Fighting Parkinson’s, and living your life in the moment

Today is the 19th day of my 30-day November to Remember, No Excuses November, Challenge 2021! Click here to review the challenge. At this point in time twelve years ago, I was not doing very well. Here is an excerpt from my Parkinson’s daily journal from twelve years ago today:

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“                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
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 complaining, 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 in the present moment!

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, today, 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,

Howard

NOTE: In case you missed my previous post, click here to read the post, “Fighting Parkinson’s, and Marie is ten years symptom free!” Even if you saw the post, please go back as you may have missed Marie’s comments at the bottom. Here she is ten years later, and through her comments on the blog, she is still giving wonderful advice and still sharing her journey of recovery to the benefit of all of us. Thank you, Marie. We are grateful!

FINAL NOTE: Our four-legged family member, 15.5 year-old Cricket, passed a few days ago on Tuesday. If you want to really know how to live your life in the moment, take some great advice from her: 1. Go outside every opportunity you can, and treat it like it is the first time you ever have gone outside (spinning in circles and barking is optional). 2. Never miss an opportunity for a hug or a treat. 3. Greet every person who comes to your home as if they are the most special person to walk the planet (running around the person in circles, barking, and rolling on your back for a tummy rub are optional). 4. Love every moment, moment by moment, with joy and gratitude, and show the ones you love how much you love them every chance you get. We love you Cricket, and know that you are cheering everybody on just as you used to lay in front of my feet when I did Standing and Balance when I was working on my Parkinson’s recovery.

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36 Responses to Fighting Parkinson’s, and living your life in the moment

  1. Donna L. says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about the passing of Cricket. Our canine buddies really do live in the moment, joyfully! Thank you, Howard.

  2. ken says:

    What a fine looking dog, I’m sorry to hear of Crickets passing.

  3. Margaret says:

    Good morning Howard and my fellow warriors. I keep getting the message loud and clear to have more faith in myself and my recovery, and here again this morning in the blog. My daughter and I were talking earlier, and she essentially said the same thing.
    So here I go recommitting:
    “Make the commitment to cure yourself from Parkinson’s!” I AM WORTH IT!
    Happy Thanksgiving, I am so grateful for you Howard and all my fellow warriors.
    Love
    Margaret

    Ps sorry about Cricket, what a cutie love bug she was.

  4. Karen in Ireland says:

    Awwwww Howard she is beautiful. So sad for your loss. I bet she is joyously running through fields of long grass and wild flowers in Heaven. Our animals teach us so much, like unconditional love and being in the present moment. I am looking forward to the day when I am able to take on a new dog from the rescue centre. My two dogs died in 2017 and I still miss them. It gives me joy feeding the wild birds and Ferrell Cats that come to my back door. ( my carer feeds them for me bless her) but it’s a joy to see them daily. Big love to you and Sally losing Cricket. We buried my dogs side by side, in our top garden and planted a cherry blossom tree at their feet. I have always found the cherry blossom tree to be playful as when shedding its blossom it swirls around you and both my dogs were still playful at 15 when they passed .
    Big love to all warriors old and new.
    Karen xx 💕

  5. Julie R says:

    So very sorry, Howard and Sally, that your beautiful Cricket is no longer here with you. . . how you must miss her! And thank you for sharing your diary entries–just knowing you fought the fight and triumphed despite your deep struggle offers so much hope! Love to you and love and courage to all of you using the Recipe! — Julie 💗

  6. Sheryl B says:

    I keep a daily chart, not of what is wrong or my PD symptoms, but of the things I am doing to heal. But after reading this blog of yours this morning, I am thinking that even that is a perfectionistic tendency. After the 30-day challenge ends, I’m contemplating a 30-day challenge to myself and being less of a perfectionist myself and not charting anything. Just trusting….

    I’m so sorry to hear about Cricket. I know she was dearly loved by your family. May the love you have for Cricket forever rest within your hearts.

    Sheryl

  7. Val H says:

    Dear Howard, Sorry to hear about the loss to you, Sally and the kids of your beloved Cricket. Your ‘final note’ brought a lump to my throat, but your beautiful characterisation shows you are grieving her in the spirit of joy and gratitude for her existence. It seems that dog and Shifkes were mutual beneficiaries and you can’t say better than that. How nice that Cricket companioned you during the Standing and Balance exercise. She looks an endearing bundle of fluff!
    You are so right about dogs being the perfect example of how to live in the present moment. In fact, all animals can teach us humans a lesson about simply ‘being’. Whatever their incarnation, whether as blackbird, cheetah or whale, each creature completes their existence in fidelity to the Creator. It’s only we so-called ‘superior creatures’ who depart from the script (I’m talking about myself; not making a judgement about other people) and thereby tie ourselves in knots.
    When I was at my convent school, we often sang a hymn called ‘Just for Today’ (link below) which used to fill me with a peculiar longing for a religious vocation. The lyrics encapsulated a way of being which I found attractive and, in some weird way, I think Parkinson’s is giving me the chance to experience seclusion for the sake of my spiritual growth, albeit being sequestered through ill health is not an attractive proposition.
    Howard says: ‘Seize the opportunity to begin your recovery by having faith in yourself and faith in your life, which leads to faith in your recovery.’ I think I am engaged in a quest to discover what kind of life I now want/need to live, before I can actually live it.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9XMj9jrL6s

  8. Ray says:

    Sorry to hear of the loss of your dog. 5 yrs ago our two dogs aged 12 died within a week of each other and I was heartbroken which won’t have helped my latent PD. We quickly got a rescue dog which we still have. She was blind after being found starving, stray and peppered with gunshot. Despite her disability, she plays like she is fully sighted, loves life and people. She inspires me. My symptoms continue to be challenging after nearly one year of the recipe but I know they are necessary for my recovery and I regularly feel good as I picture myself with no symptoms. Have faith my friends. You can achieve anything with the right attitude. All my love

  9. Mary Ellen T says:

    So sorry to hear about the loss of your dog Cricket. She was loved by you and your family.
    Thank you for being an inspiration for us to keep on doing the Recipe. I have been doing the Recipe for about 3 months now.

  10. Noel O says:

    Sorry to hear that Cricket passed, Howard. I know she was well loved.
    My dog Oscar died on Jan 4th and we still miss him.
    I’m doing the November challenge & it’s going well.
    thankyou for everything you do for all of us
    Love
    Noel from Australia

  11. Rick says:

    It’s always hard losing a family member, for me it’s a reminder on how life is so short. Sorry Howard to hear about Cricket’s passing, it leaves a hole but you have beautiful memories. Talking about faith! I have a friend at the marina who lives on his boat who is a retired research professor who is always looking out for me on more information on Parkinson’s! Numerous times he has given me information he has found on Parkinson’s! I’ve always thanked him and I said I’ll have a read! Thursday he left a note on my boat saying you must see this chap, he’s specialises in Parkinsons and he’s a must. Two hours later he’s at my boat to make sure I got the note, yes I did thank you I said. We had a short discussion and as he walked away I said you don’t have a lot of faith in what I’m doing do you, he smiled and said softly no! I smiled back, I said I do and have all the faith in the world doing the recovery and I will recover because others have and if they can do it so can I. He replied with a slight smile and said that good. I have more faith than ever now and it’s only a matter of when, not if. Thinking of you all fighting for that win 😊😊

    • Val H says:

      Lovely story, Rick. I have faith in you and I can see your recovery coming. No doubt you will enjoy taking your friend out on the boat with your victory flag flapping at full sail ahead. Best, Val

  12. Roger says:

    So sorry to hear of Cricket’s passing!

    Here’s to keeping the faith
    Love from Roger and Maria

  13. Heather says:

    I am so sorry to hear about the death of your sweet little dog, my two cats both died in the same year 3 years ago, and I still miss them so much… but at age 78, and no longer with the strength to carry them to the vets, I don’t feel able to replace them.
    I am struggling with doing the exercises, even though I am not doing the full version, because of the amount of stress in my life at the moment, I rarely manage to get them done before 11 am in the mornings and sometimes even later.
    Thank you Howard, for your continual encouragement!

  14. Helen Gill says:

    Cricket looks gorgeous, a beautiful dog with a big heart. You must miss her Sally and Howard. I love my dog too, full of love and kindness and joy. A great example. Love and hugs Helen. Rick good on you for keeping on, recovering!

  15. Mona says:

    Respected Howard sir,
    Very sorry for the loss of Cricket, she is soo adorable.
    You are great to find out a message of spreading love even in the moments of sorrow.
    Coincidentally, we also have a stray kitten visiting us since 4 days. We feed him and he shows his love by moving around my feet. I take it as a messenger of God, teaching the lesson of faith, which shakes often.
    Thanks for being there to share my thoughts.
    Love to fellow warriors. Mona.

  16. Rabindar says:

    Thank you for the write up on having FAITH, both in my recovery and in myself, as this morning @ 5am I was very slow in my movements going downstairs to room where I do my Recovery Exercises and after doing the Recovery Exercises. Your write up reinforced Faith in my recovery.
    So sorry to hear about the loss of your dog Cricket. She was loved by you and your family.

  17. Dianna S says:

    Howard my heart aches for you and Sally. It is heart wrenching when our critters leave us. Three weeks ago our kitty, KC, crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. I was inconsolable. I still cry missing her. My deepest sympathy. Love the photos.
    Thank you for sharing your journey of always seeking perfection. I still struggle with that mind set. It is Parkinson’s trying to defeat me. You are always a chill pill for me and a needed inspiration.
    Blessings and love to each of you who read these lines. Dianna

  18. Lynn M says:

    Sorry to hear of Cricket passing. She has a place in your heart forever.
    Love,
    Lynn

  19. Andrew says:

    Hi Howard,
    I was sorry to read about Cricket’s passing. It is always sad when our pets leave us as they become part of our family and for 15.5 years, you and Sally had the joy of Cricket’s company. Take solace from the memories you have of her and how lucky you both were to have her in your lives for so long. Reading your post got me thinking about faith and how dogs are faithful to their owners. A dog’s faith to their owner is unashamedly strong and unbreakable so I will take this approach to my recovery. I have been struggling with my faith in my recovery recently as I am on quite a lot of medication and I wonder how will I ever come off it and recover. At times, my mind has told me not to bother doing the recipe. It takes a lot of time and I will have to do it for many years before I see any results. I just have to remind myself to be faithful to the recipe just as Cricket was faithful to you and Sally because your recipe is the one true path to recovery. Much love, Andrew

    • Karen in Ireland says:

      Hi Andrew, I can identify with your feeling of concern and overwhelming thoughts of “ how will I ever recover when I can barely function with the medication, let alone trying to come off it “ when I get these thoughts I say to God “ you know father I am doing everything in my power to help myself to recovery so I need you to take these thoughts out of my head, because they are too big for me right now and give me the strength to keep going “
      Keep going my friend, you are part of something bigger than this disease. Life and recovery is on your side. Just trust in the process of life and know that your best is good enough and you will know and be guided, little by little, when to reduce the meds. Each day is a new day, you never know what gifts tomorrow has in store for you, just trust, with the presence of God within you, all things are possible . Big love to you friend. Karen xx 💕

    • Rick says:

      Hey Andrew, the longer you keep going it just becomes a daily routine, but you must stay focused. If Australia can do it so can you 😊

  20. Chris M says:

    Carpe Diem!

    I have the power to heal myself,
    I know I will recover.
    The recipe is the blueprint for
    My path to recovery.
    I will be cured!

    It is time to stop focusing
    On negative symptoms,
    Grab onto positive thinking
    And just go for it!

    Howard, a heart felt farewell
    To your cute little four-legged compadre!

    Love and blessings to all, Chris

  21. Dora says:

    Hello. To Howard and Marie, thank you for all the encouragement and positivity. If there is one thing that Parkinson’s has taught me is patience and acceptance. No, I do not get upset anymore when a symptom goes away and then start to try to reappear, I say, hey Parkinson’s you are not winning, because sooner or later I will kick you out of the ball park, 😂 and I know deep in my heart that I will be successful because I’m Worth it.
    On another note, sorry about the loss of your beloved pet. I know how it feels, I just lost my 19 year old cat and I sure miss her.
    Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!

  22. Maree from Melbourne says:

    Dear Howard and Sally
    So sorry to hear about your beloved pet.
    Howard thanks for the advice on perseverance and faith. When l am so caught up in my pain and misery, the mind pounces and bites very fast. It then takes a lot of effort to shake them off. I am fighting a battle with myself.
    Love to all

  23. Tery and Werni says:

    Oh dear Sally and Howard

    We are very, very sorry to hear about the loss of your sweet and lovely Cricket, it is always a very hard experience and we feel with you. Even in this moment you can give gratitude and we can learn a lot from you. Dear Cricket was very loved and had a special life within your family!!

  24. Uwe says:

    Hi Howard, hello everybody, I am sorry to hear about Cricket, Howard. I want to share a (for me) new experience: In all of the exercises of the recovery, where energy gets pumped to the brain, I imagine(d) a cloud very much looking dusty or invisible. This week I started do give this cloud a color- in my case- blue and red mixed. The mental outcome to me is amazing. It feels like “the next level“! Anybody has the same experience? Thanks, bye Uwe

    • Val H says:

      Hello Uwe
      I’m excited for you that you’re experiencing a breakthrough and interested to hear about your visualisation technique. I have always found it difficult to imagine bright energy flowing from kidneys to brain; I don’t know why. But sometimes I see what I call ‘supernatural colours’ which occur quite unbidden. The phenomenon is most likely to occur during jumper cabling or sitting zazen but once, quite recently, I saw a fluorescent green while performing the Medical Qigong Sound for Calming the Liver. The colours I am describing (which appear with my eyes closed) are beyond any earthly shade I have ever seen – deeper, brighter and denser. I mainly see purple and when this occurs, I associate it with healing. I’m sure your cloud is significant to you and I would say, yes, embrace it as a sign that something good is happening.
      Best, Val

      • Karen in Ireland says:

        Hi Uwe and Val, I usually see purple when I meditate and sometimes suddenly the purple is suddenly replaced by a really bright white colour which I love. If you believe in angels, Archangel Raphael is the angel of healing and his colour is vibrant green. So there you go Val, you are receiving healing and you don’t know it . 😊 Btw, apologies , you asked me how I was last week and I meant to write back the same day and didn’t get a chance. I am doing well thanks. I can’t do a lot of the recipe exercises for various reasons that I won’t bore you with so that is why I don’t sign up for the November challenge. I thank God for what I can do . My sister was here for the weekend and she laughingly said that I am like a Tibetan Monk I am so peaceful and chilled lol I think I am losing a lot of the fear of the disease which in itself a healing.
        Big love to you both xx 💕

        • Val H says:

          Karen, beloved anchorite, thank you for sharing this about the colours. I am glad to know that green means an angel is healing me. As for you, in your own quiet way, you are a powerhouse. I think your faith in God has loosened your fear of the disease and that is awesome.
          Best, Val

      • Uwe says:

        Thanks Val and Karen for your input.

  25. Ola says:

    My heart aches with yours and Sally’s, it is almost cruel to be given such a gift as Cricket, only to have it taken away. While we know logically that death is a part of life, it is impossible for a heart to fully accept why we have to lose our loved pets – or anyone we love unconditionally. It is a comfort to know that death doesn’t separate us from our loved ones.

    Bye-bye, Cricket. I have so much to learn from you how to be in the moment and do your joyful greetings tricks! LOL!

    Thank you for sharing your diary Howard, my faith in my recovery is always stronger after reading it! I am healed by faith!

    Love and hugs to fellow warriors,

    Ola

  26. Lala says:

    There is a Joke :

    Look at the difference when you lock up a dog or a human for one day, and then then next day you open the door. What happens with the dog and what happens with the person.

    The dog is always joyful. The person is yelling your head off.

    So, how to keep your mind uplifted: act like a dog 🤣

    • Uwe says:

      Hi Lala, I have a Joke too, but it happened in real life. I had to laugh really hard. We live on the 14th Floor and I always walk the stairs. Don‘t use the elevator for mobility reasons. One day the Security guard says to me: Uwe, you know what: you are the only one who uses the stairs. My reponse: No Wonder, I am the only one with diagnosis Parkinson.😊

  27. Ashok says:

    I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your dog Cricket. She was like your family, and its always painful to lose your loved ones.

    Thank you for being an inspiration for us to keep our faith intact for full recovery!

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