Living With Parkinson’s

“If you could get up the courage to begin, you have the courage to succeed.” David Viscott

“Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.” Helen Keller

Introduction: Having gone through a major change in strategy to treat my Parkinson’s (see “Treating Parkinson’s with a Dopamine Agonist: The Ropinirole Taper”), I have returned to re-reading some old blog posts to bolster my courage during this treatment transition time. Furthermore, we have all been living in a hole created by the COVID-19 Pandemic. I turned to writing and reflection as a coping mechanism. Finally, I have been writing a lot more of scholarly peer-reviewed-driven papers over my blog posts, and it was time to re-commit a little more time to the blog.

What is included below are some new comments/quotes related to living with Parkinson’s. Writing helps free up my mind to deal with all of life/disorder issues. The topics covered, I use as guideposts during my daily walk in the presence of Parkinson’s. And for some reason that I do not understand, the other side of my brain likes it a lot more when I pair a thought-with-an-image (which of course, doubles-triples the time it takes to prepare the blog post).

“We are made to persist. that’s how we find out who we are.” Tobias Wolff

Living With Hope:

A Beacon Named Hope
“Hope warms you in the winter, provides light in the dark, bird song in the spring morning, and a cool wisp of breeze in the summer. Your ability to resist Parkinson’s is buoyed by hope.”  Frank C. Church

Live With Hope
“You asked me the other night,
‘How did I feel?’
I replied that I felt great.
My body, my mind, and my thoughts were clear, calm, and in the present moment.
I may stumble but I will not fall.
To live this way requires persistence, clarity of the moment, and bolstered with a foundation supported by hope.”
Frank C. Church

A Complete Day
“Wake up each morning full of hope. Finish each day full of gratitude.” Frank C. Church

Coping With Parkinson’s:

Move Past the Hardship of Parkinson’s
“We all face hardship in our lifetime. When something like Parkinson’s comes around, you need to stand firm and rise above this disorder by giving it all of your strength and resistance.” Frank C. Church

Stay Positive
”Be positive, you can make a difference. Strive for no disease progression and keep working because even a small amount of progress Is still far better than progression. Stay positive.”  Frank C. Church

Daily Mantra
“Your mantra against Parkinson’s should include some combination of these phrases: ‘I will not give up, I will never quit, I will remain mindful, and life is too important to give in to this disorder.’ OK?” Frank C. Church

Love Makes a Difference:

Love is Within You
“Love fuels your soul, yet it can drive you crazy and increase your anxiety. Love can also provide the bandage that permanently heals the wound on your heart.“ Frank C. Church

Love Matters
“The Beatles had it right when they sang ’And in the end,  The love you take. Is equal to the love you make.’  Wear your love on your heart.” Frank C. Church

Staying Healthy:

Exercise is Your Advantage
“If you give it a chance, Parkinson’s will change your life. But you can use exercise to plan a new life-path that will keep you healthy for many years to come. Get busy, get active, and stay that way.” Frank C. Church

Maintain Your Health
“You still control your health, including the path to follow and the response to your disorder. You can still combine the best ingredients to make a salve to help repair the damage from Parkinson’s.” Frank C. Church  

Journey On
“The road of your life will take many paths and go through many intersections. Your life-map will be different from my life-map.  However, we have the same carry-on luggage named Parkinson’s and how it weighs us down will affect the life-path we follow. Stay strong, focused, and persistent. Journey on.” Frank C. Church

Attitude Matters
“Your attitude with Parkinson’s needs you to be steely-eyed determined and focused to recognize the miniscule changes that happen over a long period of time.” Frank C. Church

You Are Still You
“Acknowledge your Parkinson’s. Try not to let it control your daily response to life.  You are still in charge.  Remember, you are still you.” Frank C. Church

Enjoy Today
”Each new morning restarts your life to help manage your Parkinson’s. Each new morning stirs the embers to start a new fire to enable your daily gulp of courage to live strong with your disorder.” Frank C. Church

Be Persistent
”Each day presents an opportunity for Parkinson’s to gain more control.  Your daily persistence helps to block and slow this maneuver.  Keep breathing and living.” Frank C. Church

Excerpts From Some Publications:

Mindfulness Meditation
“Much of our lives are led at a pace where we fret for the future, are remorseful of the past, and, frequently, remain oblivious and out of touch with the current moment. Some experts argue that one needs to practice mindfulness meditation for at least 20 minutes to achieve a positive return.99,100 Other experts would suggest that even if you can do it for 5 minutes, there are rewards for such calming thoughts.101 We reason, if you can focus your mind on the current moment and maintain yourself in that moment for 60 seconds, a transient but a quality and beneficial calmness will be achieved. Centering yourself within the moment and your current environment and surroundings alters your life perspective temporarily, allowing your mind to maintain focus not only on one event but also on an awareness of self.” Excerpt from Hall, Mary-Frances E. and Frank C. Church. “Integrative Medicine and Health Therapy for Parkinson Disease.”  Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation 36.3 (2020): 176-186. 

Golf has the Potential to Reduce Falls for People with Parkinson’s
“The biomechanics of the golf swing supports the concept of strengthening the upper and lower body, increasing the process of balance, enhancing axial mobility, and improving coordination and posture, all of which should help anyone with PD. Golf also has the potential to improve the quality of life for PwP. Although further study is needed, playing golf regularly may be beneficial in reducing the risk of falls in older adults with PD.” Excerpt from Bliss, Rebecca R., and Frank C. Church. 2021. “Golf as a Physical Activity to Potentially Reduce the Risk of Falls in Older Adults with Parkinson’s Disease” Sports 9, no. 6: 72.

Exercise is Medicine
“Regular physical exercise has numerous beneficial health effects in PD, including the impact on the immune system and the potential to reduce neuroinflammation (which would be neuroprotective) and promote neuroplasticity. Persistent moderate-intensity exercise by PwP is a treatment strategy to improve the QoL and likely reduce neuroinflammation. Using more demanding moderate- to high-intensity exercise programs (examples include PWR!Moves, Rock Steady Boxing, Dance for PD, stationary bike, and power-walking with walking poles) [10, 87-89, 90-92, 101-106, 109], with sustained use, could eventually promote neuroplasticity in PwP.” Excerpt from Hall, Mary-Frances E., and Frank C. Church. “Exercise for Older Adults Improves the Quality of Life in Parkinson’s Disease and Potentially Enhances the Immune Response to COVID-19.” Brain Sciences 10.9 (2020): 612. 

Using Vitamin D to Reduce Parkinson’s Progression and to Resist COVID-19 Infection
“Vitamin D may have antiviral properties and play a role in protecting against infections, including respiratory illnesses. Elderly individuals are generally deficient in vitamin D, and people with PD are even more likely to be deficient. Supplementation with vitamin D3 may help improve the motor and non-motor symptoms of PD, thus improving quality of life. Although further study is needed, daily supplementation with 2000–5000 IU/day of vitamin D3 in individuals with PD may be beneficial in reducing the risk and severity of COVID-19.” Excerpt from Hribar, Casey A., Peter H. Cobbold, and Frank C. Church. “Potential Role of Vitamin D in the Elderly to Resist COVID-19 and to Slow Progression of Parkinson’s Disease.” Brain Sciences 10.5 (2020): 284. 

“When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not that last blow that did it, but all that had gone before.”  Jacob A. Riis

Cover photo Image by congerdesign from Pixabay. All other images used are also from Pixabay.

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