing to do.