It's is a time for anniversaries, first and foremost, Mara and I celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary with a trip to a cabin in the Smokies for some R and R and a wonderful dinner at a new restaurant we found nearby. We had a great time and came home rested and relaxed in time for a nice pontoon ride on the lake for my birthday.
Last week was also my one year anniversary as an official Person with Parkinson's. A lot has happened in the last 365 days which somehow included a lot of beach time! I have researched Parkinson's, met other PwP, both in person and on the web, took up Yoga and Tai Chi, and started this blog. I have alarms set on my watch and my phone to remind me to open the little pill container I carry with me at all times and take my medication timely. I have been to the University of Florida Movement Disorder Clinic to experience a multidisciplinary and patient centered approach to dealing with PD (highly recommended) and will return next winter for a follow up visit. I chronicled that visit in this blog post.
We attended a week long retreat with about 70 other PwP and caregivers sponsored by National Parkinson Foundation at Kripalu where we had a great opportunity to share symptoms and how we were dealing with our diagnoses. We heard from professionals who provided us with information and ideas, plus it was my first experience with yoga. We stay in touch with many of the other attendees via email and Facebook and I highly recommend attending this retreat if you are within 5 years of being diagnosed, check out the NPF website for more information and dates for this year's retreat. Again you can read more about it in this blog post from last year.
The most important thing that has happened is being on the receiving end of endless support from my family, my friends, other PwP I have met, support group members, readers of this blog, and other bloggers and Twitter followers. I can't say thank you enough for all of the support that has flowed my way since my diagnosis. It is amazing and I am humbled beyond words.
If you read other blogs by PwP you will notice that we often talk of the downsides to having Parkinson's but we also talk about how the diagnosis also opens new doors and you meet new friends and your outlook becomes what positive actions can I take to beat this disease. As Michael J Fox notes in this graphic, "..something is what it is and.there's got to be a way through it". Again thanks to all of you for supporting me in trying to find that way and maintain a positive attitude.
Speaking of new doors opening, in a previous post, I discussed the new Partner's in Parkinson's, a joint effort with the Michael J Fox Foundation and AbbVie, a drug company. They are holding events around the country and we signed up to attend the event in Atlanta in September. Since that post we have been contacted by the Foundation and asked to participate in a break out session called 'Building Connections with Family, Friends and Community'
which is focused on
how the entrance/existence of PD has influenced the way we navigate and build relationships with others and how it has driven us to take action to get involved in
making a difference for PD. It will be a moderated discussion with Q & A and we will be on the panel with three others with a connection to Parkinson's. We are looking forward to it, hopefully it will not be a soft voice day for me. :)
Next week this blog will be one year old and I plan to have a short post to celebrate that anniversary on or around August 6th that will include some nerdy statistics about number of visitors and stuff like that, see you then.