World Parkinson’s Day 2022: Hope Has Not Been Canceled

“There is no medicine like hope.” Orison Swett Marden

“If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today” Nhat Hanh

Introduction: I have been putting the 100th change/addition/modification to a manuscript that was just submitted for publication. The manuscript concerns the role of SARS-CoV-2 (aka, COVID-19) to promote neurodegeneration in Parkinson’s [Sorry, it is an ‘old rule’ of mine never to share too much about an unpublished manuscript before it is accepted for publication]. And then I remembered that Monday was World Parkinson’s Day.

“Hope is passion for what is possible.” Soren Kierkegaard

Why am I so Busy?: And again, it seems there is no time available right now to write on my blog. So just teaching my undergraduate level pathobiology course and submitting some papers for publication (hopefully). Also, just trying to retire (and all the university-derived steps), buy a house (the big time-drain and super-stressful situation-maker), and exercise more frequently, and I will remain forever a beginning guitar player unless I make time to practice. In addition, I am trying to help my Comp Sci student group work on our interactive mindfulness meditation project (stay tuned for these results because it could be exciting). I am also trying to recruit a graphics artist for a book I’ve got an idea for dealing with Parkinson’s. And yes, I am trying to kick-start my non-profit for Parkinson’s. Finally, trying to make time for Susan and our personal life and making time to play golf in the spring. First, however, it is essential to say a few words about World Parkinson’s Day.

“What oxygen is to the lungs, such is hope to the meaning of life.” Emil Brunner

A Salute to World Parkinson’s Day: I always have fun making posters and figures/schematics for my science and blog. Therefore, I made a 5-panel poster to celebrate World Parkinson’s Day, even if it’s a few days late. In reality, for anyone with Parkinson’s, every day could be considered World Parkinson’s Day. We observe, commiserate, and live through it, and our life is led as strongly as possible despite this disorder.

Having a day in the world to highlight this neurodegenerative disorder is definitely appropriate. But, still, after the band stops playing, if you had Parkinson’s today, you’ll have it tomorrow too. We need encouragement, support, well-wishes, and friendship/love because tomorrow is always too near. So this tribute to World Parkinson’s Day resides around hope and staying hopeful.

Regarding the day picked for World Parkinson’s Day- We celebrate Parkinson’s Awareness month in April since it is the birth month of James Parkinson. And we celebrate World Parkinson’s Day on April 11, to coincide with James Parkison’s birth on April 11, 1755.

Regarding the Red Tulip– The red tulip has been associated with Parkinson’s awareness since the 1980s. A Dutch tulip grower/designer, who had Parkinson’s, developed a red and white tulip and named it “Dr. James Parkinson.”

Regarding Parkinson’s disease- More than two hundred years ago in 1817, Dr. James Parkinson published “An Essay On The Shaking Palsy,” which was the first medical document to fully describe Parkinson’s disease  (please click here to read a full-length version of Parkinson’s essay). After reading the essay, you may recognize some features of the patients’ he observed and then described in detail. He first reported/described the disorder, from which, years later, his name was given to the disease we call Parkinson’s disease. He was a very unassuming man, and when a noted neurologist read his essay and then recognized the disorder in his own patients, he declared they name the disorder in honor of James Parkinson.

“When you do nothing you feel overwhelmed and powerless. But when you get involved you feel the sense of hope and accomplishment that comes from knowing you are working to make things better.” Maya Angelou

Hope Has Not Been Canceled: It is easy to believe that hope is gone, kaput, canceled in our mixed-up world. Just the COVID-19 pandemic alone has been a long 2.5-years. And more and more people are talking, okay, we’re past the pandemic, bring on the endemic. Geez, I wish no one gets infected by SARS-CoV-2, let alone someone with Parkinson’s. Pile on the massive inflation we’re currently experiencing. The war in Ukraine and our violent society in general. It is easy to think about what’s happening and what’s going on? Have we no hope anymore? It is almost as if the world has just canceled hope for a while.

But if you read between the headlines, you still find people are helping other people. People still care and do great things for their societies and world-around-them. You see great efforts of love and friendship being given daily. So it makes you pause and remember, wait, hope is still here; it has just been hidden from view and over-shadowed from us by the tremendous amount of bad news and life in general.

You need to make your hope, train your brain to relax, and not be so stressed out by your Parkinson’s. There is a vast world around us. There are people working day and night to understand the mechanism of how Parkinson’s exists, and I can assure you they have not given up hope yet. Drug companies are seeking that magic bullet to help treat symptoms (both motor and non-motor related); they have hope.

But what is most important is the hope provided by your caring family, friends, valued ones, and your microcosm. Keep dreaming, keep hope alive. Try to reflect on what is positive in your life. Don’t get bogged down by the small stuff, and yes, Parkinson’s will want you to focus on the little mundane things to keep you confused. Stay well-grounded, but keep hoping for everything to work better, to last longer. Hope has not been canceled. Bring it up every new morning. What hope is in your mind right now?

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

Here are some quotes that deal with hope. Read one a day. Read them all every day. Then, put hope back on your game plan, enjoy, and stay hopeful:

“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” Epicurus

“What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise” Oscar Wilde

“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.” Anne Lamott

“Keep believing in brighter days, finding ways for your dreams and wishes to come true. Giving you hope that is as certain as the sun, giving you strength of serenity as your guide.” Douglas Pagels

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” Albert Einstein

“When you have lost hope, you have lost everything. And when you think all is lost, when all is dire and bleak, there is always hope.” Pittacus Lore

“However dark our lot may be, there is light enough on the other side of the cloud.” Horace Bushnell

“The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.” Barbara Kingsolver

“No matter how dark the moment, love and hope are always possible.” George Chakiris

“We always hope, and in all things it is better to hope than to despair.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

“A strong mind always hopes, and has always cause to hope.” Thomas Carlyle

“For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.” J. R. R. Tolkien

Cover photo credit image by Andreas Lischka from Pixabay

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