I have received many emails of very positive feedback regarding last week’s post, “Fighting Parkinson’s, and ‘okay.'” Also, there were a few comments posted, so if you have not seen them, please click back to that post and read what other Parkinson’s sufferers had to say; it may help you, too. For those of you having a hard time looking at the day-to-day Parkinson’s issues and saying “okay,” I have some things to offer today that may help you put “okay” in a better perspective.
Going back to the last post, “Okay” is the word I have come to use to denote acceptance followed by dealing with the issue and working toward a solution. Prior to that, I used “okay” to acknowledge that something had occurred. Most of the time, this acknowledgment did not come with a solution to solve whatever I was “okaying” about…mostly, it was just an acknowledgment with a tacit acceptance. Here is my explanation as it applied to me prior to realizing I had Parkinson’s (September 2009).
In February of 2009, I had a pain in my left arm toward the inside of my elbow…”okay.” (Thought: maybe I hurt my left arm; I will rest it).
In February of 2009, I no longer had the strength in my left hand to squeeze the pump at the gas station or to lift the water pitcher…”okay.” (Thought: I was correct that I hurt my arm; I will rest it).
In March of 2009, I picked up the dog food bowl with my left hand and dropped it on the floor three days in a row…”okay.” (Thought: I needed to remember to use my right arm and hand more and rest my left).
In April of 2009, I developed a pain in my upper arms when I was doing my morning Qigong exercises…”okay.” (Thought: I need to take a break from doing Qigong).
In April of 2009, the pain in my upper arms prevented me from putting either arm under my pillow when I slept…”okay.” (Thought: This will probably go away once I take a long enough break from doing Qigong).
This is a long list, so I will stop here. The point I am trying to make is we did not get Parkinson’s the day our neurologist said, “You have Parkinson’s Disease.” Every person with whom I have spoken tells me that they feel that they had Parkinson’s 2-3 years (and some longer) before going to the neurologist and hearing the words, “You have Parkinson’s Disease.”
This is a really important point. People have told me about having had Essential Tremor for years before somebody said, “I think you have Parkinson’s Disease, you should see a neurologist.” And, after seeing the neurologist and hearing the words, “You have Parkinson’s Disease,” they felt like their whole world had fallen apart. One person told me, “I could have lived my whole life with the shaking of my Essential Tremor, but now that I’ve been told I have Parkinson’s Disease, I feel like this is the beginning of the end.”
Obviously, for me to have gone through months of watching my body gaining pain while losing physical abilities, and for these people to go through years of Essential Tremor like it was no big deal, we all must have had the ability to say a tacit “okay” to the things that were going on in life and not let certain physical ailments stop us from living.
So, why do these words, “You have Parkinson’s Disease” make us forget the simple word “okay” and prevent us from living? I would imagine it is because the words, “You have Parkinson’s Disease” are followed by the words, “It is not curable.” I hope by now you have figured out that I do not believe “It is not curable.” Quite frankly, I am very satisfied to be symptom free. I really do not care what they call it or what their opinion of curable and incurable is.
However, think about this: Wasn’t every major disease incurable until somebody recovered? And then more people recovered and more and more and more, and then one day, somebody said, “This disease is curable.” But, until the day that somebody of great authority announced “This disease is curable,” the medically acceptable thing to tell patients would remain, “It is not curable.”
What I am asking you to do here is to take an honest look at yourself and think back to all of the things you knew were wrong with you prior to the day you heard the words, “You have Parkinson’s Disease,” and ask yourself if you merely shrugged them off with a tacit “okay.” A tacit “okay” that meant something to the effect of, “I know this is not normal, but it is not such a big deal, so I will deal with it as part of my daily life.”
Now, while you still are feeling how you felt when you looked at the physical ailments leading up to your diagnosis with a tacit “okay,” I want you to look at words, “You have Parkinson’s Disease” and give them a resounding “OKAY!” This is the “okay” discussed last week, the “okay” that says, “I accept the situation as it is, right here, right now. What is my solution? What am I going to do about it, right here, right now?”
So, you have Parkinson’s…”okay!” What are you going to do about it, right here, right now? Why not say, “okay,” get on your path to recovery, and stay on your path to recovery until you recover. Aren’t you worth it?
All my best,