Fighting Parkinson’s, and the power of acceptance

Getting Parkinson’s Disease is like being the victim of identity theft. While we are going about our daily lives, something sinister 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 that anything is wrong. However, we need to accept that we have Parkinson’s so we can take the steps to recover. Acceptance gives us this power!

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 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. 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 being incurable 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 the Parkinson’s Recipe for Recovery®, and I got my identity back. In my medically documented 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 had 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 six years ago cured 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, my being cured from Parkinson’s.

Now it is your turn to get your identity back, your new you, original-you-essence-of-who-you-are-you, happy-from-the-inside-you. Acceptance. Faith. Action. Recovery. You can do this!!!

You are worth it!!!

All my best,

Howard

 

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28 Responses to Fighting Parkinson’s, and the power of acceptance

  1. Dawn says:

    Dear Howard,
    It is rightly said on acceptance for our faith to act. I have right hand and right leg tremors which I try to hide most of the time. We, as PD sufferers, have a strong willpower unlike others. That’s the reason we are able to tolerate the brunt of this disease.
    Regards,
    Dawn

  2. Luke M in the Big D says:

    Thank you, as always, Howard, for your insight, positivity, and guidance…. ALWAYS at the exact right time!
    My fellow Warriors, whenever I want to feel sorry for myself, I remember a quote from Winston Churchill … Never, never, never give up!!
    It’s the weekend folks, enjoy,, enjoy!!
    Wooooooo Hoooooooo (for Karen xx)

    • Karen in Ireland says:

      Great to see you posting Luke. Thanks for the woooooo hoooooo made me smile. Hope you doing great my friend.xx

  3. Deanna says:

    Thank you so much! This is exactly what I needed to hear today!
    Deanna Iskowe

  4. paul sumner says:

    As ever, very powerful, and useful insights.
    Tytyty

  5. Eleni LoPorto says:

    Howard, You are so right! We are suffering from identity theft.Thank you for the insight.

  6. Barry Heermann says:

    “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 being incurable was incorrect.”

    “Now it is your turn to get your identity back, your new you, original-you-essence-of-who-you-are-you, happy-from-the-inside-you.”

    Yaaahhhhhhhhhhhhooooooooooooo. That’s it!

  7. CynThia says:

    I was an initial denier. Seven years ago. Not anymore today.

    Thank you, Howard, for your strong words of acceptance that support the faith I now have in my recovery. And for the Recipe for Recovery that reminds me every morning the blessings of acceptance and faith.

    “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.”

    💖 CynThia

  8. Debbie says:

    Hi Howard,
    Thanks for another fabulous way of accepting the way my life is right now, and of helping me to take action and move forward !
    Here is my favorite quote for this weekend. “Now it is your turn to get your identity back, your new you, original-you-essence-of-who-you-are-you, happy-from-the-inside-you.”—Howard 🙂
    Here is my second one. “Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be”- John Wooden
    Acceptance, Faith and Action it is for me 🙂
    Have a wonderful weekend
    Love and Blessings
    Debbie

  9. Mita Ganeriwal says:

    Thank you for your blogs and of course communication with you, it is so insightful into the disease and restores faith in the belief of being cured of the disease.

  10. Wendie Jekabsons says:

    Thank you so much for your words of encouragement, Howard . My husband and I both have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Some times we all need to be reminded of “the destination” we are working toward to keep us moving in the right direction. Your words of hope and change are so very much appreciated.

  11. corazon salvador says:

    Thank you for the inspiring word Howard.

  12. Cynthia (from England) says:

    Wow Howard, your post could only have been written by someone who has been where us warriors are now. Thank you so much for your encouragement to accept life as it is now – sometimes I think I’ve cracked it, then I realise I haven’t, but I’m pressing on towards the goal! This is powerful stuff. God bless you – you keep us on track x

  13. Helen says:

    Well spoken Howard. Your trust in your recovery was what shines through x

  14. Verinica Urquhart says:

    First of all my thoughts go out to you Wendie and your husband. Thank you Howard again for your wisdom. You are constantly telling us that we have the power to heal ourselves. I believe the mind that made us sick is the same mind that can heal us. Parkinson’s is just a chapter in our lives. There is I am sure a reason known only to God for each chapter and for us to learn its purpose. There is a changeless dwelling place within us, born with us and remains despite what is happening in our life. It is without struggle where we can observe our feelings without judgement. God waits for us to help us understand this chapter in our life. From here we can return to celebrate our life each day. Life us a celebration to the wise.. May we all find such wisdom. Love to you all.

    Veronica 🌺🌺

  15. Trish in Colorado says:

    Veronia, so well said!

    You describe the dwelling place of God that is IN each of us and we are invited to dwell there with Him. He says “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

    GO INSIDE!
    Love, Trish

  16. Beth in California says:

    Quoting from a book on Psalm 23 by Christian author Max Lucado – It is hard to see the city in the midst of the storms. The desire to pull over to the side of the road and get out is so enticing. You want to go on, but some days the road seems so long. God never said that the journey would be easy, but He did say that the arrival would be worthwhile. He may not do what you want, but He will do what is right and best. He is the Father of forward motion. Trust him. He will get you home. And the trials of the trip will be lost in the joys of the feast.

  17. Karen in Ireland says:

    Hi Howard, wow so many new people posting which is fabulous and all full of depth and wisdom. We warriors are truly a great bunch, full of love compassion and wisdom. Welcome welcome to all new warriors as I forget who I say welcome too. New blood always welcome and the share of your journey is precious and helpful to all of us.
    My carer leaving this week as going in a new direction and my son went back to college so weekend had fear over hanging around for the weekend. Such an unwelcome guest but I think he’s getting bored as I’m not entertaining him. I feel God and his army of angels rock up big time when I’m alone.
    Big love to all. Love the post Howard 🙂 xx

  18. Veronica Urquhart says:

    Dear Karen….how true it is that fear can creep in when we are alone and feeling vulnerable. No one is immune from fear. But I have come to notice our mind can play tricks with us. See it as only a physical feeling and don’t let it bluff you. Try not to run away from fear. I try to keep myself calmly occupied when this feeling comes. But not so busy that I am trying to forget myself. I think it is important not to keep measuring our progress counting how many months or years we have had PD. I just say to myself on a regular basis ‘this too will pass’ or whenever fear takes me by surprise I say ‘Jesus is greater than fear’. We try whatever works for us. Stay strong. Much love .

    Veronica

    • Karen in Ireland says:

      Thanks Veronica, yes “this too shall pass ” is one I use a lot. God and his universe are within me and around me every minute of the day championing me on. 🙂 Big Love to you my friend. xx

  19. Melanie S says:

    That essence of who we are.
    I am re-learning to be a human being instead of a human doing on this journey. How did I get so far away from this.? Whenever I feel scared or rushed or anxious I am taking a moment to sit quietly, to enjoy a little moment of existence, look out at the sky, a tree., hear a bird sing, appreciate my home, breathe.
    Love to old friends, Karen, Debbie, Jimmy, Penny how are you? And hello new friends glad you found this site.
    Thank-you Howard

    • Karen in Ireland says:

      Hi old friend, great to see you posting. Great to see you in a good space. Keep on rocking old chum. 🙂 xx

    • jimmy says:

      hi dear Melanie, wonderful to say hello again, I love the way you meet your peace, your essence with your divinity,, …….. i am ok, always bearing in mind the love of god, love of my family, and love you all my fellow warriors …. reminding myself every day I AM NOT pd
      I AM NOTHING To Do With p.d
      I AM ONLY Having an experience nothing more, and nothing less.
      This empowers me

  20. Debbie says:

    Hi Melanie,
    It is great to hear from you. Thanks for adding such great input to this post. I am doing great. I am enjoying my life. I feel greatly blessed. I hope all is going great in your life. Have an amazing day.
    Love and Blessings,
    Debbie

  21. Melanie S says:

    So lovely to hear from you all and hello to those who’s names I missed ☺💕. I am doing much better thank-you, stronger and more positive. Spending a lot of quiet time alone.
    One stumbling block I notice is my relating to others; if I find the slightest hint of even very minor disagreement or need to be assertive I find my whole body tenses up.
    This problem seems to be one of the root causes of the illness. Does anyone else experience this? And any ideas how to tackle it? I am trying telling myself I love myself as much as possible. Xxx

  22. Tom says:

    Hi Warriors,
    Thank You Barry and Shawna for your recent book recommendations; What’s in Your Way is the Way & Happiness is a Choice, in the same spirit as our community.

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