Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
I have been living with Parkinsons for over ten years, diagnosed in my mid 50s. Despite this I lead a very full and joyful life within the parameters dictated by the disease.  But - now in my mid 60 s - I am also dealing with issues related to the aging process.  From time to time I butt heads with an event that highlights the limitations imposed by the combined forces of Parkinsons and Aging, and for a short while - often not more than a day - the impact hits home and I grieve the losses I face.  This is not for the faint at heart.  Mirror mirror on the wall Who's the slowest of us all? Mirror mirror please be kind  I'm still quite young inside my mind I Joined a Dance Class for People with Parkinsons I'm standing in a large hall at the National Ballet School of Canada, waiting to begin a dance class - not just any dance class, but one specifically for people living with Parkinsons.  I am passionate about ballet, having danced for eight of my childhood years, and do not even mind the fact that it took me two hours to get here.  A couple of years ago I enrolled in a regular beginners ballet class for adults. I enjoyed it immensely, felt proud to be facing – not avoiding -  challenges despite my disease, and was pleased with the image in the mirror that showed how my body remembered and executed the positions and steps expected of the class. And – well, I wasn’t half-bad! However – and much to my dismay - when the instructor introduced turns (“pirouettes”) I ...
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Stuck in Slow Motion
Stuck in Slow Motion:  Finding Joy Behind  the Mask of Parkinson's Disease? What is Parkinsons Disease? Parkinsons disease is a degenerative neurological disorder  for which there is currently no cure, and at  this time the progression of the disease cannot be slowed down. At best the symptoms can be managed . I have been living with Parkinsons disease for ten years. What Are the Symptoms of Parkinsons disease? Parkinsons Diisease is classified as a Movement Disorder because it affects the muscles  that control our  movements. A lack of dopamine causes a kind of 'broken link' between the brain and the muscles  The disease is characterized by  muscle rigidity, hand tremors and slowing of movement. Many people with Parkinsons disease  in its more advanced stages also have impaired balance, a stiff facial expression, shuffling gait, muffled speech, and small, cramped handwriting. Some experience memory loss, others struggle with disease-induced depression Diagnosis My memories of D-Day (“Diagnosis Day”) remain vivid.  “You have garden-variety Parkinson’s Disease,” announced the neurologist casually, leaving me fighting back tears as I tried to maintain a dignified front.  “Garden variety Parkinson’s disease?” I repeated to myself and "What is  Parkinsons disease?"  For months after, as I tried in vain to deny my new reality,   I devoured copious bits of information  on disease progression, impact and management and in the hope that knowledge would empower me. Instead, it filled my mind with images of a future truncated by rapidly-spiraling physical and mental deterioration.   I was utterly devastated. Fighting the Good Fight As the initial shock began to wear off I resolved to fight this strong adversary with every fibre of my being, and to uphold my joyful disposition, despite the ...
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