The new, old me

While editing past blogs for a future book, I came across a piece written on February 14, 2021, six weeks after knee replacement surgery, while convalescing on the long road to recovery.

From Humbled (again): “…An increased mental fogginess and a slow-moving, painful stiffness of every muscle and joint in my body have begun to dominate my intensifying ‘off’ time …When ‘off,’ I cannot drive, think clearly, or converse. Maybe this is due to post-surgical inactivity and lack of rigorous exercise. Maybe not.”

Today, well into my 19th year since Parkinson’s disease (PD) diagnosis, the brain fog is thicker than ever as the pain and stiffness ebbs and flows without beginning or end. My dexterity continues to worsen as my arms grow weaker.

But life needn’t follow PD’s grim downward slide: we can adapt, altering perspective while rejecting the popular paradigm. Today, I drive without restriction, albeit only short distances at night. I rely on my judgment to keep me safe at any medication moment. Increasingly, I find myself in the boat bilge trying to fix something I wouldn’t have attempted years ago. Occasionally, I’m successful. Overall, I am more active in all facets of life than two years ago, including writing.

And I am happy.

It’s been five months since I resolved to stage a Comeback after reflecting on the disease’s progression. My current pushback strategy includes new tactics, notably two-minute cold water rinses at the end of regular showers and four to five saunas a week (145 degrees F to the 45-degree shower is one hell of an eye-opener!). I’ve also started daily breathing exercises.

The key to this active lifestyle-promoting strategy is mindset. By disregarding old habit patterns and beliefs, I find that my body is nowhere close to failing. A focused mind is a powerful tool, especially with new tactics. It’s like having the new, old me back. I’ve got a lot left in the tank, and I’m eager to use every drop.

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