Frank Words on Living With Parkinson’s

“The smallest deed is better than the greatest intention.” John Burroughs

“Words mean nothing. Action is the only thing. Doing. That’s the only thing.” Ernest Gaines

Introduction: Some blog posts get written in a single setting, and the flow from start to finish is just effortless. By contrast, some blog posts require extensive reading and background work, then translating the information into graphics and text; this can take a few days or more. And then there is this blog post. I started working on the idea before Parkinson’s Awareness Month in April. I continued to sit and think, write, and reformat, and slowly it came together.

Working on this blog post reminded me of Miss Wiley, my Monterey Senior High School English teacher in Lubbock, TX. She was the one teacher I vividly remember; we had a robust like-dislike relationship, but Miss Wiley always had her heart in the right place. I think she would have been pleased with the work presented below. Likely, she would have given it a grade of “C-” for various grammar/syntax/style issues. Still, she would have also remarked, “This was an excellent effort.”

For over 40 years, I composed, submitted (and re-submitted) Abstracts, Manuscripts, Review Articles, Book Chapters, and Grant Proposals. Writing was part of my science life, and I never thought much about my writing style; it was just a big part of the job. Since writing this blog, people have sometimes commented about my writing style and description of the material. I still do not think about how I write or where it comes from; I always remind myself that I was that perpetual “C-” student in Miss Wiley’s English class.

Enclosed are some words I wrote on various topics related to Parkinson’s. The first part is 50-something comments/quotes/words. The second part is merging comments with pictures since I am very much visual. Knowing that many of you read this blog for something other than literary stuff, this will not be a big-time read for you. However, those of you that like prose may enjoy blending a beautiful background photo with words. Then you might enjoy some of this material.

“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.” Jack Kerouac

Life Happens: We are reminded every day that we have Parkinson’s. Every fiber of our existence feels its pull as we try to resist its vice-like grip with all our strength. But in the middle of our Parkinson’s, life is going on full-steam ahead. Life with no boundaries is presented to us each day. At the same time, we live with the framework of Parkinson’s pressing onward each day. So grab hold of life, and enjoy these moments of joy, love, and togetherness for each of you to cherish and remember.

  1. “Always try to do each day that in your future, when you think about it, you’ll be proud of what happened today.” Frank C. Church
  2. “You are still in charge of the script of your life. Your task is to compose the most hopeful and helpful storyline and live it how you want.” Frank C. Church
  3. “Your career path may be like walking on a sandy beach during a windy day at high tide. You may stumble and have a challenging walk, but focus on finding your way, trust your instinct, and maintain the pace. With time and effort, you will clear the beach and find success at work.” Frank C. Church
  4. “If you are still reading the first page in the book of your life, and you are struggling and on hold, keep reading because your life is the whole novel.” Frank C. Church
  5. Life will never play fair but live it well anyway. Life refuses to give you a break. Take what it shares with you, mold it into something useful.” Frank C. Church
  6. “Always remember, your life matters now with Parkinson’s as much as before Parkinson’s. Stay hopeful as you navigate adversity. Stay you despite your Parkinson’s.” Frank C. Church
  7. “Are you living your dreams? Are you happy? Only you hold the answers within. Living life well is hard, but we are designed to survive, thrive, live, and love. Use your innate intelligence to formulate a plan but let your heart lead the way. Trust you.” Frank C. Church
  8. “Wake up each morning with the attitude, desire, and feeling that nothing will stop you today.” Frank C. Church
  9. Be convinced of your chosen path, use resilience to stay on course, and use your innate intelligence to complete the objectives.” Frank C. Church
  10. You are both the canvas and the brush and how you live your life dictates how your life story will be painted.” Frank C. Church

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” Mark Twain

Hope Is Always Possible: Hope is encoded into our DNA. We need hope to breathe with this disorder. We use hope in times of need and distress and consume hope when doggedly tired. And hope can be considered a lifeline in our daily battle against Parkinson’s.

  1. “I start each day with a simple plan: ‘This will be a good day.’ I remain hopeful, not hopeless, positive, not negative, happy, not sad, driven, not complacent, and educated, not naïve.” Frank C. Church
  2. “Each new sunrise is your ticket stub to make someone’s day brighter, happier, and more hopeful.” Frank C. Church
  3. “Working hard to maintain control over your disorder gives you renewed strength, positivity, and hope for the future.” Frank C. Church
  4. “Gratitude promotes the ‘4H Club’ that includes Happy, Healthy, Heartfelt, and Hopeful” Frank C. Church
  5. “Hope is a keyword in your life with Parkinson’s. A heart that feels hope keeps the body strong. A person that stays hopeful sustains their life for better-healthier moments.” Frank C. Church
  6. “We require hope to handle the routine-life adversities of Parkinson’s. There is time; stay hopeful.“ Frank C. Church

“The highest duty and the highest proof of wisdom – that deed and word should be in accord.” Seneca the Younger

Mindfulness Matters: There are times of being in the present moment can stifle your tremor, restore your balance, reduce your stiffness, and you feel almost normal. You can be mindful for many moments, or even a minute can reset your compass. Therefore, calm your mind to calm your Parkinson’s momentarily.

  1. “The current moment was a gift to you. Your life is composed of many such moments. Be mindful of this time. Enjoy it. Embrace it. Live it fully.” Frank C. Church
  2. “Live your life with a prism reflecting rays of hope. Keep your life in the present moment by balancing the past and future. And strive to support others by sharing your courage, compassion, knowledge, and love.” Frank C. Church
  3. “There will always be events in your life that are memorable. Yet, the day-to-day events, the mundane, the usual everyday times will add on and build your life, happiness, and success. Every day, every hour, every minute, they all matter.” Frank C. Church
  4. “We can reflect on today, and you can plan for tomorrow, plus you can remember yesterday. It’s much better to stay positive and go forward.” Frank C. Church
  5. “Mindfulness means you stay within your breath and focus on yourself without remembering the past minute and no planning for the future moment.” Frank C. Church
  6. “Life is ever-changing, with moments of bliss balanced by instances of hurt. Mindfulness cares not about happiness/sadness, past/present, right/wrong, but it demands you seek out the present moment without worry about what’s ahead and without the guilt of what has passed.” Frank C. Church

“I am a poet in deeds–not often in words.” Ian Fleming

Exercise/Physical Activity: The mantra for Parkinson’s should be “Exercise is Medicine.” Simple enough to say, not always as simple to accomplish. But doing something is better than nothing, so the more you do, the better it can get. For example, suppose you can manage some strenuous aerobic exercise during the week. In that case, it will set Parkinson’s back on its heels, and you can start rehabilitating.

  1. “Get up and get going every day. The goal is to do some exercise/physical activity, and your quality of life will immediately improve.” Frank C. Church
  2. “Being physically fit is a choice. Exercise your brain, heart, and body. Do it for your whole life-wellness.” Frank C. Church
  3. “Promise yourself a day, like today, with strenuous exercise (both body and brain). Just do it for the good of you.” Frank C. Church
  4. “A regular aerobic exercise program likely helps to promote the appropriate conditions for the injured brain to undergo neuroplasticity. ” Frank C. Church
  5. The critical point is that most forms of exercise are suitable for anyone with Parkinson’s. So choose an activity you enjoy, and then do it as often as you can exercise. The hopeful goal is that exercising will give you healthier lives, allowing you to negotiate a better life on your terms, not Parkinson’s.” Frank C. Church
  6. “Since receiving my Parkinson’s diagnosis, my opinion of exercise has changed. With Parkinson’s, I’m now exercising as if my life depends on it.” Frank C. Church

“Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much.” Blaise Pascal

Journey of a Lifetime: Our journeys are now linked to Parkinson’s. Our simple goal is better health. The journey is intertwined with set back and difficulty, yet, try to reach for the next horizon. Aim high to fulfill the common goal of a well-lived life successfully.

  1. There’s time left to sing, live, love, work, and manage your disorder. There’s time left in your life to accomplish much if not all. Remain hopeful, mindful, positive, courageous, and persistent. Let our journey continue.”
  2. “You are not alone in life. Trust those who know you and are closest to your world because teamwork can be magical.” Frank C. Church
  3. A happy life is not guaranteed to us, but a big obstacle to happiness is the interference of your negative thoughts. Work hard to stay thoughtful, thankful, and grateful, and the life path will improve.” Frank C. Church
  4. “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 our life path. Stay strong, focused, and persistent. Journey on.” Frank C. Church
  5. “What matters the most in life events is not whether you won or lost (they’ll always be winners and losers) but the thoughtful and caring manner of your effort.” Frank C. Church
  6. “When you encounter a path deemed impossible, your creativity will get you to the top. Likewise, when your disorder is now the obstacle, your resilience will carry you over the finish line.” Frank C. Church
  7. ”Self-determination paves the way for your journey forward. Stay hungry for life, and all will feel your health and happiness.” Frank C. Church
  8. “The journey we are taking will follow many different paths; trust your heart in making major decisions on which path to follow and when to turn.” Frank C. Church

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” Wendy Mass

Medical Condition: We define a medical condition as a disease, condition, or injury incurred by an individual. Our medical condition is named after the individual who first described it. Our common bond is Parkinson’s, our common task is to stay healthy, and our shared hope is that the features of the disorder will be unraveled to provide a path to slow progression.

  1. “Parkinson’s is not my friend. However, your friendship and understanding (empathy) instead of pity (sympathy) will strengthen me. And it will help me deal more positively with this unrelenting disorder.” Frank C. Church
  2. “Your Parkinson’s is not a weakness; it’s a medical condition caused by the loss of dopamine. Strive to adapt, educate, exercise, and stay strong, and you can refocus your life.” Frank C. Church
  3. “Parkinson’s will never stop for a break; you must never give in or give up. If this disorder keeps going, you must keep going even stronger. Stay focused, persistent, and determined.” Frank C. Church
  4. “It is no fun living with Parkinson’s. However, long as I have breath in my lungs and blood in my veins, I will start each day with renewed persistence to take on my disorder.” Frank C. Church
  5. “Strive to keep your body active, your mind engaged, fed with the proper diet, and these will provide you with the essential ingredients to gain leverage on life with Parkinson’s.” Frank C. Church
  6. “These three words, hope-persistence-positivity, have reinforced my courage; they make up a life-jacket that keeps me floating in the ocean’s open waters named Parkinson’s.” Frank C. Church
  7. “Parkinson’s will slowly advance, never retreat. Parkinson’s will never relinquish its stronghold on you without some effort on your part. Successfully navigating life with Parkinson’s takes persistent determination, in other words, tenacity.” Frank C. Church

“When words are both true and kind, they can change the world.” Gautama Buddha

Staying Positive: How one leads their life is their decision. I firmly believe that staying positive lifts the veil of pain from Parkinson’s. I genuinely want to say that remaining positive in the depth of battle will somehow offer countermeasures against Parkinson’s.

  1. “Living with Parkinson’s requires you to adapt to its subtle but progressive changes over a long time; you need to remain hopeful for many different things.” Frank C. Church
  2. “You are always learning. You are always growing. You take positive from negative. You build strength from weakness. Your heart expands as you experience loving relationships. You create hope from moments of doubt. Your character’s strengths positively evolve as you live through your life.” Frank C. Church
  3. “Always remember to be positive. Be thoughtful. Be clear during times of confusion. Be mindful. Always strive to be grateful. Be supportive. Be strong during moments of weakness. Be hopeful.” Frank C. Church
  4. “We must believe we have all the ingredients available to overcome the challenges in our lives.  We must accept that obstacles may exist; but like any speed breaker, the road of life will (hopefully) smooth out just ahead. We must understand that our lives can remain full while we deal with adversity; remember the sun usually follows the summer’s afternoon thunderstorm.” Frank C. Church
  5. “Awake each morning: Each new day renews our life, our contract to keep living.  Strive to live-forward, and always remember that we’re still in the driver’s seat of our world. Live decisively even as we accept the problems from Parkinson’s.” Frank C. Church
  6. Positivity is the key that opens the door into a house without any lights on. Hope is the switch that turns on the lights as you enter that same dark house. Frank C Church

“Without knowing the force of words, it is impossible to know more.” Confucius

Persistence and Perseverance With Parkinson’s: It is easy to say, be persistent against your Parkinson’s. Living your life resisting the pull of something is not easy. However, I believe that staying in the game by showing persistence and perseverance will ultimately help in living with Parkinson’s.

  1. “Perseverance and Parkinson’s (Part 1): Perseverance is more than just a word. It is more than a feeling. It is a response to a life experience.” Frank C. Church
  2. Perseverance and Parkinson’s (Part 2):” It is an attitude you take when you don’t give up. Perseverance enables you to live your life forward. It functions by strengthening your inner self.” Frank C. Church
  3. Perseverance and Parkinson’s (Part 3): Perseverance is a light in the tunnel ahead. It will focus you when the odds defy you. It gives you a better quality-of-life.” Frank C. Church
  4. “Proudly walking in the halls of the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives, I realized that the recognition of my Parkinson’s got me invited here. However, in my mind, being positive, persistent, and hopeful really got me here.” Frank C. Church
  5. “To me, another way of saying this is that persistence is steadfastness. I spend much time staying hopeful and positive in dealing with this disorder. Yet perhaps the best trait to have is to remain persistent.” Frank C. Church
  6. “Your effort must be constant and unwavering when you have an incurable, progressive neurodegenerative disorder. Your persistence in dealing with this minute-by-minute really will make a difference.” Frank C. Church

“Words are sacred. If you get the right ones in the right order you can nudge the world a little.” Tom Stoppard

Merging of Words with Images: I think one can use imagery with words to calm your Parkinson’s. Keeping your brain active is precisely the opposite thing that your Parkinson’s is expecting from you. Stay active mentally, and try to maintain an edge on your cognitive skills. Use this internal wealth of information to keep the condition at bay.

“Words can be twisted into any shape. Promises can be made to lull the heart and seduce the soul. In the final analysis, words mean nothing. They are labels we give things in an effort to wrap our puny little brains around their underlying natures, when ninety-nine percent of the time the totality of the reality is an entirely different beast. The wisest man is the silent one. Examine his actions. Judge him by them.” Karen Marie Moning

Cover Photo Credit to Frank C. Church “Sunset over Bermuda.”

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