La Rocca behind the town of Cefalú, Italy

July 13, 2014 | by Darcy Blake | It has been a year since my Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery and I’m proud to say it has been a great year. I just returned from Sicily, Italy, where I climbed La Rocca, a huge rock that looms over the seaside town of Cefalú, keeping pace with my climbing party! I have no tremor, side effects, or unexpected surprises from DBS except that I feel wonderful. I conquered my worry about travel with a neurotransmitter, successfully passing through security in the Italy, Munich and Brussels airports with no glitches. During the past year, I’ve tried to live life with purpose, since I feel so thankful to live without tremor. Due to my positive outcome, I’m moved to share the potential success of DBS with others.

Aside from working full-time, I made Before and After DBS, a film about DBS that I entered in the Neurofilm Festival. It didn’t win first place but I feel very good knowing that 1,139 people have watched it so far. My friends and I co-chaired a fundraiser that raised almost $8,000 for the Parkinson’s Institute. Our Parkinson’s Women Support blog and Facebook page have grown with about 330 likes on our page. Now we’re busy planning a walk at the National Parkinson Foundation Moving Day in Silicon Valley on April 25, 2015.

I volunteer for Kaiser Permanente’s neurology department and I was able to visit with patients as part of my duties. It was awesome to meet patients just out of surgery and reassure them that they might be able to volunteer, in a very short time.

At a recent wedding for a friend who happens to have Parkinson’s Disease, there was no mention of PD during her joyous ceremony, and that sparked a particular realization for me: Life goes on even with a chronic illness if you have the resolve to make it happen. You can live life fully, and meet your challenges with determination. I’m thinking of the documentary Ride with Larry where Larry, who has had a 20-year battle with Parkinson’s, attempts the unthinkable, a 300-mile bike ride across South Dakota, in a torrential storm. He made the film as “a statement of possibility.” As he said, “What’s the alternative? Not going anywhere?”

The year has taught me that you can go anywhere and do anything if you want to do it. You may move slower, or shake a bit, or walk on the wobbly side, possibly reducing your expectations of the outcome, but with resolve, you can find a way to squeeze the best out of life. I’ll be cheering you on as you climb your rock with Parkinson’s Disease!

About Parkinson’s Women Support
The  mission of Parkinson’s Women Support is to offer moral support, encouragement, and camaraderie for women who are either Parkinson’s Disease patients or caregivers. Check out our Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/parkinsonswomen

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