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Why I Must Remain Vigilant in My Life With Parkinson's Disease

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“Be vigilant, for nothing one achieves lasts forever.”  — Tahar Ben Jelloun

It is time to take out the party hats again.   I am starting to descend into pity party territory.

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

It has been a tough week with the loss of my 12-year-old beloved pet bunny Snoopy. Once again, I was feeling guilt. Could I have done something differently that could have  saved Snoopy? This feeling was reminiscent of the regret I experienced over what I should have or could have done differently to save my husband Steve back in 2015 when he died by suicide.

This week, my balance has not been great, my fatigue is off the charts and I am clumsier than usual. Is this a temporary setback due to the stress and sadness of losing my bunny who was so much of a part of my life with Steve? Or is my Parkinson’s disease progressing, precipitating an increase in medications? People who know me may say I look fine and nothing has changed in my symptoms. However, I can feel the difference, having been so in touch with my body for many years training as a dancer and athlete.

Since I truly believe exercise and movement are key to maintaining my quality of life and possibly slowing the progression of PD, I have to force myself to work out daily. Now I can barely get through an hour of exercise without feeling so weak and drained. As I laid on the floor of the gym today to do my abdomen exercises, all I wanted to do was close my eyes and go to sleep. However, even if I had done this and fell asleep, my fatigue would not have been quenched; such is the nature of PD fatigue.

If I let up even just a little bit on all the exercises I must do to retain function, my symptoms will worsen. As an example, while I was away for a week in early June, although I continued with some forms of daily exercise, I did not practice my speed bag. When I returned home and resumed my speed bag routine (five to 10 minutes/day) I noticed a huge loss in my stamina, speed and technique, especially on my left side.  The functionality of my left arm and leg are impacted by PD much more than my right side.

So I must remain vigilant and continue practicing movement to battle Parkinson’s Disease. I will stay the course on my current medications and not rush to increase them for now.

I will persevere.

“I am a fighter. I will stand strong. I will stumble and I will fall but I will never give up. It might take longer at times but I will stand back up and keep fighting.” —

This story originally appeared on Slipped Away.

Originally published: July 6, 2018
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