Feb 10, 2014 | by Cindy Deluz | Cindy Deluz, an accomplished artist, is one of Parkinson’s Women Support’s founding members. It is with great honor that we have the privilege to publish Cindy’s thoughts on having Parkinson’s Disease. I especially love her description of the blessings.~Darcy Blake
In 2007 I was unexpectedly diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease…I was 47 years old. PD is a mysterious thief that takes up residency in a small part of the brain called the basal ganglia. Currently this dreaded monster is running one step ahead of us, but hopefully not for long. They say we’re getting closer to finding the long-awaited cure, however science hasn’t quite figured out how to stop Parkinson’s from destroying precious dopamine producing cells. Dopamine is a naturally occurring chemical that affects almost everything in the body including mood, sleep, and voluntary movements…long story short, it keeps us moving.
Luckily my disease has progressed somewhat slowly; which of course is a true blessing. I currently don’t suffer from noticeable tremors, however I realize that when it comes to PD, there’s no rhyme or reason. This heartless disease decides when and where it wants to travel. The bottom line is, Parkinson’s has zero mercy when it comes to quality of life. Am I scared? You betcha. Do I think about it? Everyday. It’s not that I consciously dwell on it; unfortunately when the meds wear off, I can’t help but be reminded that I do in fact have a disease. Currently I get a good 4-hour run before that dreaded thick feeling starts to rear its ugly head. The body slows down and fatigue quickly kicks my ass. Yes, being diagnosed with an incurable brain disease is a total frickin’ bummer, no doubt about it.
The Cool Blessings
However, there are some cool blessings that have come along with it. I think the most poignant gift I’ve been given is a soul awakening. It sounds corny, but like the beloved character in E.T., my heartlight began to glow. Simply put, I discovered a connection with higher spirit; my life suddenly began to hold more meaning. I actually began to feel as if I was a co-planner with the Divine. My internal volume went from a low six to a full-blown ten. I began to understand that the key to moving through the challenge was to face the fear itself. Don’t get me wrong; I still occasionally hide under the covers while traveling back and forth through Kubler-Ross’s five stages of grief. No one told me I’d have to revisit these damn stages more than once. I’m still mastering that “blissful Zen thing” we all seem to crave, but luckily on most days you’ll find me smiling more often than not.
I’m grateful that I now acknowledge that life is truly a gift. It’s funny because since my diagnosis I find most of my greatest pleasure now comes from tiny things. Things like: morphing into a tortoise in a very hot room, devouring a good book under a familiar blanket, noticing a person’s soul before their hairstyle, watching the twinkle in someone’s eye dance the Samba, hearing a gritty toad serenade me outside my window, watching my dog joyfully battle peanut butter, hearing my favorite song twice on Pandora, sipping a cup of Joe while conversing with a dear pal, and one of my very favorites…cracking up over stupid stuff with my daughter. My beloved bliss list seems to grow longer by the day.
Through my personal hardships I’ve gracefully grown to understand that none of us walk the earth unscathed. Each of us face personal battles that require deep courage. Our combats may be packaged differently, but the heartbreak and pain we feel are identical. Seems to me this is all the more reason to develop empathy and kindness towards one another. I suppose sometimes it takes an internal earthquake to realize the true meaning of life. We attend expensive classes, retreats, and workshops in hopes of finding inner peace and the answer to that all important elusive question, “Why are we here???” The funny thing is, it’s actually not nearly as complicated as we make it out to be. In fact it’s insanely simple…the purpose of our existence begins and ends with one precious word…love. This of course requires one to risk vulnerability, which is certainly not for the faint of heart. However once you realize we are all scared to death, opening up becomes far less frightening. I encourage everyone to breath a bit deeper, walk a bit slower, and smile from the inside out. Most importantly, “Turn on your heartlight, let it shine wherever you go, let it make a happy glow for all the world to see.” Please remember, love is your birthright, own it and then give it away. The more you do this your soul’s home will begin pouring in and you’ll see that life is already crazy in love with you. Be brave!