My journey with Parkinson's disease (PD) led me to discover a newfound richness in life. One day, while at the park with my granddaughter and our dogs, I became captivated by an old tree. I expressed my desire to draw or paint it, despite having no prior artistic experience. My wise granddaughter simply said, "So what? What are you going to do about it?” That moment marked the beginning of a new-found, and enriching adventure.
I decided to try something completely new, painting and drawing. Armed with basic supplies, I attempted to sketch that tree in the park from a photo my granddaughter had taken. To my surprise, it resembled a tree, at least in my eyes. Unlike my previous hobbies like knitting and sewing, where I felt the pain of loss due to my physical limitations, painting was a fresh start.
I painted, experimented with sketches, and even began crafting birdhouses. The crucial part was that I enjoyed it, found relaxation, and didn't need to compete with anyone, not even myself. Due to my physical limitations, letting go of what I used to be about results in a profound sense of freedom, and the act of creating, even if just for myself, was incredibly rewarding.
When I underwent back surgery and needed to stay in the hospital for a few days, I realized the hospital staff were not equipped to handle my Parkinson’s medications. I experienced the same issue when I was transferred to a residential rehab center. A friend mentioned that the Parkinson’s Foundation had information about staying safe in the hospital with Parkinson’s, so I decided to learn more. The hospital safety guide helps me and my family talk to the nurses about PD when I go to the hospital.
Parkinson's may limit certain abilities, but it can also open doors to new experiences. Trying something entirely different, however modest the attempts, eliminates the fear of failure. Creativity, in any form, can be uplifting. There's a world of new, unexplored possibilities; the keyword is "new."
I share my story to encourage others to explore new horizons. Another new endeavor for me was writing haikus, a concise form of poetry. Haikus provided an excellent outlet for self-expression and catharsis.
My message is simple: find something new to pursue. It doesn't matter if you're not an expert; what matters is the act of doing it. Whether it's playing with colors, brushstrokes, molding with clay, or writing haikus, embrace the joy of exploration.
I may not share my work with friends or neighbors, but I gladly share it with fellow warriors in this battle. As one door closes, another opens, and I've come to understand the power of that saying. To all those fighting the good fight, as Alfred, Lord Tennyson's Ulysses put it, "Come, my friends, 'tis not too late to seek a newer world.”
Go in peace, love, and joy, my fellow warriors.
Explore new opportunities! Find nearby Parkinson’s exercise and wellness classes through your local chapter or by calling our Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO (1-800-473-4636).