Eating This or That

You can’t eat this, and you shouldn’t eat that –
there are a thousand different opinions you see,
of what to eat and what not to drink
from the medical forces to those with PD.

They tell you to stay away from milk –
it’s no good for you, you see –
even though you’re supposed to be upping
your intake of good-for-you vitamin D.

So – no more dipping Oreos.
no more ice cream or chocolate chip milkshakes
Only cereal that’s dry because you can’t have milk
on those Cheerios nor on those corn flakes.

And cereal, did you know, specifically Honeynut Cheerios
has four different types of sugar hiding inside its bag?
Yep – brown sugar, sugar, corn syrup, and caramel –
enough to send up several red flags.

Could the doctors be in this together?
Telling us what we can and what we cannot eat?
Why – they’re giving and getting reports of studies conducted
As to whether we should even meat.

Some say go ahead and indulge
Others say moderation and good choices are best.
While others will tell you to double up on kale,
Fresh broccoli, spinach and the rest.

So you try to choose something tasty,
Put it on your plate and pretend to enjoy chowing down.
Still, there’s only so much you can take,
as you partake of it while wearing a frown.

Simply named, I call it the ” PD Diet” –
guaranteed to help you maybe get a bit healthier .
While one doc says how great it will work,
Another cannot be one percent sure.

Dr. So and So says to leave the milk alone,
“It could cause pneumonia, down in your lungs, you see.”
And Dr. What’s His Name says cut out all bread
While Dr. Who’s It says regarding that bread,
“Go ahead and have two or three!”

Some doctors believe the consumption of protein
is okay if eaten at the right time of day –
not before a meal and not after as well
I say just forget it and have an avocado purée.

They’ll tell you to eat the dark chicken meat –
it’s easier to swallow as the stringy white kind.
Now, since I don’t care for dark, I guess I’ll skip both
and see if there might be something else I can find.

No added sugars in this PD diet as well
So I guess cookies are out of the question, too.
Cakes and pies are off the board
Anything pastry, flaky, and yummy just won’t do.

Beans, beans and more magical beans
Some more green stuff mixed in there too
Chew well, eat slowly, smaller bites will help
Lots of water will help wash down the goo.

This PD diet is just a tad bit facetious,
but tell me – what’s a body to do?
When I have one doctor tell me one thing
while another says differently,
It gets me craving a slice of cake or two!

 

 

 

 

 

A Slithering Snake, A Two Year Old, and His Grammy

Today I filled in my little pond. You would think I would have learned my lesson years ago, but no. Not me. And I filled in this pond for the very same reason I filled in my pond 25 years ago when I lived in California. Snakes.

I hate snakes. They slither and they are slimy and sneaky and I don’t care for them one bit. But about a week ago, I forgot about my dislike for snakes. I forgot they get thirsty as they slither along on the rocky pathways of your backyard. And, I forgot they like little bite-size fish.

So, my two year old grandson and his mom and I went to the pet store to buy some little orange goldfish to put in our newly made pond. Because I would do anything that makes my two year old grandson smile. We put them in the water as soon as we got home as the plastic bag they were in was just about to lose its contents from ‘somebody’s’ finger having put three holes in the bag in an attempt to capture and really ‘hold’ the fish.

They all seemed fine in their new home. Until the next morning. There were only 7 out of 8 left. I wrote it off to two-year-old induced traumatic circumstances. By the end of the first week, there was one left and on that day – today – is when I saw it. The snake. All three plus feet of it slithering from the pond toward the back gate and way too close to my two year old grandson who was trying to figure out how to turn on the sprinkler. I ran and grabbed my grandson as I screamed for my husband to get outside ASAP, no – NOW! As he rounded the corner, I saw he was barefoot and I screeched at him to not come down the stairs. I didn’t care what the neighbors were thinking right about now. My husband was probably wondering how I could all of a sudden be so loud given I have PD. It’s the speech therapy, dear. And the slithering snake.

As soon as I saw my grandson was safe, I went for my shovel. The sharpest one I had. I asked my husband what kind of snake he thought it was, pointing out it had no rattlers but it sure resembled a rattler. I’ve heard that baby rattlers didn’t always have their baby rattles yet, but I was pretty certain it wasn’t a baby considering it was over four feet long.

I ran around the raspberries to get on the other side of the direction he was slithering toward and stopped him as he watched for my next move. I raised the shovel to which he raised his head and stuck his tongue out. Well, no one sticks their tongue out at me and survives. Except my two year old grandson.

I raised the shovel and before that five foot snake could think about what to do, I brought the blade down in back of his head. He kept moving. I was sure I got him but it didn’t seem so, so I worked at it. And I worked at it and I worked at it some more until, despite his wiggling, I was certain he had met his demise via my dull bladed shovel. I met my fear in the form of a six foot snake and walked away victorious, my grandson safe.

As I sat thinking about this event, a light went on in my little dopamine deprived brain. Could it be that God loves us like a Grammy loves her two year old grandson? That He will do anything and risk life and limb to rid backyards of sly, sneaky enemies, such as seven feet snakes, just because He loves us that much? Silly, I know. But the part that really hit me was when I was attempting to rid the backyard of potential danger against my grandson and the more it wriggled and hissed, the more determined I was to make sure that eight foot python would not return. And that is exactly what God does. He will not stop until we all realize only He is God. Only He can rid the world of the sneaky, lying, slithering serpents that would love to devour us. But it’s our choice whether to believe He will, and then let Him handle the battle.

I don’t know about you but I have fought enough seven foot snakes to last my lifetime. But, I’d do it again if it meant keeping my grandson safe.

In a heart beat.

Vitality and Parkinson’s Disease

I received an email from someone concerned that they may have the beginnings of Parkinson’s. I have met others with the disease, but not someone wondering if the symptoms they are experiencing are from it.

I keep thinking about him. His worries take me back to the days before my diagnosis, when I was wondering what was going on with my brain and my body. I can relate to what he is going through and can understand it all too well.

He is scared, he tells me. I remember when I was where he is now: scared, uncertain, and desperate for an answer. The right answer. I now see that, even though my future is still uncertain, I was blessed with a wonderful doctor, the support of good friends, and a caring, loving, faithful family.

One of the biggest blessings? I have the opportunity to encourage others. That’s because I am further along on this journey than those just diagnosed. I was unable to see any good in it back then because fear of the future was overwhelming, as was a sense of hopelessness. I am still unable to see the good in it on the hard days. But when my vision and emotions are clear, I can.

In reality, isn’t the future uncertain for all of us, whether we have been diagnosed with a disease or not? None of us knows how things will turn out, when will be the last time we tuck our babies in bed at night, or what diagnosis we may be handed tomorrow.

When I think about this, I remember one of my favorite quotes: “Dance as if no one were watching, sing as if no one were listening, and live every day as if it were to be your last.”

That is how I want to live each day, whether I am fighting Parkinson’s or making peace with it. I want to dance without reserve, even if I stumble. I want to sing at the top of my lungs, even if others think I’m only whispering. And I want to live each day as if it were my last opportunity to do something, even if I am given a tomorrow.

It is hard to live like that, of course. There are so many distractions, so many reminders that our bodies are broken. Despite the distractions and the constant reminders that our bodies are struggling against disease, we can decide to live life to the fullest and enjoy the journey.

I read a tweet the other day about Tom Isaacs, a tireless Parkinson’s advocate. He died several weeks ago, leaving a hole in the community that is fighting for a cure. “The loss of Tom [Isaacs] is felt so keenly because he demonstrated a vitality that many think PD robs one of,” the tweet said. Most would not connect Parkinson’s with vitality, but I think the choice of words was spot on.

Vitality: endurance, stamina, strength, vigor, continuity, exuberance.

The word describes someone who knows how to live life, regardless of the path they’re on. It may not be the journey we would have chosen, but there will be good in it. We can despair over that journey or, like Tom Isaacs, live it with vitality.

It’s always better to wear a face of hope than of despair, I believe. This applies to all of us — but especially to ourselves.