It’s been said that when those of us with Parkinson’s Disease receive our initial diagnosis most ask, ‘Why me?’ It never occurred to me to ask that question. I believe that I have PD because the Universe is random, but God’s grace is not. I believe that it might just as well be me twitching as anyone else.
Maybe it’s because I’m accustomed to coping with asthma that I adapted to this chronic diagnosis so readily. Yes, there was the weekend in a fetal position, and then the months of telling people ‘my news’. Depressing, yes, but also reassuring; it’s nice to know my village is strong. I am loved. And I am grateful.
Maybe dealing with doctors, pills and inhalers has inured me to the fact that my body betrays me in one way and now another. I’m a klutz — it’s hard to know where my lack of coordination ends and my PD begins. I’m the fat girl at the skinny ball, the curly-haired brunette in a sea of blondes. Or maybe it’s because I’ve known longer than I’d care to admit to myself or others that another part of me was headin’ south. Before a doctor made it official, I knew that my left arm should not rock ‘n roll 24/7.
In the middle of the night when my family and the world sleep, my arm insists on moving. Even then, I don’t care to ask ‘why?’ It doesn’t matter why my dopamine-producing cells have chosen to off themselves with too-great abandon. It is what it is. And I remain what I am – above ground in a body that is pretty healthy except for a couple of chronic quirks. It’s not so bad.
Instead, I ask ‘why not me?’
Why not me? My husband and children are healthy and loving… at least when they’re not trying to kill me. I’ m blessed to have access to good doctors and afford expensive medicine. I have so much so why shouldn’t I be dealt this card?
And, why shouldn’t I take this random card and lead a generation for whom a tremor is a natural reaction to shaky times? Information is coming at us at the speed of light. Our knowledge is trembling at warp speed. Why not have faith that when one door shuts – even if it’s with a slam – that the great minds working on Parkinson’s Disease will find an ember of hope…. One that will push another investigational window wide open?
Why not embrace this Parkinson’s thing and give it a voice? A loud clear voice. A voice of hope and humor. Why not twitch through an exercise class? Make a manicurist’s job interesting? Or give a teen a run for her money with a hand shaking, roof-blowing dance move? (Although I’m unsure whether it’s the ‘The Whip’, ‘The Dab’ or ‘The Nei Nei’ I’ve mastered. My tween assures me that it’s D, none of the above. Sigh)
Why not believe that I can continue to kick my husband’s ass at ping-pong – even when he plays every fuckin’ shot to my Parkie hand? Why not believe that today’s mouse trial will save humans as well as rodents tomorrow? Why not just laugh and believe.
Why not believe that photo therapy, stem cells, deep brain stimulation, fish oil or all of the above are the cure? And that the exact prescription is a mere moment away? The cause is known. Why not believe that the cure will be found – there are a lot of twitchers in this world looking for a steady hand to guide us away from neurodegeneration. The cure is gonna be mighty profitable.
So, I choose believe that I will live a long, functional and full life during which a cure for PD will be found just because. Why not?
My faith is unshakeable.