In the August/September 2011 issue of Neurology Now, Dr. Brey invited readers to share how they have dealt with issues of major disease or their approaching death. I am a 72-year-old woman with Parkinson's disease (PD), and I would like to tell you how I am dealing with it. I have often observed in other people how such experiences tend to make a person better or bitter. Now it is my turn to make that choice.
The worst thing about PD is the fact that it progresses. For example, I now have to use a cane to walk plus have someone support me so I won't fall. Nobody wants to fall. I've also discovered that canes are a nuisance. But then much of life is spent learning how to handle such nuisances.
I have noticed, however, that the changes I dislike the most are the ones that teach me the most. My experience with PD has revealed more about myself than I ever wanted to know. Sometimes the lesson is about my strengths; sometimes the lesson is about my weaknesses.
Either way—better or bitter, strengths or weaknesses, health or disease—life is as crazy as it is precious, and the closer we come to end of it, the more precious it becomes. I am especially aware of that as I approach my twentieth year with this disease.
Problems don't wait to be invited into your life; they just walk through the door whenever they please. As much as I dislike them, I've also learned over the years that it is because of their presence that I have learned some of life's most important lessons, like how much people need each other and how much we all need God.
—Marjorie Ward Bottorff
Virginia Beach, VA