Warrior Spirit Award – Pam Feldman
Doing what I love, need and want to do to live the best possible way I can with this condition.
I remember the day well when the neurologist confirmed, in 2012 that I had Parkinson’s Disease It was bright and sunny outside, setting up a dismal contrast with the tray of 12 dark grey bottles that the nurse brought into the neurologist’s rooms. After opening each one, Dr X asked me to identify the smell and I scored a pathetic 3 out of 10.
There is no doubt that you have Parkinson’s Disease as your lack of smell is a reliable indicator of the disease. I also noticed the slight tremor of your upper lip and your gait is awkward.
You have Parkinson’s Disease is not a diagnosis anyone wants to hear. I tried to hide the disease for several years because I was metaphorically drowning in despair. I have always been active and was devastated when I was forced to give up my lap swimming. I felt as if I was literally going to drown. I felt desperate for something that would get me afloat, help take away my shame and make me feel physically and emotionally strong again. And then, by chance, by instinct, by my searching on the internet for an on-line exercise programme, I came across PD Warrior in 2014.
For the first time, I felt hope, I felt supported by a programme that gave me a sense of control. What does this mean for me now? I love the times when my balance, while doing ‘frogger flick,’ for example, is perfectly fantastic or ‘keeping light on my feet’ becomes a tangible, embodied feeling. These are those ‘wow’ moments that keep me focused and motivated. But that day when I got back into the pool, pushed myself off the edge and ‘WOW’ I did several laps of crawl and breast-stroke as if I had never been out of the pool. I have come to realise that these successes, these many small ‘wow’ moments, can open us up to all that is extraordinary, all that takes our breath away as we think,’ WOW, that was amazing.’
I still struggle with dealing with the medication, socialising, doing everyday tasks such as closing and opening buttons. But when I continue to negotiate my life between the ‘offs’ and the ‘ons,’ I do what I love, need and want to do, to stave off the progression of this disease. I engage in various challenge tasks, do cardio exercises 3 times a week, committing to several warrior workouts as often as I can.
And I am grateful to find the fantastical, the big ‘WOWS’ in the ordinary everyday little ‘wows’ to just live my life a little better each day