It began ten years ago this month. I was at Wrigley Field with a friend. We were walking up the ramp to our seats when I veered off to the right and bumped into a railing. My friend, who is a doctor, gave me a WTF was that kind of look. I just shrugged.
That was the first acknowledgment that something was going on. In reality, there were other earlier signs that I ignored. It all led up to a series of tests. Later that year, I heard these words from my first neurologist:
“We’ve ruled everything else out. You have Parkinson’s Disease. I know it sounds scary but it could be much worse. You don’t have ALS, which we’ve talked about many times. People live long lives with Parkinson’s. Chances are you’ll die of something else.”
Not exactly the most comforting words, but he was right about a lot of it. People are living long lives with Parkinson’s. Hell, I’ve outlived him by quite a bit and he didn’t even have P.D. Sadly, he suffered a stroke a few months after this chat and died a couple of years later.
We’re now ten years into this. Yeah, there are challenges, but there as my first neurologist said, it could be much worse. I think that’s a pretty good thing and a time marker in which to celebrate.
So to honor Parkinson’s Awareness Month, I’ll raise my glass in a toast, using the words my doctor said to me a decade ago:
Here’s to living long lives with Parkinson’s.
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