Why? Because.

Finn's First Fingerpainting, age 9 months
Finn’s First Fingerpainting, age 9 months

As a child, I was taught not to question my parents. Growing up, I decided since I believed that God was sovereign and had a reason for everything that He did, there was no reason to question Him, either.

A few years ago, I finally got angry. I really hadn’t gotten angry yet over this thing called Parkinson’s disease, but I figured it was about time.

I had gone through some first stages of dealing with my Parkinson’s – sadness, grief. But never anger. It had been two years and it hit me. I was only 47, my doctor confident that I’d been struggling with this Little Monster since before the age of 32 (when it had been misdiagnosed as systemic lupus). But for me, on that day, it had been two definite years of knowing that I’d been labeled with Parkinson’s disease.

And that day I was angry.

Because I was only 47.

Because my right arm and my right hand shake.

Because my legs shake and my feet as well.

Because my jaw and face shake.

Because I can’t smell roses anymore.

Because sometimes it’s hard to swallow and do other things that I used to not think about like button my pants or put on my watch.

Because I get tired more easily and it’s hard to make it through the day without a nap.

Because I am not as strong as I used to be.

Because my foot drags and I’ve been known to trip on occasion and then fall.

Because I have fallen down stairs twice. Ungracefully, I might add.

Because my mind always seems scattered. (Hey, it’s my disease – I can blame anything on it!)

Because I don’t sleep well.

Because I can get nauseaus from the medicine.

Because I have Parkinson’s.

Those are all pretty good reasons to be angry, right? I wasn’t angry at God, but perhaps it would be better said, I was angry with Him. He allowed this to be, but He didn’t cause it. So, we got angry together. And in my anger, I wanted to ask, “Why?”

But I didn’t.

Instead, I sat there as He dried my tears and He whispered, “Jesus wept and He also asked why.” I stopped crying and thought about what He had just said to me.

My God, my God,” Christ cried out on the cross, “why have you forsaken me?

He was not condemned for asking His heavenly Father “Why?” and there doesn’t seem to be an answer there that we are aware of  to the question He asks of his Father. But I am quite confident the answer was there even if we are unaware of it. And I am quite confident that Jesus already knew what the answer was, just as I usually know the answer to my why’s, making it useless to even ask ‘Why?‘.

Why do I have Parkinson’s?

Why not?

Why not me??

Why does my friend have kidney disease?

Why do those we love struggle with hard things?

Why did my aunt have to die from medical neglect?

Why does a friend of mine have to care for children whose biological parents don’t care enough about their own children to get off of drugs?

Why, why, why?

As little children harassing our parents, the quick-witted response was usually, “Because, because, because!!!” As God’s children, the wise response is often also… “Because.” We can ask why until our list of questions is exhausted and the answer may still come back as “Because.”

I think asking why almost gives you an answer within the asking. By asking why of an all-powerful, all-knowing God, we are admitting that we cannot and are unable to control our lives nor the lives of those who we love. We realize that God is real, even though we may choose to walk away because of what He allowed for reasons we may never understand. We may choose to deny Him because we don’t agree with what He allows. He gives us a free will to make that choice.

However, while He allows things to happen in life that we would prefer to have pass over us and leave us unscathed from life’s messes and mistakes, He remains sovereign and is there with us, no matter how bad it gets. He will make us stronger, wiser, and humble inwardly and more compassionate, patient, and forgiving toward others outwardly. If I cannot understand the why’s, I can be thankful for the blessings that come out of the why’s.

So, ultimately, I have Parkinson’s disease. If just one life is encouraged, if just one life is strengthened, if just one person feels more hopeful and not alone – then that is why I have this Little Monster hanging around. And, it may not make me happy to have PD, but it definitely brings me joy to be used because of it.

Journeying with you ~


On Haldol (Haloperidol)… Again.

In Black and White
In Black and White

For some time, it has been known that Haldol (Haloperidol) is one drug that should be avoided by people who have Parkinson’s disease.  It amazes me that conferences I have attended, webinars I have seen, things I have read by specialized doctors in the PD community all reiterate the claim: stay away from this and other like drugs.

However, when you talk to many PD patients, they have no idea that there is any concern over certain drugs being administered to PD patients.  Why? Because in most cases, they administered while you are in the hospital for some other reason other than PD related and the medical staff is unaware of the dangers, as well.

Most nurses AND doctors are not educated in the field of Parkinson’s disease and so administering drugs to calm a patient is seemingly protocol – NOT.

Over Thanksgiving, my mother n-law was telling about her time in the hospital a few years back and a doctor on duty ordered an MRI for her. She fought with the orderly over going to have it done as she lay in her hospital bed. She told the orderly, after insisting she wasn’t stepping foot in that room, that she had a pace maker.  The doctor later came to her and apologized for that ‘minor’ overlook.  What if she hadn’t been coherent? What if…

The point: you have to be proactive with your care and treatment. You have to know more about you than those caring for you or a life-threatening mistake could occur (see my previously published article of a PD patient and their experience with Haldol as told by his son in-law).

So, if you have PD,  here are the drugs you need to make  a note of to AVOID: Haloperidol (marketed as Haldol, Haldol Decanoate, and Haldol Lactate). This is an antii-psychotic drug, often prescribed to people with schizophrenia. Other like drugs include risperidone (Risperdal), aripiprazole (Abilify) and olanzapine (Zyprexa). These drugs will play havoc on your brain or much worse. One conference speaker (doctor – movement disorder specialist) went so far as to say they will KILL a person with PD.

There are, however, two drugs (antipsychotic) that can be used  without  a problem to the PD patient: quetiapine (Seroquel) and clozapine (Clozapine).

Well, I have done my Haldol rant for the year, but I’ll be back just in case you forget.

Are You Reay to be Loved? RUN!!!

orange_poppies.JPGWhen my son was born, until the age of almost three, he had constant ear infections.  After the third or fourth time, it became easier to identify that another was coming on and I could get him to the doctor before it became too painful.  Most of the time.

I do recall one experience of having that motherly instinct of knowing he was getting another and taking him in to the doctor.  His regular doctor was out and another doctor saw him.  He assured me after checking him briefly that there was no cause for worry.  I wanted to assure him that I was most certain he was wrong.

At twelve o’clock that night, my son woke up screaming, his ear filled with pain.  I did everything I could to help him.  I gave him Tylenol.  I held him.  I rocked him.  I cried with him.  He screamed in pain until morning.

A few weeks ago, I had an ear infection.  It began with a gradual achiness followed by intense pain and pressure for about five days, at which time I felt it was going to burst and to be quite honest, I almost wanted it to just to relieve the pain and the pressure.

No one ever gave me Tylenol.   No one held or rocked me or saw me crying in the dark when I could not sleep because the pain was so intense, but then, they did not know because I was not crying out in agony.

This is what I learned…

When my son, at the age of two, was in pain, he writhed in discomfort and screamed for release from the grip of his ear infection.  Oh how I wanted to comfort him and hold him tight so that he knew he was not alone.  I rocked him to try to soothe him and as I held him closely, I cried with him, wanting badly to be able to take his pain away.

When I was in pain a few weeks ago, for the most part, I kept it inside.  No one else needed to hear how much it really hurt.  No one could rock me and comfort me and it made me think…  Isn’t that what God wants us to do with him?  Yet, we try to keep the pain in our lives and the heartache we experience hidden deep inside, when all the while He is waiting for us to cry out to Him for help.

A friend was saying that another of her friends was not going to be able to do an event that they had planned for this year.  She said the other person had been having some recent struggles and had to cancel.  Then she withdrew and ‘disappeared’ (not literally) from her network of friends.  My friend made a comment that went something like this: “I’ve told her there’s still a spot for her on the team, but she’s got to walk through the door.”

I liked that.

Do I sit and suffer, failing to run through the door crying out to God for relief? The only One who can truly subside the pain? Do I writhe in pain when it hurts so bad inside that I think I cannot tolerate it for another minute or do I run quickly, first, to the One whose arms are always open wide and waiting? The pain of life can come in a foreclosure on the only home you have known.  A divorce.  An illness.  The loss of a loved one.  You lose your job.  The list goes on.

Sometimes that is the only thing we can and should do.  Sometimes that is the best thing to do.  To become like a child and run into the arms God and just let Him hold you and rock you. Let Him soothe you and wipe the tears as He wraps you safely in His arms.

He is waiting to love you.  Are you ready to be loved as only He can do? Then… Run!



I am one of those people who could easily, depending on the size (of course), wear the shirt that says, “I’m correcting your grammar in my head as you speak.” For as often and as many mistakes as I make in typing, whether it be grammatical or in the area of spelling or punctuation, it still bothers me to see spelling errors in something typed professionally that I know was edited by someone. Or punctuation done improperly. Or ill-grammar usage. Even though it is a pet peeve of mine, I make just as many blunders and they slip by unnoticed. I don’t get frustrated with the writer (myself excluded), just over the mistakes. Maybe it’s part of having OCD (obsessive compulsive days).

Unfortunately, it happens now, more than ever. Take today for example…
I filled out a form today that asked my name, my email, and to check a little box. That’s it. So, I filled out my name, my email, and left the little box unchecked.
37 seconds.
37 seconds is what it took to fill out my name, my email, and the ignore that little box.
I used to type at 72 wpm. When I first started having tremors it began to decrease to 65, then 60, and who knows what it is now – probably 10-ish or even less. And it frustrates me because one of the greatest joys in my life is writing.
Writing articles, children’s stories, devotions, inspirational stories, and so much more. But it can be sooooo frustrating because the going can be sooooo slow and full of errors and mistakes and going back and fixing and fixing and fixing. Whatever the reason, I keep doing it because I love it and believe that for some reason that I don’t understand, God wants me to keep doing it. Perhaps it’s because often it is therapy for when I am weary. Perhaps it’s encouragement for others. Perhaps it’s something else.
I don’t struggle with tremors as much after having surgery for DBS (Deep Brain Stimulation), but I do struggle with making my fingers work the way I want them to. They seem to have a mind of their own. Yes, I want to throw the computer out the window sometimes. Writing by hand isn’t an option. No one would be able to read it by the second line.
But… I keep on. I have to keep on. I don’t have an option. Writing is a lifeline. It is a joy. It is a gift God gave to me and since He hasn’t asked for it back, I will keep using it as long as I have breath. Until then, anyone know of a really good program for those who are ‘writing-impaired’? I’m trying to better my typing speed.

Where Does Your Strength Come From?

imageGrieving can and often does involve suffering, sorrow, sadness, hurt, depression, a feeling of affliction, and more. Grief is most commonly related to and thereby put into a category of death and dying.  However, grief covers so much more than our expression over the loss of a loved one.  

I was reading a verse from Nehemiah 8:10 which says, Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength. Grieving can be an every day part of life for someone with a chronic illness like Parkinsons disease.  The first occasion to experience grief is upon diagnosis.  You realize that from that moment on, nothing will ever be the same.  There was no physical death, but eventually you realize that life from that day forward will be looked upon differently.  Some days will be looked upon with grief in the form of sadness and sorrow while others will be met with smiles and laughter.  Our path will not have necessarily changed, but we will face it with different emotions.

People who live with a chronic illness can be easily upset with life if they feel theyve been dealt a hand they dont deserve or refuse to accept.  This is a form of grieving in the way of anger and of asking why.  Why me? Why this? Why now? (As pondered in the justified mind of a Young/Early Onset Parkinsons patient.)  The whys of life can leave a person grief-stricken, as they can be hard to make much sense out of and/or hard to understand, if not impossible.  This can often lead to a deep sadness or depression and weve learned that depression is one part of the whole picture that patients often have to deal with, (It is wise to seek treatment if you are in this stage of grief.)  You may be waiting for a good day to come and, if youre fighting depression along with all the other challenges PD has to offer, that good day may not come.  


Affliction comes in several different ways through Parkinsons disease.  Pain, tremors, lack of balance, difficulty swallowing – the list goes on and on.  Each day we encounter different tests’ this disease seems to constantly give.  Will you lost your balance and actually fall this time? Will the tremors cause you to withdraw from the social activity you scheduled for the day?  Will the pain rob you of doing what you love?  Will going out to lunch embarrass you should you begin one your choking spells? The list of afflictions doesn’t end there.  We can feel slightly pricked or punched hard in the gut, depending on the severity of the test.  Its a state of misery that leaves you feeling helpless, sometimes hopeless and hopeless is such a dark place to be.  


There is hope.  I started this out with a verse that I had read today.  Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’  Its not always easy to not settle in with grief as our companion.  Life as we once knew it has changed and some days have been replaced with deep sorrow over what we have lost or may lose.  Anticipation has been replaced with anxiousness and fear.  Fear of the what ifs.  Borrowing trouble from tomorrow.  Thats what the’what-ifs’ are made of. Tomorrow’s un-guaranteed trouble.


Instead of what-iffing ourselves into depression and sorrow, let’s learn to allow the joy that comes from the Lord to be our strength. Let’s replace sadness with hope, sorrow with thanksgiving, grief in its entirety with trust. His joy will build us up through this trial of life called Parkinson’s disease and keep us from falling into the abyss.  And joy is so much better, don’t you think?

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…you are not alone.