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Good Days & Bad Days

The past five days have been five of the most memorable and cherished days of my life......

Before that, I had four or five of the worst days of my life. Can you guess which way I would rather live all my days? Let me explain.

First, let me describe the 5 bad days. It was the last week of school. Only teachers will really understand how that last week can be so draining, both emotionally and physically. Students are off the wall and don’t want to do anything except shoot hoops, or hang with their friends, or watch movies. Teachers just try to get through the day and get some final lessons finished up and keep the kids focused. Grades are due, retirement parties to attend, closing up your classroom (or gym in my case), keeping groceries in the house, and I could go on and on with life’s chores. Finally, the last day comes and you walk out the door and feel free! But you also feel a bit alone. All the friends at school that you see everyday now will be absent from your day. The one thing that was lacking this week was my workouts. I was just saying how I felt “normal” the past month and SNAP, that changes. I can’t walk straight, I think about every step I take, I can’t workout as hard as I did before, I can’t box, I can’t write, I plan my movements to be the least amount of steps to get somewhere, I have trouble focusing. I feel restricted. I can’t do what I normally do. I am slower at everything. And I have PD friends that feel like this everyday, all day, without a break.

I feel lucky that my symptoms and disabilities are much less severe than some of my friends with PD. My symptoms were temporary and mild compared to others. Some PDers live everyday like this with no reprieve. I can understand why they get depressed, tired, unmotivated and hopeless. This disease stops us from doing what we want and love to do.

The day school got out, I went to the basement (my home gym) and pushed myself through 20 minutes of frustration. I set the wall timer and wasn’t leaving until the timer beeped. I ran with high knees, I jumped rope, I boxed, I rowed--but I did it with little energy and little strength. My body was just stuck. I had to focus on each specific movement. I pushed to get to that 20 minutes. And I have PD friends that feel like this everyday.

I continued for 4 or 5 more days to train as hard as I could with each day getting better and better. But it wasn’t fun. It was embarrassing for others to see me walk, stagger off balance, shake when I boxed, write really slowly. Eventually, about 5 days later, I finally felt “normal”. Ahhhh, it felt so good.

Fortunately, I can make a comeback like this. Many of my friends can not. That is why I fight so hard to not get there. I am scared to get there. I can’t get there.

Now, I can share with you the amazing days that I just had. I just spent five days with my two kids and my husband. My kids are 19 and 24, so these days as a family are scarce and almost extinct. We had five days of talking, arguing, playing, sharing, laughing, crying, bonding, learning and loving. I do not need to share exactly what we did in those 5 days because the important part is that we were all present with each other. We listened and grew stronger as a family and as individuals. We became better people and now understand each other better. We spent no money, it was all free. We have cherished memories that I don’t think the four of us will ever forget.

Highs and lows, peaks and valleys, struggles and successes. That is what life is all about. I keep working for myself, my family and all my friends with and without PD. Life is precious and we have heard that a million times. But if you really reflect on where you have been, where you are and where you are going, then you will realize that you must slow life down. Otherwise, you will be looking back without any more chances.

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