The Parkinson’s Journey is Difficult, but We Know We Are Loved
By: Sherri Woodbridge
I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease almost 20 years ago. Many of us with this disease can tell you when we first started noticing symptoms, which can be quite a time difference from when we received an actual diagnosis.
Love and hate
Sometimes it feels like just yesterday when we were diagnosed with this incurable disease. Sometimes it feels like forever ago. For me, it’s the latter. And as for Little Monster and me, it’s been a love-hate relationship during this journey. We’ve most likely heard others with Parkinson’s disease say things like, “I would never have met so many good people if I hadn’t had Parkinson’s,” or, “I wouldn’t have had the opportunities or experiences I’ve been blessed with if it hadn’t been for me having Parkinson’s disease.” I concur with that.
I know I am loved
Meeting many good people and having great opportunities are indeed blessings, but having Parkinson’s can be like swallowing bitter pills every day. Yet, with those pills come other blessings. For me, one blessing is having a spouse who makes sure I get the medications I need, from calling in the prescriptions to picking them up at the pharmacy, to sorting them out and making sure I take them when I need to. We can feel like a burden about such things, and yet we know we are loved.
We are affirmed of such love when our caregiver walks into the kitchen every evening and starts to make dinner for us. Sure, they may like doing it — or even love doing it — but they don’t have to. It’s one way of them showing us they love us.
I am reminded of another time I felt loved — really loved. It was when I had my first baby. My husband did things for me I never expected. I had a difficult delivery, and he selflessly pitched in and literally did everything that needed to be done. I saw my husband’s ever selfless and patient nature blossom during those days and weeks. Because of my experience then, I knew that despite having Parkinson’s, I’d be loved now. And I was right.
Opportunities and experiences
We who journey this road with Parkinson’s may not have had the opportunities or the experiences that others have had, but we’ve had some pretty good ones. We may not have met a ton of people because of Parkinson’s, but the ones we have met we won’t soon forget. Having Parkinson’s is like having a love-hate relationship.
We hate the disease, but we love the people in our lives because of it. We appreciate new friends we’ve made and old friends and family members all the more.
We are grateful for what the disease affords us: new experiences and opportunities we may have otherwise never known. PersonalIy, I wouldn’t have realized so many opportune moments to be thankful for regarding my husband without this disease. I guess you could say that as Parkinson’s moved in beside me, my husband moved in closer still. Because of experiences like that, we can know we are loved.