Don’t Forget

Don’t Forget.

DBS (deep brain stimulation) surgery is a real possibility for me in the near future. My miracle medication, Levodopa, is starting to lose its effect reminding me what I try to forget — Parkinson’s is a regressive disorder. At my most recent neurologist appointment, I had a levodopa challenge test. I had to be off my miracle medication for twelve hours to gather data on how effective this medication is for me. This information is needed for the brain surgery. For twelve hours I had to be reminded of what I try to forget — this disease is not going away and it was frightening to live in that body for twelve hours unmediated.

During the same twelve unmediated hours, I received heartbreaking news that a dear friend’s husband has Alzheimer’s.

As much as I try to forget– there is no cure for many neurological diseases that ravage and destroy. Yesterday forced me to think about what I try to forget– the late stage of these diseases.

I try to forget — some day that will be me. Even though this is a bit sad, I am going to tell you what I don’t want you to forget — when I am in that late stage. Then, you fill in the blank for your loved one.

Don’t forget — this is not the real me. I am not this body but trapped inside it. Don’t forget.

Don’t forget — my smile and how I am not very photogenic. We laughed about this often.

Don’t forget — that I am funny. Tell the stories of all those funny moments we shared.

Don’t forget — that I love dogs. It lifts my heart to have a fur ball snuggled next to me.

Don’t forget — that I am passionate about children’s causes and bettering their lives.

Don’t forget — that I am a fighter. I am still fighting.

Don’t forget — that I’m your friend. I would give you a hug if possible.

Don’t forget — I am your sister. You still need to ask to borrow my clothes.

Don’t forget — I am your mom. I love you dearly for who you are, not what you do. I brought you into this world and I may not be able to take you out now, as the saying goes, but you know my expectations– men of character.

Don’t forget — I am your wife and even though you now are my caretaker, I am passionate for you, adore you, still love your legs. Keep biking. You have great legs.

Don’t forget — the real me. I’m just trapped inside this mortal body.

Don’t forget — to be happy. I believe in Jesus. You don’t have to worry about me. I look forward to heaven where I will be greeted with a new whole body.

Don’t forget– I love you.

For your loved one, what would they say.
Don’t forget — ________.

While I am still in the earlier stages and don’t expect this to be me for a long time, and I am still praying for a cure. I want to remind you some day — don’t forget.

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All My Sisters and Me

img_2310“We are family….. I’ve got all my sisters and me!” Well, actually I just have one younger sister, but she means the world to me. If you take a close look at the picture of the two of us, you can see she was the favorite one. Why else would my mom put that God-awful hat on me and dress her up so cute? We have laughed about that for years. When we were growing up, she had to endure my first born dominance of hogging the bathroom, bossing her around, and can I just admit to all. I did tickle her until she wet her pants. I think that was sort-of a form of torture. She wasn’t laughing. She has forgiven me and has become a treasure in my life. …And I have forgiven my mom for the hat!

I have three boys who I have watched wrestle, tease, and fight over their growing up years. However, I do not believe there was any tickling torture in my home. I have said the prayer countless times as I watch them interact. “Please, Lord, let them be friends as adults. Let them see the gift that they are to each other.”

It warms my heart as I see that happening.

People don’t always stay close to their siblings when they are adults. It takes acceptance, understanding, and a lot of forgiveness. It takes being intentional and reaching beyond oneself. It isn’t easy, but it’s worth it.

I love my many many friends, but I have only one sister. However many you have, value them. Don’t let a gap widen in your relationship. Warm your mama’s heart. Give them a call today.

….. and don’t even get me started on cousins. I adore my cousins!

“We are family…….

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And They Battle On

I have been taught a new lesson about how to live life in the past two days. I am in Florida with my parents and their “snowbird” friends. They have all flocked together to escape the harshest Mother Nature has to offer in the north for three or four months.

Before I came down here, I would chuckle and shake my head every time I would call my mom on the phone. She never had more than 20 seconds to talk to me. The conversations went a little like this. “Hi, Mom. How are you? Guess what? I just found out I need surgery on my foot.” “Oh, Lisa, I’m sorry to hear that, but I’ll have to call you back. Bocce Ball starts in 10 minutes.” Other familiar responses would be “May I call you later? — we are meeting people for dinner, friends are coming over, we are off to serve at a mission center, we are off to church, or I can’t hear you from the noise at the pool.”

From my wintery cold sunless end of the cell phone, I enviously envisioned “the lucky ones,” as I thought of them, blissfully laughing and effortlessly living out their golden years without a care, so I thought.

I have visited my parents and the friends they have met over the past few years at this condo in Florida several times in the past, but for some reason, I see them through new lenses now. Don’t get me wrong. I know they all are fortunate to have the means to be able gather and escape the darkness of winter. I am well aware that they are all fortunate enough to even escape the world of work and have retirement years as I know that they are in the minority of the world’s population of poor. However, what I see clearly now are lovely people who are gracefully doing the best they can. You can escape the snow, cold and ice storms, but you can’t escape the harshness of what life brings with it the older you get. You can’t escape the physical aches and pains and the emotional scars of loss after loss. Getting old is not for sissies.

Of their friends, there is one man who refuses to put his beloved wife in a nursing home. ” I have done things as her care taker that I never dreamed I would do, but you do what you need to do,” he shared. — and he battles on with a cigar in his hand.

There is woman from a distance who looks like she could be a model. She is graceful, beautiful, fashionable. You have to look very closely to see the hint of grief that follows her. She has lost a husband, son, and almost lost a grandson in a random shooting. — and she battles on.

I get a hug from another friend I have met in the past who remembers me. She is one of the kindest people I know. I would never have dreamt that welcoming, thoughtful soul carried with it a real depression that relentlessly won’t leave her alone — and she battles on.

There are countless stories of love, resilience, fortitude, and acceptance living in these condos. If I am wise, I will take away a lesson that will serve me well in the years to come.

As I listen to the echo of their laughter at an evening pool- side gathering, I hear them share stories from their past. Through the pain that aging brings with it, they find each other and share, love, and live life abundantly, not alone, but as birds who flock do, together. That is the lesson I have learned, together.

Together– and they battle on.

 I used to be a stay in the lines, go with the flow, don’t make waves kind of person. I have changed. Parkinson’s is one of the many cards dealt to one in life that can shift the mind set. I am now a find the line and push beyond it, swim against the flow, and waves? I will splash and make as much joyful noise as I can, while I can, fearlessly. This site is meant to bring hope, inspiration, and make you think a little deeper about life. I hope you walk away from reading a post with something to think about or smile about for the day.

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