As you know, on Saturday, June 1, 2013, I was scheduled to have my sixth workshop in taking my Parkinson’s Recipe for Recovery™ on the road. This fifth venue of 2013 was Tucson, Arizona and the day was educational! Imagine: 2 of us. That’s right, 2 of us, a woman I am coaching named Gita, and me. It was educational.
First, I digress, then back to educational. On October 3, 2012, I announced taking the Parkinson’s Recipe for Recovery™ on the road with workshops. I felt the need to come to your communities and meet with you personally for a day of recovery where you could meet each other as well. Financially for me, it was going to be a matter of enough people coming to cover my expenses or I would be unable to do the workshops.
I would imagine that this fits under the category of vulnerability. I am not financially independent. My wife works and has health benefits for the family, and my income is from coaching and Parkinson’s Recipe for Recovery™ manual sales. I knew if I could cover my costs of doing the workshops, then all would be okay financially. That occurred with the first four workshops, but not with numbers 5 or 6.
Back to educational. Gita had been out of the country for a number of months and returned about two months ago. I advertised the workshop in the same manner I have advertised the other workshops and Gita belongs to a large Parkinson’s support group in Tucson. She provided my press release and workshop flyer to the head of the support group to send out to the members, and that’s when the first part of the education took place. After hearing nothing back and trying to contact the person, Gita finally heard back — my recovery was “too controversial” and the person was concerned about providing my workshop information to the group.
Here was my response in an email:
Thank you for letting me know that your local contact to a larger Parkinson’s group is so skeptical that she does not want to share with the group that I am doing a workshop on June 1st. I would ask that you please hit the forward button and send this to her, and leave this note to you in it so she will understand why you are forwarding it. Do not copy me on the forwarded email as you should keep her email address private between the two of you.
My name is Howard Shifke, and I understand your skepticism about my Parkinson’s recovery. Many people are skeptical because the doctors say we cannot recover. My neurologist is Juan Sanchez-Ramos, http://health.usf.edu/medicine/neurology/faculty/sanchez_ramos.htm, and he was my mother’s Parkinson’s neurologist for 24 years before she died with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and Dementia in 2007. He diagnosed me, and he found me to be symptom free when I went back for my later follow up visits. I bring my medical records to all of my workshops for people to review. In summary, they reflect:
November 5, 2009 — diagnosis of Parkinson’s. “The patient has the signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s.”
February 4, 2010 — diagnosis confirmed. “The patient has at least stage I Parkinson’s disease.”
August 5, 2010 — symptom free, but diagnosis confirmed again. “My assessment was that his symptoms have resolved. I suspect that his clinical features fluctuate and when he is in a good state of mind he has no symptoms, as in today I could detect no signs or symptoms.”
December 22, 2011 — full recovery, no more Parkinson’s Disease. Here is what my exam results were prior to my neurologist determining I did not have Parkinson’s Disease anymore: “On his exam today he is completely normal. Cranial nerves II through XII are normal. He has excellent facial expression. Normal voice volume. Face is symmetrical. Motor exam reveals supple tone throughout, even with reinforcement I can detect no rigidity. There is no rest tremor or postural tremor. Deep tendon reflexes are normal and symmetrical. Sensory exam is intact to all modalities. Gait and balance are normal. He walks with a normal stride and arm swing.”
I am not asking you to endorse my workshop. You do not know me, and you do not believe my recovery has taken place. However, two other people have fully recovered using my methodology of recovery, and many more around the world are reversing their Parkinson’s.
What I am asking you to do is just share the information and allow those with Parkinson’s to decide for themselves what they wish to do. I do not care if you put a big disclaimer out to the group that expresses your skepticism and that clearly points out that you do not endorse my workshop. That is fine. At least you will be providing people the opportunity to decide for themselves. This is my sixth workshop. Here is how the other 5 went:
I am hopeful that after you click those links and look at the over-100 faces of people with Parkinson’s and their loved ones, you will see that they are filled with hope and faith, and that they feel empowered to do something positive in their lives and their Parkinson’s. I watched my mother decline from a beautiful, loving, caring person, to a mindless, crippled person in a wheelchair. Nobody should have to go that way. I am passionate about getting the message out that it doesn’t have to be that way.
All I am asking you to do is share the information with anybody who has Parkinson’s so that at least they will have the opportunity to decide for themselves. Here is the link with more details about my workshop,
The person declined. That was educational.
About two weeks prior to the workshop, when I still could get a reasonably-priced airline ticket, I discussed with Sally that I felt the need to go to Tucson. I booked my flight, already had paid for my workshop venue, and planned my trip. At best, some people would attend. At worst, I would have 2 days to work one-on-one with Gita. Also, I knew if nobody attended (or even a few), I would have to put some rules on future workshops. On Saturday morning, I went to the venue, and nobody was there…educational.
Educational. Gita and I already had spent most of Friday afternoon together working on her recovery, and we decided to take our two-person workshop to Mount Lemmon, Elevation at the top exceeding 9,000 feet. For a flatlander like me, this was a real education.
We took a break to get out of the car and stretch our legs at about 6,000 feet. Here is Gita, my Tucson workshop attendee at 6,000 feet on Mount Lemmon:
We had lunch at the top of the mountain and spent the day working on her recovery. In the end, it was very educational. My impression is that Gita, much like those who have attended actual workshops, felt a renewed vigor in her fight against Parkinson’s. In the end, she knew she was worth it!
A bit on “Okay” and acceptance. Prior to leaving for Tucson, I had to say “Okay” and accept that nobody might attend the workshop. It does not say anything about my recovery or the validity of my workshops or the validity of your recoveries. It does say a lot about getting people to workshops and it does say a lot about fear. One person, the gatekeeper to a large group of people, was so filled with fear of what the others’ might think for sending out a flyer about a Parkinson’s workshop about recovery, that the one person’s fear stopped all of the other people from getting an opportunity to exercise their own free will in whether to attend or not. One person’s fear blocking everybody’s knowledge. Educational.
My trip ended with “Okay” and acceptance when I arrived in Tampa last night but my luggage did not. My luggage was delivered to my home about 30 minutes ago. Okay!
Educational. What I have learned. My future workshops are a mix of vulnerability and “Okay” acceptance. From this point forward, unless I have a reasonable amount of people pre-registered for my workshops within 2 weeks prior to the workshop that will be upcoming, I will cancel that upcoming workshop and refund the registration cost of those who already had pre-registered. I will do this workshop-by-workshop. This is not to be mean or as a punishment. It is simple economics, mine. I cannot afford to do all of this traveling and pay all of these upfront costs if people will not be attending the workshops.
So, I put it out there to you. If you planning on attending a workshop or cannot attend but think the workshops are a good idea, then I need your assistance in helping me get out the word and letting people know I cannot wait until the last minute for them to register.
I open my heart to all of you, and I am “Okay,” and fully accept however this turns out. I am optimistic that the future workshops will fall into place the way the first five did, and I fully accept that maybe number six turned out this way because I needed to express my vulnerability to all of you.
Thank you for listening. Looking forward to meeting many of you at my next workshop on June 29, 2013 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Click here for details.
You are worth it!!!
All my best,