Living with Parkinson’s

Living with Parkinson’s through Yoga

January 25, 2010

When Life Hands You Lemons . . .

. . . don’t simply make lemonade. Bake. Baking is about creation. It’s about changing a list from flour to nuts into a dessert or breakfast treat. Whether it’s melding butter with chocolate or combining raspberries with ground almonds, the result enhances the finest flavors of each ingredient. Yoga. like baking, is about transformation. This shift can happen in my body when I’m molding myself into into hero pose, or in my mind when I’m gazing at the flicker of a candle. The rigidity in my Parkinson’s muscles lets go of some tension, and the chatter – from fears of future symptoms to frustration with the current ones – empties from my thoughts.  This change, this shift, maintains the essence of who I am – my list of ingredients – drawing out what’s most flavorful. Sometimes, a cool glass of lemonade can be refreshing.  But, making it is less a […]
March 15, 2010

Post to Post

I’m a Facebook junkie. I post. I read recent posts. I send messages, upload photos, visit walls. I like how I can keep up-to-date with my nieces or college friends, logging in at any time of day, even at the insomnia hour between 3:00 and 4:00 am. Something yogic exists in the in-the-moment aspect of reading and writing FB posts. I feel I’ve been invited to share where someone goes, what his or her current status is, what’s going on. A letter from my niece, Kate,  however, is shedding light on my view. A letter, yes. The kind written by hand with a pen on sheets of paper, folded into an envelope that carries a stamp and gets delivered by actual post to a real mailbox with a hinged metal door. The difference between posts and the letter I received by post, besides the tactile feel of holding the words […]
March 28, 2010


April is Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month. Any of us with Parkinson’s are already well aware of the disease. That must mean that April is our stretch of thirty days to publicly whine and curse and . . . Oh, wait. No. I’m thinking that this month might be better spent finding ways to: – share treatment and support information with those who are newly diagnosed. – focus on exercise, nutrition and well-being for ourselves and our families. – educate others about the disease to help dissuade misconceptions and fears. – learn about the latest research: knowledge is power. – consider taking part in a clinical trial. – maintain a sense of humor. – keep practicing your yoga. – stay connected to one another. An occasional whine is okay, too. Namaste.
May 1, 2010

The Art of Yoga

If, a year ago, someone told me that I’d be spending my Wednesday mornings sketching nudes, I’d have pleaded to mow the lawn instead. Maybe take out the trash. I’ve never been a student behind an easel, never even stood at an easel for that matter. The mention of a charcoal pencil sent my mind into a chatter fest of excuses not to draw or, heavens, paint. I remember I trembled. And worried. How could I possibly produce something that wouldn’t be clumsy and inept? When my first symptoms of PD grew too strong to hide, I became that frightened student again, wishing for another diagnosis the way I’d preferred to have done chores. Again, I trembled and felt clumsy and inept. Four years later, something magical has happened. I picked up a paintbrush and it felt good. I now grin the entire time at an art store replenishing yellow […]
July 26, 2010

Travels with Friends

Here’s a travel log, complete with pics, from my recent bicycle trip to Switzerland. What’s not in the story is an expression of how grateful I am, not only to my captain and fellow stoker, but to my friends as well. You were there on the ride with me, particularly when the going got tough. One place a friend showed up was after I blamed the wacky European cobblestone sidewalks for causing me to trip (though it was less than graceful, I did remain upright!).  I thought of Al. He’d have enjoyed the humor, as I noticed when I glanced down, that the path I was walking was paved. Hmmm, seems the PD had more to do with my vertical challenge than what was underfoot. Stumbles strikes again. A few nights, when PD’s insomnia kept me from sleep, my husband stayed awake to keep me company. We shared stories […]
August 1, 2010

Less Is More

All it took was one email in my inbox to make me smile. Oh, there were plenty of other messages there, from spam and scams to Facebook notices and must-see YouTube links. But this one I read and read again. Like discovering a lone poppy in bloom among the mounds of crab grass, I paused and savored what I saw. Here it is, from guest blogger Debbie Flamini, who shares her insights into the essence of living your yoga while living with PD. Enjoy. FINDING BALANCE by Debbie Flamini Less is more, is more or less What my body needs, to not feel stress No body stress leads to Cinderella Days How do I get there?  Let’s count the ways! Consider less is more in everything you do From yard work to exercise, even laundry too Stop competing with the body you owned before Your current one still works, right […]
August 21, 2010

Mirapex, Here a Vex

At my last checkup with my neurologist, he ran through the standard office visit litany of tests. I touched my nose, I puffed my cheeks, I walked to the end of the hall and turned and walked back. When he turned his wrists and said, “Show me how you change a light bulb,” I smiled. My arms at my sides, I replied, “I ask my husband to do that.” Though he didn’t laugh out loud (I did notice, however, perhaps a slight effort to remain his serious self), I still like him. I believe it’s important to have a good relationship with my doctors, where I can trust that they are not only listening, but truly hearing what I’m saying. No joke. So during the appointment, when I mentioned that sleep (or lack thereof) ranked highest on my list of disruptive symptoms, he nodded. He asked a few questions. He […]
September 6, 2010

New England Parkinson’s Ride, Sept. 11

If you happen to be in the Old Orchard Beach, Maine, area this Saturday, September 11, look for us on the triple during the New England PD Ride. Come and cheer us on! There are 195 riders this year! That’s nearly double last year. Still, we’re easy to spot as the only whole family on one bike. For some training pics and stories, go to The rides begin at Loranger Middle School, 148 Saco Ave., Old Orchard Beach. Team Mama will be riding Fred on the 50-miler, which heads out at 9:30 am.  The ride ends at The Pier, at 1 West Grand Ave, Old Orchard Beach. I expect we’ll roll in between 1:30 – 2:30. Here’s hoping for good weather! But even if the weather isn’t postcard-perfect: Rain or shine, Fred rolls Fifty miles uphill and down Rain or shine: a cure.
September 21, 2010

Living Room

For four days, I’ll be immersed in all things Parkinson’s at the World Parkinson Congress in Glasgow. Thousands of patients, caretakers, researchers, health care professionals, pharmaceutical reps, will converge on this Scottish city to focus on this degenerative neurological disorder. And I’m okay with that. Typically, I would resist such an event as I would retract from a serving of Lima beans. Good for me, but hard to swallow. This state of mind of openly listening to, absorbing, witnessing the numerous, nasty effects of this disease has more to do with all that will be around me rather than what’s being served up: I’ve never been to Scotland. I intend to enjoy a few days at the front end of the conference simply being a tourist rather than being someone with PD. In addition to the plethora of medical presentations from around the world, there are a number to choose […]
October 13, 2010

A Glimpse of Glasgow

From the Opening Ceremony right through to the final playful Brain Game session, the World Parkinson Congress in Glasgow, Scotland, elicited laughter, tears, and much thought. Opening Ceremony Attendees included health professionals as well as those living with PD. At the opening ceremony, those who’d conceived and created this summit of minds and bodies gave a brief history and announced that the third Congress is scheduled for 2013 in Montreal. Another speaker focused on the future, with a plea for urgency. This thirty-nine-year-old father of two young  children called for urgency toward  awareness – this is not a disease of the elderly, he’d said – as well as urgency toward better treatment, toward a cure. The two winning entries from the video conference, shown on a huge screen, each gave those in the auditorium without PD an inside look at living each day. And to those of us living with […]