Surely you can step twice in the same “river” …but

“You should go,” my brother said “You have Parkinson’s. If you don’t go now, you may never get to go.”

My other siblings often asked why I have not gone back to Vietnam, the country of my birth, the country that I left 30 plus years ago as an eleven year old. Especially the one sister who still lives in Vietnam, after hearing about my numerous trips to many other parts of the world, “How come you go everywhere but never come back to Viet Nam for a visit?”

“I will, sis. Someday, I definitely have to go back,” I promised. To be blunt, I don’t know why I haven’t gone back. Most Vietnamese living abroad love to go back, like an annual pilgrimage to the motherland. Some go back to look for a wife, some go back to behave as sex tourists, some go back to take their foreign-born children to discover their ancestral roots, some return to open businesses, or simply to see their loved ones. Whatever reasons – most have gone back since the Vietnamese government started welcoming the “Viet Kieu”, literally means “Overseas Vietnamese”, and their remittance wealth.

I have a brother-in-law who never wants to go back either, [...] continue the story

It changed my life and our relationship

Two years ago I went through the agonizing process of finally being diagnosed with PD. Thinking it was developing faster than the “usual” process I was referred to the Booth Gardner Center at Evergreen Hospital in Kirkland, WA. What a blessing this PD research center is! In the year and one-half I have been seen there both my wife and I have learned how we have needed to “do things differently” in our lives. We both retired “early” (at 62) after 36 years of careers for both of us. I was a pastor and my wife was a special education teacher. One of the words I have heard over and over from the Booth Gardner “team” is “If you really want to do it, don’t let PD tell you that you can’t!” Throughout this journey I have seen things change in my life that I struggle with daily. Lately I have lost the ability to sing. That has been my biggest loss to date as I have sung my whole life. So, today I do a great lip sync with any song I hear. As I have been told, “If you enjoy it, find another way to enjoy it.”

Blogging My Way Through Parkinson’s

When I was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s, I never in my wildest dreams thought I would end up writing a blog…

I am a 62-year-old English granny who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s about eight years ago, and for most of those eight years I have tried to convince myself that it’s either all a terrible mistake or that I haven’t got it at all. Then, on the other hand, I have spent my time living for today and thinking to hell with tomorrow.

However, after recently suffering from some extremely stressful situations, I have been trying to take my head out of the sand and try to come to terms with this strange disease. My daughter had been staying and I mentioned that I had thought about doing a blog – my head was, and is, buzzing with so many things that I want to sort out and I hope by doing this I can help others and they can help me. As she is the go-getter in the family, it was only a matter of minutes before I was all ready to go and there was no going back!

So in an instant, “My Mate Parky” was born – I didn’t have [...] continue the story

My Wish

My 46th birthday was approaching and just as we habitually change our smoke detector batteries on New Year’s, I made it a ritual that I have my yearly physical near my birthday, although there was one aspect of the visit that always made me forget my birthday. In fact, I had now been more than 3 years since my last physical. My decision to visit my GP was not planned other than the fact that he was away and I would be spared the usual rhetoric that comes from your usual physician. Now do not get me wrong, he is more than a master at his profession, I just figured I needed a visual change and some fresh air. Well fresh it was, as I entered the patient room I was soon greeted by his replacement, a recent graduate of UBC Medical School. In fact, I was her 3rd patient. Well if looks could kill. I should have died on the spot. After some discussion regarding my medical past, my focus had shifted and I soon put my first impression aside and focused on the purpose of the visit.

Having been on hypertension medication for over 30 years, it was decided [...] continue the story

Tomorrow’s joy is fostered by today’s acceptance.

Heavy duty thinking for such an early hour. Here it is 3:30 A.M; the time when I awaken…my special time. Parkinson’s has been my cunning partner since 1995 when I was 49 years old. It has changed me in so many ways least of all physically. No I can’t walk for miles, but I can dance and sing and still try to do things that others say I shouldn’t. No I am no longer an Assistant Principal, but I have brought my abilities, skill and empathy to others by sharing thoughts, a smile, a word of encouragement. No I don’t drive long distances, but I have learned how to ask for help and really appreciate it. I have always felt good about who I am but now I truly value what I have become.

I have learned to embrace the day even if it starts out crappy. I realize the importance of seeing the glass half full. NO I am not Pollyanna, but lamenting my situation could not help and would drag us all down. So I do get depressed but when I do I slap myself around mentally and straighten up my body and brain and keep on going.

I am [...] continue the story