Getting Parkinson’s Disease is like being the victim of identity theft. While we are going about our daily lives, something nefarious is lurking in the shadows. It is stalking us, learning our habits, thinking our thoughts, tapping into our spirits, and one day it becomes bold enough to take over our identity. And we look in the mirror, recognize the face, but something is different…really, really different…and wrong…really, really wrong. Initially, we deny anything is wrong. However, we need to accept that we have Parkinson’s so we can take the steps to recover. Acceptance gives us strength!
Parkinson’s hits us hard. My Parkinson’s self could not walk like I used to, could not talk like I used to, could not use the restroom like I used to, could not eat like I used to, could not think like I used to, and my face got frozen over time, and my body ached all the time, and I had no balance, and I had tremors all the time…I shook and shook and shook inside my body all the time. To a stranger, I may have looked like a regular guy. To me, I had lost my identity, my sense of who I was.
In the beginning of November 2009 when I was getting ready for my initial neurologist visit, I thought back on when “things” started going wrong. In February of 2009, I had a terrible pain in my left arm toward my elbow, and I realized I could not squeeze the gas pump or lift a pitcher of water. My response was to start using my right arm more. In March of 2009, a short while after turning 48, I dropped the dog food bowl with the food onto the floor three mornings in a row. I was using my left arm and we have a 7 pound dog, so it was not a heavy bowl with food. I remember thinking that my mother used to drop things and she got Parkinson’s when she was 48. My response was to quickly dismiss that thought and use my right arm and right hand hand for the dog food.
By April of 2009, the pain in my left arm was accompanied by a severe tightness. I became unable to do the morning brocade of Qigong exercises I had been doing for nearly a decade. My response was to stop doing my Qigong with the intention of starting up again after my left arm got better. I will spare you the physical degeneration that took place over the following months leading up to the day in September of 2009 that I realized I had internal tremors. The point I am trying to get to here is that in looking back, not only was I ignoring the signs on the path to Parkinson’s, but I was creating excuses for what was going on…I am pretty certain that this is what they call denial.
Denial is an interesting thing. For the eight months of “things” slowly going wrong with me leading up to tremors setting in, I kept thinking I must have hurt my left arm and I just need to rest it until it gets better. This sounds so ridiculous to me when I write it now and read it on my computer screen. Eight months of recognizable slow deterioration of my physical being and my only “thought” was I must have hurt my arm and I needed to rest it. This is why I say that denial is an interesting thing. It let me pretend that if I ignored my problem long enough, it would go away.
Instead, it stole my identity.
So, how did I get my identity back? Acceptance. Faith. Action. Accepting I had Parkinson’s defeated denial. It meant that I accepted I had the disease and I needed to do something about it. Faith was the unwavering knowledge that I would recover from the disease someday. It meant that I knew the actions I took for my recovery would be worthwhile. Action was the understanding that faith without action is meaningless for Parkinson’s recovery (by definition, one cannot recover from Parkinson’s). It meant that I knew in my heart of hearts and soul of souls that my actions would lead to recovery and that the conventional definition of Parkinson’s was incorrect. I think they also call this idea denial, but this kind of denial, denial that I could not recover from Parkinson’s, was essential in my recovery.
It took nine months of doing my Recipe for Recovery, and I got my identity back. In my 100% symptom free recovery, I got back the identity I had lost years before getting Parkinson’s. I got back the essence of who I am as a person. The Parkinson’s me was gone. The old me who was living life in a manner that it opened the door for Parkinson’s symptoms to come up to the surface was gone. The new me, original-me-essence-of-who-I-am-me, happy-from-the-inside-me, is what was there when the dust settled over two years ago fully recovered from Parkinson’s.
And, the new me, original-me-essence-of-who-I-am-me, happy-from-the-inside-me, is who is still here over two years after fully recovering from Parkinson’s.
Acceptance is very powerful. It gives us the strength to stare down the worst exacerbation of symptoms and say, “I do not care what you are doing, I do not care what you look like, I do not care what others are saying, my faith in my recovery is rock-solid and I FULLY ACCEPT that you are just something I will have to get through on my way to my full recovery. You do not mean anything more than that. I do not have to be afraid of changing symptoms. Fear is defeated by my faith, and with my faith, I can accept whatever comes to me.”
And it is with this level of acceptance that I learned that even the worst pain or stiffness or slowness never lasted more than a day or two. And each time I got to the other side of one of these exacerbation of symptoms episodes, my faith got stronger and stronger, and my resolve got stronger and stronger, and then my faith in my recovery became the reality of my full recovery.
Now it is your turn to get your identity back. Acceptance. Faith. Action. Recovery. You can do this!!!
You are worth it!!!
All my best,
Good morning Howard….I am so very grateful for your consistent and determined support…..it is so heartening for me to know I am not alone in this oft-time interesting, oft-time challenging, never dull journey … the up side is that there is so very much for me to learn throughout…acceptance, tenacity, faith, specific action….self-trust a big part of this too… thank you for keeping me on track again and again….
Acceptance. Faith. Action. Recovery. I can do this!! Thank you so much Howard for your relentless encouragement!
I needed to read and hear your words today Howard.
Blessings to you and the rest of us on this road to recovery…
Meditating on being centered, calm, at peace , the truth of who I am , a balanced body, joy filled, light filled, radiant from the heart, held in the arms of the divine. And so it is.
Howard, thank you for being our continuous beacon out there. Your encouragement is always so timely.
With gratitude and love
Thanks Howard for your powerful insight into “what is wrong with me” Parkinson’s.
You are helping me not focus on symptoms but rather on the joyful, whole person.
It makes a great mantra ‘acceptance, faith, action, recovery!!’.
Love to all,
Great idea for a mantra…..Ainsley!
Thank you Howard your words and inspiration are a light in a clouded day I had today. I appreciate your love and willingness to share and inspire. I too accept gave faith and will keep taking action to recover. Love and care to all of you. Helen
Thank you again for a timely blog. We needed you to reinforce the need for acceptance.
Thanks for sharing………..I thought I had to deny it to fight it…..I think I’ll make more or better progress now. I’m so grateful for you and this website/blog… Trudy
Thanks for this Howard, it’s encouraging.
Would the recipe trigger tremors in other parts of the body which previously was not tremoring, say face and mouth area? Is that something usual to the path of recovery?
It will be good if you can write a blog addressing this in general for us all.
You are welcome Gino. Thank you, and thanks to everybody else for their kind words.
The answers to your questions are yes and yes. If you re-read, Fighting Parkinson’s, and dissecting the disease, part 1 of 4, https://www.fightingparkinsonsdrugfree.com/2012/07/23/fighting-parkinsons-and-dissecting-the-disease-part-1-of-4/, there is an in-depth explanation of why tremors occur.
As blockages in the internal electrical system (nervous system) are being opened, energy is flowing to areas where there has been little or no flow for a while. As a result of little or no electrical flow, tremors in those areas have been non-existent…you need to have electrical flow to have tremors in the first place. Therefore, “new area” tremors when doing the Recipe is not unusual, and there is nothing to be afraid of (just like increasing tremors when doing the Qigong or Standing or Brain Vibration Chanting is no cause for fear). It actually is proof that the Recipe is working. Whenever I felt impulses (or pain, which is an example of unpleasantly feeling impulses) in an area of my body where I had been feeling nothing, I found it to be cause for celebration because it meant my nervous system in that area was not dead, it only was not functioning correctly and I was fixing it with the Recipe. Of course, once the energy is flowing well and the dopamine is flowing well, again here will be no tremors, but this time for healthy reasons.
Please tell your mom to keep up the great work!
Howard, the most engaging thing in here for me is the prospect of finding the “new me” as you describe it – “The new me, original-me-essence-of-who-I-am-me, happy-from-the-inside-me”. It would seem that you found the real you was the original “you” before things built up changing your body physically, mentally and spiritually. This is manifested in the Parkinson’s.
Thank you for continuing to explain, in new and old ways, what is going on here! It sure is good to join others who are discovering more and more on the path to recovery.
I am now seeking the new, original me. The one, I believe, God intended me to be.
thanks for the mantra Howard.