Dear Penelope (aka my experience living with Parkinson’s Disease),

Hmmmmm, it’s been a big surprise for YOU to visit ME.  I never, in a million years, expected you. There were no notecards or signs you’d be coming to visit me. Nobody warned me. My brothers said nothing. My mother in law didn’t caution me. You are certainly sneaky. There were no signs.

I knew very little about you, but I thought you only visited old people. I’m nowhere near ‘old person’ status yet. What were you thinking? Since then I’ve learned you visit a large variety of ages.

Once you arrived, you got my ass back to exercise right away. I am grateful. My body wisdom knows the true power of exercise on one’s health and well-being. You quickly reminded me of this and are the constant motivation for me to move my body daily.

I truly believe it’s best to be present to each moment of life, but I lost sight of this last year. With a shake, shake, shake, you brought this right back to the forefront of my existence. I mean, how can I possibly ignore being present in any moment as you shake, shake, shake my thumb, my hand, my arm, or even my foot? I see you. I feel you. Yeah, you’re real powerful here. But you know what? I’m powerful too.

I know you love it as I do my balancing yoga poses. You make me question whether my efforts are possible.  For instance, is it possible to stand on one leg if you’re shaking half my body? Is it your pleasure to shake my body? Here’s a news alert: it’s unpleasant for me. Hell, I bet you can’t wait for the end of class, during savasana as we lay still, right? I know that’s your favorite part, as the teacher leads us to our stillness as we lie on our backs on our mats.  You’re right – it’s not so easy with you around. Not so easy at all.

I look for the lessons in your visit daily.

I look for how my life story and experience with you may help others in a positive way.

I yearn to stretch, grow, and expand as you’re a part of my daily existence.

I write my story as a means of personal therapy, internal processing, and an exercise in authenticity.

You see – I can be completely honest with what’s going on here, unlike many others you visit.  Most people you visit are quiet. They’re afraid co-workers will quickly look for signs of things getting worse which ultimately lead to losing their jobs. Since I don’t have the normal working arrangement with an employer, I share freely.

The curiosity about what you’re going to be like 5 years from now, or 20 years from now weigh heavy on me daily. Rumor has it, you get worse and worse. Your behavior is not welcome here.

Penelope, I didn’t invite you to visit.

There’s no need to say good bye on your way out.