My mum, an absolute warrior, sets the standard for anyone fighting a disease that continuously looks to deteriorate your spirit and resilience.
My mum has had one of the most unforgiving past few decades in numerous ways, ways that would destroy most people. She was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD) a few years ago, at a time of adjustment to a completely new household environment. Both of her children had left home and the country to study or pursue a career. She was alone, scared and most likely extremely confused.
Her Parkinson’s diagnosis came roughly a decade after the most devastating ending to a 26-year marriage and divorce process imaginable. An unquestionably painful divorce process is simply a page in a book of hurdles and setbacks that have been thrown my mum’s way.
My mum’s superpower is strength; maintaining the strength and desire to fight whatever is thrown at her and most importantly to protect everyone around her from the pain and suffering she experiences. This is a common theme throughout her divorce and her experiences with Parkinson’s disease.
As my mother continues to work full time, whilst approaching her 60th birthday, she refuses to slow down and give in to her relentless Involuntary shaking of the hands, arms, legs, jaw or tongue. The typical Parkinson’s tremor is “pill-rolling” – it looks like holding a pill between thumb and forefinger and continuously rolling it around. Some people report an internal tremor, a shaking sensation inside the chest, abdomen or limbs that cannot be seen. Most Parkinson’s tremor is “resting tremor,” which lessens during sleep and when the body part is actively in use. and “stone foot” symptoms that dramatically affect her day to day life. Not only does she maintain her job security, she relishes the opportunity to dance; specifically, salsa, walk multiple miles into the city and provide constant care and support for the elders in our family.
She refuses to be the one cared for and continuously strives to be the caregiver. It’s imperative that people recognize that although Parkinson’s can deplete and work to destroy our hope, strength and overall positivity, there are always people that set the standard for maintaining the upper hand on this disease, just like my mum.
My job, as an aspiring counsellor and son to a strong woman, is to actively work to contribute to Parkinson’s disease foundations and communities in any way I can, to increase the number of people in the PD community who can begin to feel empowered, loved and protected against such a destructive disease.