Shaky Foot Wisdom
August 1, 2020
Just Whose Diagnosis?
Just like I imagine hearing news of MS or other slow progressing lifetime illness, hearing my neurologist pronounce his clinical diagnosis(for there exist yet no definitive tests), “I believe you have early stage Parkinson’s Disease”, was a low dropped left fist blow to the gut.
Though I know well the psychology of how to gain understanding of an event like illness, the first word I uttered after a few bursts of sobbing was ‘why?” What’s wrong with the why question you may ask? Simple, any more than a toddler’s mommy can only answer her pleadings of why she cannot do this or that, by explaining that this just is a fact of life(because that is just the way it is, we are born, we die and some things go awry along the way.)
The path of how begins an explorer’s lifelong quest to discover new uncharted territory and hopefully convey hard won new understanding of the world to a populous hungry for adventurous news.
I am also familiar and intimately acquainted with the five stages of grief posited by Elisabeth Kubler Ross and David Kessler: denial, bargaining, depression, anger, and acceptance.
With this as my backdrop, I have been an aware observer of not only my process yet also how other people are responding to my news of my being diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. Of course, I have felt sad and engaged in the bargaining of imagining my second opinion neurologist and Parkinson’s Specialist, saying,“nope, your symptoms at first had had lined up with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s but we now see they are all unrelated and we can treat as they come up, so go in peace and live a long healthy life.”
As well, I have been wide-open-eye surprised at the outpouring of love and support for my sharing this news publicly so early on. What I had not expected to see were well meaning folks who seemed to cycle through the stages of grief as well.
Denial and Bargaining appear to be at work in some folks admonishing me to wait the forty-five days for the second diagnostic confirmation before claiming this as something I am willing to say yes to addressing. I am left wondering just whose diagnosis is this?
Perhaps my activism in immediately researching everything I could find to learn about this new PD territory, including devouring all the plethora of information at www.michaeljfox.org, is my own form of denial and bargaining. Yet, I am clear in mind, body, and spirit of an unfathomable sense of acceptance.
I ask again, ‘just whose diagnosis is this?” Look at all the new this will bring into my life :a renewed enthusiasm for the already begun Mediterranean Diet, a reduction of work hours down to twenty, a chance to engage in a whole array of modalities, to help with balance and other PD symptoms that may arise, such as Tai Chi, Dance, Low Impact Pilates and the one that excites me most, Rock Steady Boxing.
What is there to accept other than a new life lived a new way?