Parkinson’s: Don’t Look Back

“Now, be brave and don’t look back. Don’t look back.” Shmi Skywalker

“Don’t look back, you can never look back.” Don Henley

Introduction: In the mid-1970s, Boston erupted into our radios with their thunderous rock-sound of music. The well-known story of the MIT-educated genius-engineer, Tom Scholz. He did everything in the basement of his house, recorded and played every instrument on their first album, wrote every song including the lyrics, and did everything but sing lead vocals, which Brad Delp aptly did.

The song “Don’t Look Back” was the first hit off their second album. The theme to the song is optimistic about what lies ahead, “Don’t look back, ooh, a new day is breakin’ / It’s been too long since I felt this way / I don’t mind, ooh, where I get taken / The road is callin’ today is the day’.” And the theme for this blog post is don’t look back in the presence of Parkinson’s.

“Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.” Satchel Paige

Theme #1, Don’t Look Back by Trying to Figure out What Caused Your Parkinson’s: Do you remember getting your diagnosis? It it etched in my mind, my Neurologist said, “I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news. The good news is I can explain everything that has been happening to you the past few years. The bad news is you have Parkinson’s disease.” In reality, it was somewhat of a relief that my medical issues had a name, Parkinson’s.

Then we kept talking. We talked about my career as a biomedical scientist, more specifically, a protein biochemist. My thoughts went to years of laboratory research, which included too many toxic chemicals, poisons, heavy metals, super acids, carcinogens, mutagens, and nerve-gas compounds. The list seemed endless (see note at the end). But the list of experiments we did in the name of understanding how protein functions and how it contributes to the biological role in the blood coagulation system concerned me.

My Neurologist looked at me, and simply said, “You cannot look back, you cannot figure it out, and if you did, what would you do?” He did have a point. What difference fretting over experimental protocols, aiming blame at me, and very likely not the cause of my Parkinson’s. Remember, we did have safety protocols for these experimental procedures, and I was careful, not careless.. And then thinking to Boston, “I can tell there’s no more time left to criticize / I’ve seen what I could not recognize / Everything in my life was leading me on / But I can be strong / Oh, yes I can.”

“I don’t look back. I’m like a shark – I only look forward.” Rita Rudner

Theme #2, Don’t Look Back and Mindfulness: When one looks back, it can bring sadness and depression (sometimes), while looking forward may generate anxiety (at times). Knowing you have a diagnosis of Parkinson’s, your cup may be filled both with depressing and anxious thoughts/feelings. I know, it’s a complete and complex cupboard. Moreover, it’s not an easy path to follow, but one can follow steps to help (here is a link to several past blog posts, click here).

Being mindful of the present moment helps remove the past pain and prevents the anxious future. Focus your attention to now, today. As a result, you are less concerned about what happened before and are less focused on future anticipatory anxiety.

I am not saying forget, deny or not deal with your Parkinson’s. Not at all. 

I suggest you live for today the best you can with your disorder. It was here yesterday and will be here tomorrow. However, live now, for today. Use mindfulness to focus on what is happening now; it matters more. Think to Boston, “It’s a bright horizon, ooh, and I’m awaken / I see myself in a brand new way / The sun is shinin’, ooh, the clouds are breakin’ / ‘Cause I can’t lose now, there’s no game to play.”

“Don’t turn around. Don’t look back. Keep moving forward. Keep pushing. The pot of gold is at the end of the rainbow, not the beginning.” Ziad K. Abdelnour

A Closing Thought: Don’t look back because today is here. Live with hope, strength, and positivity.

“Don’t look back, never look back. How often do people tell themselves that after an experience that is exceptionally good (or exceptionally bad?)? Often, I suppose. And the advice usually goes unheeded. Humans were built to look back; that’s why we have tat swivel joint in our necks.” Stephen King

Boston- Don’t Look Back

Don’t Look Back (music and words by Tom Scholz)

Don’t look back, ooh, a new day is breakin’
It’s been too long since I felt this way
I don’t mind, ooh, where I get taken
The road is callin’, today is the day

I can see, it took so long just to realize
I’m much too strong not to compromise
Now I see what I am is holding me down
I’ll turn it around
Oh, yes, I will

I finally see the dawn arrivin’
I see beyond the road I’m drivin’

It’s a bright horizon, ooh, and I’m awaken
I see myself in a brand new way
The sun is shinin’, ooh, the clouds are breakin’
‘Cause I can’t lose now, there’s no game to play

I can tell there’s no more time left to criticize
I’ve seen what I could not recognize
Everything in my life was leading me on
But I can be strong
Oh, yes I can

I finally see the dawn arrivin’
I see beyond the road I’m drivin’
Ooh, far away, I’m left behind, left behind

Oh, the sun is shining
And I’m on that road

Don’t look back, ooh, a new day is breakin’
It’s been so long since I felt this way
I don’t mind, ooh, where I get taken
The road is callin’, today is the day

I can see, it took so long just to realize
I’m much too strong not to compromise
Now I see what I am is holding me down
I’ll turn it around
Oh, yes I will

I finally see the dawn arrivin’
I see beyond the road I’m drivin’
I’m far away and left behind

Don’t look back

Don’t look back

Don’t look back

Don’t look back

Note: Separately, I also remember as a proud homeowner, I killed the weeds growing in the driveway and other places with “Roundup.” And yes, I know, the active chemical is glyphosate, which can contribute to Parkinson’s. Did I wear gloves, did I wear a mask to use It? Don’t remember. But this is for another blog post, another day.

Photo Cover Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

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