Where Does Hope Live?

“Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.” Thich Nhat Hanh

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” Desmond Tutu

Hope Defined: As a noun, hope is “a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.” As a verb, hope is “wanting something to happen or be the case.”

For me, hope defined is the lighthouse shining bright on a starless beach at night. Hope is also a feeling when you read a science paper on Parkinson’s, that it’s a step in the right direction.

Hope in Parkinson’s Research and Treatment: Fifty years ago, dopamine was linked as the missing ingredient in Parkinson’s.  This led to the use of levodopa and an arsenal of dopamine agonists.  Quality of life for Parkinson’s patients dramatically improved.  New understanding has been gained for why levodopa fails over time. Recently, patches with drug have been used that release a constant amount of drug, leveling/regulating the dose/hr/day.  Genetic researchers have found several genes that have a role in Parkinson’s. Better animal models are being developed to more closely mimic human Parkinson’s. Combining these advances in genetics with animal models could provide a new platform to better understand the neurodegenerative processes in Parkinson’s.  Several new drugs are ready (or nearly ready) for human clinical trials, including some that are neuroprotective, use of nerve growth factors, and even immunotherapy [alpha-synuclein antibody treatment (Prx-002), a topic I’m currently reading about and will update soon]. And as hoped, small steps have been reported in gene therapy and stem cell therapy in Parkinson’s.

Hope Lives In Our Music: Regardless of the decade or type of music we listen to, so much of it is filled with hope, staying the course, being resilient and having perseverance. Here are a couple of examples:

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers in “Won’t Back Down” sing about never giving up, no matter the challenge.

Well, I won’t back down / No, I won’t back down / You can stand me up at the gates of hell / But I won’t back down. / No, I’ll stand my ground, won’t be turned around / And I’ll keep this world from draggin’ me down

Bon Jovi in “It’s My Life” sings about acceptance and living life on your own terms.

It’s my life / It’s now or never / I ain’t gonna live forever / I just want to live while I’m alive / (It’s my life) / My heart is like an open highway / Like Frankie said / I did it my way / I just wanna live while I’m alive / It’s my life…

Fleetwood Mac in “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow” sings and reminds us tomorrow is another new day.

Don’t stop, thinking about tomorrow / Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here / It’ll be, better than before / Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone…

The Beatles in “Let it Be” sing about finding the answers from within and that light follows darkness.

And when the night is cloudy / There is still a light that shines on me / Shine on until tomorrow, let it be… / Oh there will be an answer, let it be… / Let it be, let it be / Ah let it be, yeah let it be / Whisper words of wisdom, let it be…

Where Does Hope Live? Hope is in each of us.  For those of us with Parkinson’s, we remain hopeful for new treatments, advances and one day ahead, a cure.  But for now, we use courage and determination, mixed with a will to survive, and all held together by a glue we call hope. Stay strong, stay hopeful, stay you.

“There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something tomorrow.” Orison Swett Marden

*Cover photo credit: http://www.hdwallpaperscool.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/hd-wallpapers-beach-sunset-beautiful-desktop-widescreen-backgrounds.jpg

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