It seems odd to say I had the pleasure of attending my first PD conference since there isn’t much about PD that’s pleasing. Sure, the peppermints and chocolate kisses at the exhibitor’s booths were a treat, but that hardly made up for the lemons life has doled out.
Despite the degenerative disease that brought us all there, however, the conference gave me the opportunity to connect with some remarkable people. Remarkable because they got through the morning’s monumental tasks of maneuvering buttons and buttering toast in time to gather at the hotel’s exhibit hall?
Yes. But more remarkable were these same people beyond their Parkinson’s. I met a nature photographer, a minister turned poet, a quilter, several teachers, a parent of teenagers, a musician, an inventor, a marathon runner, and many who love yoga. They were, quite literally – pardon the pun – movers and shakers. The room was filled not with just tics and tremors but with promise and personality.
One of the morning sessions outlined the many varied symptoms of Parkinson’s. The doctors at the podium spoke of living with the disease. Their Power Point presentation was informative but not nearly as powerful as men and women who were present and actively living their lives.
To make lemonade from the basket of sour fruit we’ve each been given means merely adding sugar and water. The people I encountered at the conference had created an entire bakery list of lemon meringue pies, frosted squares, and handmade tarts. What a treat, indeed.