Watching my inbox for a message from the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF) felt reminiscent of days, way back when, awaiting college acceptance letters. For both, I’d wondered if I’d be invited to learn from those who dedicate their lives to study, and take that knowledge into the work I do with others. Somehow, this time it seemed even more crucial a role.
Approval of my application arrived yesterday. I now have the honor of participating in the 2009 PDF Clinical Research Learning Institute.
I’m in. So, why did I stare at the message and cry?
For me, staying balanced – physically and emotionally – with PD can sometimes mean disregarding that I have it. It’s not a denial, not an escape from reality. Rather, it is simply part of the balancing act.
Timing when my meds are on, for example, has become second nature. I know when I can go out and weed the garden without getting stuck behind a shrub from freezing or falling; the extra time I gain from my meds after a bike ride are like clock work; the insomnia has made me an expert at crossword puzzles. All the workarounds are my way of being gentle with myself, practicing ahimsa.
But, satya, or truth, appeared with that email and put me face to face with a disease that I cannot always skirt. No, for the length of the Institute, I will be immersed in all that is Parkinson’s. That reality let loose a few tears. Of course, there wouldn’t be balance without some crying.
On the flip side, what brought a smile back was knowing that I’ll be playing a part in what will hopefully be the new reality: that there will be no need for working around the symptoms. There’ll be no symptoms. There’ll be no more Parkinson’s.