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!






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.