I have heard from a number of people lately that they are receiving pressure from family, friends, and/or neurologists to begin taking medications or increase the number of medications or the dosages of medications, and it is beautifully packaged as “the medications will improve the quality of your life.” I would imagine that none of us want somebody outside of us telling us how do define “the quality of our life.” So why are you considering doing something you decided in your heart you do not want to do as a result of somebody else telling you it will improve the quality of your life?
Here is an excerpt from a post I did three years ago on May 10, 2010, eight months into doing the Recipe:
“I have rigidity in my arms, legs, and upper back into my shoulders. Last week, a friend asked me to explain my rigidity so he could get a better sense of what I am experiencing.
1. My arms — the next time you sit down to eat, pick up some food with your utensil, and while holding your utensil just above the plate or bowl, flex and tighten every muscle in your arm from your shoulder to the grip on the utensil. While maintaining this, try to get the utensil with the food to your mouth. My arms are tight like this all the time.
2. My legs — stand as straight as you can and then put a little bend in your knees. Next, flex your calves and thighs. Now, try to walk. Or do this in front of the stairs and see if you can walk up the stairs without holding on. When you add the symptom of very poor balance to the formula, you can see why leaning forward when walking and holding on when going up the stairs are commonplace among those fighting Parkinson’s. My legs are tight like this all the time.
3. My upper back — it is tight and hurts all the time. I really do not have a good example for you to emulate.
Having a positive attitude is the key to everything. My mind and body have accepted the pain, so I am not consumed by it every waking moment. Deciding every day that Fighting Parkinson’s drug free is a fight worth fighting is what keeps me going. Quite frankly, getting to spend time with Sally and the children to celebrate Mother’s Day yesterday is really what keeps me going.”
Unless they are respectful of the choices you have made in how to treat your Parkinson’s, family, friends, and neurologists ONLY look at numbered paragraphs 1, 2, and 3. Their conclusion: Howard had a terrible quality of life.
I look at the paragraph at the end:
“Having a positive attitude is the key to everything.” Even with paragraphs 1, 2, and 3, I kept a positive attitude. This is a glorious quality of life.
“My mind and body have accepted the pain, so I am not consumed by it every waking moment.” I had learned that acceptance mitigated pain. This is a glorious quality of life.
“Deciding every day that Fighting Parkinson’s drug free is a fight worth fighting is what keeps me going.” I learned that my my faith in my recovery was stronger than other people’s opinions of what I should be doing about my Parkinson’s. This is a glorious quality of life.
“Quite frankly, getting to spend time with Sally and the children to celebrate Mother’s Day yesterday is really what keeps me going.” I learned that the people in my life, and my own life, were so much more important that Parkinson’s symptoms. This is a glorious quality of life.
What you may find hard to believe is that one month later, on June 12, 2010, I was fully recovered. Had I let other people decide what I needed to do to improve the quality of my life — those who were just staring at my symptoms and telling Sally and me that I needed to come to my senses and take the medications, and that clearly what I was doing was not working — had I listened to them…we would not be having this discussion. How sad for all of us.
If you want to improve the quality of your life, believe in yourself above all, and know in your heart and soul that you, and only you, should decide what are the factors that determine your quality of life. I learned a lot of things in my recovery, and being with my Higher Power in each moment helped me have so much faith in my recovery that the other people’s opinions of what I should be doing about my Parkinson’s became inconsequential, and the symptoms became inconsequential as well.
And through this, I learned compassion, for myself and for others. I was not upset with anybody who was offering me their opinion of what I should be doing. In their mind, they were trying to help me. So, I had compassion for them as I knew when I did not do what they wanted, they suffered a little.
Here is another view of what is the quality of your life. It is entitled, “Your state of Peace & Joy is the Quality of your Life:”
In the end, the quality of your life is a choice. In the end, you must take responsibility for the choices you make. In the end, you are the one who lives with the consequences of your choices. Doesn’t it make sense, then, that you should be be the one to define the quality of your life?
If you still are on the fence because you have this uncontrollable compulsion to “make the other people happy even to your own detriment,” then before you do what they want, go to Google and type in the name of the medication followed by the words side effects. Read a few reputable website’s explanations of the side effects of what is being recommended to you, and ask yourself this question: “When I am experiencing all of these side effects, will I have improved the quality of my life?”
The quality of your life is a choice. Why not make it YOUR CHOICE!
You are worth it!!!
All my best,