Fighting Parkinson’s, What’s Your Attitude?

If you have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s, you have been informed, something to the effect of, that you have a progressively degenerative disease that negatively impacts your motors skills, that they do not know what causes the disease, but that they do know that there is no cure and that you cannot get better, only worse, so the medications do not help you recover because recovery is not possible, but instead, they help you feel a little better while you get worse.

What’s Your Attitude? Do you feel like you have lost control of your life to Parkinson’s?

I was so struck by something Socrates tells a young Dan in Dan Millman’s Way of the Peaceful Warrior that the message sits as a daily reminder next to my screen every day: We Can Control Efforts, Not Outcomes.

What’s Your Attitude? What if you shifted your attitude from “Parkinson’s is controlling me” to “I am controlling my Parkinson’s!” And how do you do that — by controlling your efforts. Focus on the journey, not the destination; your efforts on the journey are the parts you can control.

As I was working on doing the things in my recipe for recovery, which ultimately resulted in my recovery, I began to realize that except on some occasions, I did not feel better. Over time, doing the same thing day in and day out while seeing little or no results required a lot of faith and a strong belief that I was healing from deep within.

Then it hit me that I had my attitude pointed in the wrong direction. My attitude each day for a while was guided by the answer to this question: “Am I feeling better today than I felt yesterday?” Most of the time, the answer was “No!”

One morning, I looked at Sally and said, “Although I feel pretty bad, things seem to have leveled off. You know, if I could go through the rest of my life not feeling any worse than I feel right now, I could live with this. I expect to recover some day, but until then, I could live okay like this.”

At that point, it hit me: this is a progressively degenerative disease and I am not feeling worse, so I must be getting better from deep within. For me, there was no other answer.

What’s Your Attitude? Mine took a huge overhaul. My attitude became guided by the answer to this question: “Am I feeling worse today than I felt yesterday?” Almost always, the answer was “No!” A glorious “No!” After a while, a resounding “No!” Ultimately, a defiant “No! I do not feel worse, so I must be getting better!” And I was!

What’s Your Attitude?

All my best,

Howard

 

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