September 22, 2011

PD Attitude of Gratitude

  My gratitude list continues: Autumn leaves: Especially the feisty ones, rimmed in crimson and yellow but holding onto veins of green.  They display their nature – our nature – to resist change at the same time surrendering to it. NEPD Ride Volunteers: The New England PD Ride in support of the MJF Foundation proved to be a smooth 50 miles for Team Mama. The route was lined with good cheer, good food, great attitudes. The teams of volunteers providing much heart and help to the Team Fox riders and were probably responsible for the pristine weather. All in all, a delightful day of riding for a cure. Thank you. Elementary School Friends: As my son begins fourth grade, I recall a few friendships solidifying when I walked the halls of St. Christopher’s. I have the priveledge of gathering with two of the dearest of those friends for a whole […]
October 3, 2011

Yabba Dabba Yoga

Yoga, the violin, Fred Flintstone and PD, all in my guest blog at the American Parkinson Disease Association/Massachusetts Chapter site:  http://www.apdama.org/site2.0/blog.php
October 31, 2011

Shall We Dance

At the Young Onset Parkinson’s Northeast Conference, I did something I hadn’t done in a long time. Years. Decades. I danced. After my childhood stroke, with literally half a leg to stand on, I crossed Dancer off my list of possible careers, hobbies and even casual past-times. But that didn’t keep me off stage in high school. Tall and not-so-graceful, the musical director cast me as an Amazon in “The King & I.” In my role, I stood cross-armed and at attention, guarding the entryway in each scene involving the king. Though I appeared more often than the wives — perhaps more often than Anna — in my role, I spoke no lines and certainly did not dance. I ventured onto the dance floor in college and at weddings. Two-stepping, waltzing, or lining up to do the Macarena called for so much concentration to get the footing right, to stay […]
November 30, 2011

Sign Up

 A beautiful yoga studio sign! It stands, however, on the brick sidewalk outside the door of local clothing boutique. The bottom of it offers holiday gift cards for the shop. The sign struck me more, though, for the true gift it offers during this rushed holiday season: Breathe. Be present. Enjoy. Perhaps we all need a joyous reminder to keep from getting caught up in the next several weeks of To Dos and To Buys. As a person with PD, the sign’s living and being approach helps reduce the stresses that come with this time of year, stresses that can exacerbate my symptoms. It’s a yogic reminder that brings me back into the moment and out of past and future worries. If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, may many eyes rest on this sign. Enjoy the beauty, moment to moment.
January 11, 2012

Carry On Discriminating

Despite the challenges that accompany travel when living with Parkinson’s, I still enjoy it. Visiting new places or old friends outweighs the excess baggage that goes with going away. Wacky schedules throw off my meds cycle. My slow-mo body becomes an obstacle that others slalom around. A tremor appears (not typically among my list of symptoms). Worth it, worth it, worth it because the adventure’s good evens out the not-so-good. Except for one hassle that throws off this balancing act: the airline fee for checking rather than carrying on my bag. For most of the travel stressors, yoga brings some relief. I can ease back down from the security line’s rush of disrobing and shoe removal (which we know is a lengthy process with PD) and although I’m crammed into a seat that restricts my movement, I manage to stretch a bit. While waiting at the gate, I find a […]
February 1, 2012

Roll the Dice

 Friends see us one morning at the gym cruising along on the treadmill. The next afternoon, they might witness us shuffling the aisles of the grocery store barely able to reach for the spaghetti sauce. The “You Look Great” comment morphs into no comment.      Is it possible to describe how days — hours — vary widely when living with Parkinson’s?      Consider making a comparison to a classic board game. The dice, like our meds — can determine so much. Who hasn’t wished for doubles to slip by landing on that hotel on Boardwalk?  But, just as passing Go holds no guarantee that we’ll collect our $200 again the next time around, simply getting through today with no “off” time is no sure sign that same will hold true for tomorrow.      On the good rolls, like on good days when symptoms wane, we […]
March 5, 2012

The Art of Spring Cleaning

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” -Pablo Picasso If someone told me my Parkinson’s was all in my head, I just might agree. Because not only does the dopamine-producing mix-up/miscommunication/mishap reside there, so too does my 24/7 symptom awareness factor. For the first, I take meds. (I also exercise and stay positive. For the times when ‘positive’ can’t be found in my vocabulary, there are brownies. With ice cream.) For the second, life offers attractions that cut through the haze of perpetual mental check-ins, such as: When did I take my last dose of meds? Will I need to run any errands (or otherwise be required to function in public) during off times? If so, might I encounter someone who views me as walking like a drunk? More importantly, will there be a bathroom nearby? Does that bagel/sandwich/dinner entree have protein in it? Did I replenish […]
April 23, 2012

Parkinson’s Posture, Yoga Posture

April’s Parkinson’s Awareness Month brings out the word nerd in me. A crossword junkie, I savor words with multiple meanings. The bitter side, however, to more than one definition is that it can lead to misunderstanding, particularly in a yoga class. Posture (n) – the carriage of the body generally focused on the spine The term posture is a good example. A subtle shift in connotation occurs depending on context. The standard definition refers to an upright body position.  In yoga, it can be another word for pose, which can be upright, backwards, inverted, twisted, prone. In Parkinson’s, take the standard definition and subtract dopamine to equal the stooped, unsteady forward-lean when standing or walking. Posture (v) – to place oneself in a forced position Parkinson’s is a degenerative neurological condition that affects, among other things, balance and mobility. Medications and exercise can help. However, their effectiveness waxes and wanes.  A person with Parkinson’s may be at the […]
March 30, 2014

Yoga and Parkinson’s

Thank you to Helaine of the Parkinson’s Unity Walk for the honor of posting a guest blog. The motto for the Parkinson’s Unity Walk is ‘Make Every Step Count.’  I might add ‘Make Every Breath Count’: Click to view blog post on Unity Walk site:  Yoga and Parkinson’s
June 1, 2015

I’m Back with a Twist

Life happens. Still, I practice yoga. With a teenager in the house (translated: grocery shopping and parenting have shifted to overdrive, much like his hormones), speaking engagements, and an upcoming move to the other coast, I need to practice yoga. Add that my Parkinson’s clocks in at a full decade, it’s no surprise that life has interrupted my writing and posting about yoga practice. The shift in my practice reflects the changes in my symptoms, (which includes less “on” time). During the increasing “off” times, I turn to yoga. I’ve learned a great deal about how the body moves, adjusts, compensates, peters out. I’ve added modifications in classes, slowing not in approach but in this awareness. I talk it through to students, wondering at times if I’m talking too much. The answer came last week after a wordy explanation of a twist. The synergy in lengthening and contracting seemed an […]