Can I slow down the aging process to ease my way into becoming elderly? Join me on this journey.

We didn't use the word Parkinson's all day last Saturday

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Around our house, it's hard to go a whole day without using the word Parkinson's.  It has a way to taking over your life.  Everything you do from hour to hour is a reminder that you have the disease.  I sometimes feel like a blob is growing over me, the PD blob.  Last April when I was diagnosed, I wrote about how I didn't want to become the disease.

When we got home on Saturday from Frankenmuth where we ate at the Bavarian Inn, I commented to my wife Gladys that I don't remember using the word Parkinson's all day.  It felt great to not be reminded for several hours of the disease that's affecting my whole body.

I still couldn't escape my walker that limited my mobility.  It was sandwiched in between smiles from four of our six grandkids who were taken in awe by a horse drawn carriage or the making of fudge.

My voice was weak, but the Holy Sprit was telling me to enjoy the moment and I did.


My six month Parkinson's report: Getting ready for the next part of my health journey

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I've been in somewhat of a denial about having Parkinson's Disease since being first diagnosed almost six months ago.  I kept telling myself that I couldn't have it, that the symptoms I'm feeling are just part of a crazy mix-up.

And then it hit me yesterday at a big Parkinson's event that I really have it and what I'm feeling is totally consistent with having the disease. 

I'm not saying this so people can rub two fingers together and say "this is the world's smallest violin and it's playing just for you, Wes."

My life has been turned around though.  Whereas, before I counted on my mobility and voice to be part of the world.  Crowds never bothered me.  Now too many people at the door of a restaurant can set my mind on fire.

My voice has turned into a big quiver of nothingness.  My bucket list used to be topped by a series of trips for me and my wife.  Now I'd be happy to have one normal conversation with her.  For her, I suspect it's like talking one of our grandchildren when they were two or three years old.  You pick up a word here and there, but often not much more.

I've picked up some new words along the way, including cognition.  It takes me longer than it used to for me to process the pros and cons of an issue and for me to respond to it.  It's all part of the dopamine shortage with the neural transmitters in my brain.  

I have the Parkinson's shuffle big time.  I walk with a cane using itty bitty steps.  And this brings up the subject of falling and I've had a couple, one with a walker which got away from me.  My knees show the evidence and the reminders of how easy falls can happen.  

This happened outside on the sidewalk.  Could I get up by myself?  It took me more than 20 minutes, but I did it with Gladys by my side.  I showed myself that I could do it.

What about sleep?  Constipation?  The meds?  What about the hallucinations?  

In Dearborn, we go to a church where the right stuff is being practiced and taught.  The people seem to be very warm and caring.  How do I react in social situations?  I avoid them.  My phone conversations have become terse.  I avoid them too.

Is there a good side to all this?  I pray a lot more and for a wider group of people.  In the middle of the night when I wake up I recite Psalm 23 over and over.  He is still my shepherd.  He leads me beside the still waters.  And when I walk through the valleys, He is still there.

Don't feel sorry for me.  Maybe feel sorry for Gladys for having been picked for my care provider.  She's an encourager and a servant.  And so are my kids and grandkids.  My three-old grandson notices when I have a difficult time getting off a couch and he'll stick out his arm and in his squeaky voice say to me, "I love you man."

 

 


I would have made a big mistake if I had stayed at home

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I would have made a major mistake if I had stayed home from our family vacation because of Parkinson's Disease.  A major mistake.  I told my wife Gladys last week that I would slow them down and throw cold water on their ability to have a good time.  I am slow and can get easily exhausted.  My body is becoming more rigid and I talk in hushed tones.  Going to the beach in New Buffalo on the very southwest corner of the state, according to my thinking, could be a major downer.

Boy, was I wrong!  I had my own posse to help me.  At the beach my precocious nine-year old grandson surprised his parents by going to the beach club if they had a chair that would help his grandpa who has PD make it out on the beach.  And, he followed up with the presumptuous question that there would be no charge for that.  "Right?"  The attendant smiled and pulled out what looked like a nice lawn chair with really fat tires.

My son-in-law pushed me over the boardwalk and through the sand leading to the beach.  And my son offered to push me back.

It was non-stop for four days with my daughter and daughter-in-law helping me walk out to a fire pit last night.  And then there was The Church Brewery where my son and son-in-law got them to open a gate granting access to an outside patio where we drank Pontius Pilate craft beer,  a really tasty IPA.

They wanted to make sure that I was included in the family festivity's.  And then there was my wife who has been my major cheerleader throughout this journey.  I had serious problems turning over in bed.  She patiently helped me.

Do I realize how blessed I am?  My family of two kids, their spouses and our six grandkids and, especially my wife are gift straight from God.  They reflect the love of Jesus, especially with me about to become a newly minted 73-year-old.  


Here’s why we decided to move out of our comfort zone as senior citizens

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We did it.  We made a major move as senior citizens to another part of the state.  It’s the second move in two years.  Why did we do it?  Where did we move?

For my wife and I, we did it for several reasons:

  1. Part of our immediate family lives in Dearborn where we purchased a condo.  Our daughter and husband live here.  We live 10 minutes away by car.  They have four kids which means that we will have lots of contact with a major share of our grandkids.  Two of our grandkids live in St. Louis.
  2. We found that a “senior citizen lethargy was setting in where we were getting in a rut.  Change is becoming harder.  My body seemed to rebel at changing even my breakfast habits like eating oatmeal with banana slices for the past twenty years.  We didn’t want the rut to get too deep.
  3. I have Parkinson’s Disease which means that the challenges will get greater.  We were able to purchase a condo that’s centered around one main floor and that has the capacity to accommodate a ramp if the need arises.
  4. But more than anything else, it was being close to family.  We talked it over with our daughter and husband where we laid the cards on the table.  They reacted honestly as we did.  They were enthusiastic.
  5. Medical resources abound here.  It’s the process of finding new physicians that fit my needs and my wife’s as the need arises.  I have a case manager from BCBSM to help me with that.

How do we feel as we settle in to our new home?  Tired.  My wife got stuck with the hard work because of the Parkinson’s.  My balance is off as is my endurance.

However, we are excited.  We know that God is with us and families as we make the transition.