Today is the 19th day of my 30-day November to Remember, No Excuses November, Challenge 2019! Click here to review the challenge. At this point in time ten years ago, I was not doing very well. Here is an excerpt from my Parkinson’s daily journal from ten years ago today:
No, I was not writing with invisible ink. Simply, I was not writing at all because I could not. November 17, 2009 was my last daily journal entry, and in March of 2010, I started this blog.
My November 17, 2009 entry was difficult to write (and hard for me to read, even now):
“11/17/09. Up at 4. Eight hours in bed. Got up a few times to use the bathroom, but no problem going back to sleep.
I feel rested and stiff…slow moving, but the weighted feeling of yesterday is gone. Got to the kitchen at 4:09. Expecting a great day today.”
I had written in the daily journal every day for almost two months, and I could write no more. The pain was too intense and barely anything was readable after the first two letters of each word.
However, I had listened to my body the day before and went to bed at 8:00pm. Apparently, I needed the extra rest.
As you can see from above, my 51-day Parkinson’s Daily Journal came to an end because of increased symptoms taking away my writing abilities. It took a large dose of faith to continue with the Recipe at that point, but I did. (If you wish to read my entire Parkinson’s Daily Journal, you can find it in Appendix One of my book, Fighting Parkinson’s…and Winning).
Hindsight tells me that it was a blessing that I could no longer write in my daily journal. When you read through the Journal, yes, there is a lot of hope and faith, and there is a lot of love for my wife and children. However, I will have to admit that there is a whole lot of being consumed with living Parkinson’s instead of living life.
Looking at it now, I see that I was measuring my deterioration, from how long it took me to get to the kitchen each morning to how stiff I was or how painful my rigidity had become.
I had yet to let go of my perfectionism. Since I was documenting my Parkinson’s recovery, my perfectionism told me that I needed to document everything “perfectly,” right down to each thing I could no longer do each day that I could do the day before, including a full and complete analysis of my symptoms right down to the comparison of “are my symptoms better or worse today than they were yesterday.” Sound familiar?
When I no longer could write in the daily journal, I stopped paying so much attention to the minutiae of the symptoms, and I stopped comparing each day to the day before. Since I was not documenting these things on a daily basis, my need to be perfect about what was going on with my symptoms disappeared, and my ability to be in the moment of what I was doing grew. My symptoms became nothing more than a reminder that I had more work to do in my recovery.
I know I had been measuring those things so I would know when I was recovering. How foolish was I. I had overlooked the fact that every day when I woke up and got out of bed and did my Recipe, I was recovering.
That’s right, recovering…moment by moment…recovering just in the doing! And, I did my Recipe because I had faith that I would be cured. Even in the midst of my complaning, look at the last thing I wrote on November 17, 2009, “Expecting a great day today.” That is faith. You can have it, too!
If you lack faith in your recovery, you stay in bed or you sleep so much you don’t know if it is day or night, and you don’t do the Recipe…what would be the point…you have no faith you will be cured.
Faith is an interesting thing. When you are experiencing wonderful things in life, faith in yourself and your life is easy and natural. When you are experiencing difficulties in life, faith in yourself and your life is difficult and unnatural.
Where you make progress in life is when you are experiencing difficulties in life and you still can find faith in yourself and faith in your life. This is living your life…now!
For those of you who are struggling with your Parkinson’s and shaky with your faith in yourself and your life, please seize this opportunity. Seize the opportunity to begin your recovery by having faith in yourself and faith in your life, which leads to faith in your recovery. Seize the opportunity to make this your November to Remember!
Right here, right now, look inside yourself, find that spark of faith you used to have but misplaced somewhere along the way, and grab onto it, light it up, and say, “I have the power to heal myself.”
Please remember to hold onto that spark of faith strongly…you will need it to fight your Parkinson’s on the bumpy road ahead. And while you are holding tightly to your spark of faith, take action against your Parkinson’s, do the Recipe, and be your own cure! You are worth it!
Make the commitment to cure yourself from Parkinson’s!
Okay, everybody, put big smiles on your faces and chant together so the whole world can hear:
“Parkinson’s is curable.
I am my own Parkinson’s cure.
I am slowing, halting, and reversing the progression of my Parkinson’s.
I am extraordinary.
I am recovery.
I am doing great!
AND, I AM WORTH IT!!!”
All my best,
NOTE: In case you missed my previous post, click here to read the post, “Fighting Parkinson’s, and scientific study says brain cells may not be dead”
Thank you Howard. I really need this reminder. I have been guilty of measuring and rating my abilities or/and difficulties. Time to live and not assess is now..
Thank you Howard for the dose of vitamin “R”. I’m off to seize the day!!!!!
This story is so powerful and helpful. Thank you for sharing it. Time for me to let the symptoms fade into the background as my life and the wonderful people all around me snap into focus. That includes you and my fellow recovery warriors.
Love to all, Anne, Portland, OR, USA
Reading this, Howard, I am so grateful that you found the faith to continue with your recovery.
I am so grateful that you did not give up.
Without your inspiration, many would be suffering in hopelessness, not getting better because there would be no reason to believe that was possible.
That you found that faith and had strength is a gift to us all.
Thank you for your tremendous courage, for your faith, and for your generosity in sharing what you learned through your own journey with all of us.
Thanks Howard,. Faith is been a real challenge for me recently and I’m really grateful for this post. I have faith that I will heal completely but the day-to-day faith and keeping the journey moving forward is the tough one for me. I love renovating my old house and will put it before rest. Acknowledging that the slowness is a part of this stage in my life has been a real struggle but I’m getting closer to having a handle on it.
I watched an interview with Lance Armstrong recently and he talked about taking a year and a half off when he had cancer. It was a real inspiration for me to take that seriously and just let my career go for a year and a half or whatever it takes with the faith that if I meant to continue you’ll come back to me and greater success.
Dear Howard, this is just what we needed! Thank you for working so tirelessly for all of us!
I really appreciate these words from the post:
“Where you make progress in life is when you are experiencing difficulties in life
and you still can find faith in yourself and faith in your life. This is living your
life… now! ”
Thank you again.
Love and blessings to all, Sharon in North Carolina
HOWARD: These posts are utterly indispensable. Many thanks as always.
Howard, thank you for this post. It’s just what I needed. I have been doing the recovery for about year and a half and I’m finding keeping the faith the hardest part. I have a tendency compare my symptoms daily in effort to see if I’m healing, which I know is not good. Your post today helps put me back on track. Your posts are so very helpful! Thanks so very much for giving us the Recovery and all of your insight. You are a lifesaver and an Angel to us all.
Bernadette in South Carolina
I generally find that there is a correlation between how relaxed and happy I am – and how my Parkinson’s is doing.
This has led me also to pay more attention to how I walk, type, etc, in an effort to find real world evidence for this correlation. Something like, “Look – I just smiled and my left hand typed a little smoother for a few seconds.”
Of course this overlooks the real blessing involved here: feeling happy, relaxed and joyful!
“Time for me to let the symptoms fade into the background as my life and the wonderful people all around me snap into focus.” – nicely put, Anne.
Relaxing in Wisconsin,
Dear Howard……this little quote is sent to you with sincerity.
“The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand nor the kindly smile not the joy of companionship. It is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when he discovers that someone else believes in him and is willing to trust him”.(Emerson)
There once was a fellow named Howard
whose Parkinson once had him cowered.
So he studied his life
and let go the strife.
Now he joyously feels quite empowered.
–Merrily Manthey 11