“When you arise in the morning, think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive – to breathe, to think, to enjoy, to love.” — Marcus Aurelius
It has been a tough week. Mr. Twitchy and I lost a dear friend. Younger than us. Vibrant. Active. Beautiful. Smart. Talented. Multi-talented.
Just two months ago, we saw her perform the lead role in a play in the Phoenix area that she also produced and directed. She was awesome. At the time, we noticed she had a little cough, but so do we all from time to time. A few weeks later she started feeling some pain in her stomach, and was having moderate problems breathing. Her doctor did her blood work and, while not perfect, there was nothing alarming. She was scheduled to see him again in about a month.
Then she and her husband, a friend of almost 40 years, took a trip to California. We were supposed to see them but they had to cancel. Her abdominal pains and breathing issues had become so severe that they cut their trip short and went back to her doctor. He put her in the hospital immediately. Within days she was diagnosed with a particularly nasty and aggressive form of lymphoma. In another 10 or so days, the lymphoma had won. She went on hospice care this past Monday and passed away Wednesday morning – about 4 weeks from feeling mostly normal to being gone.
For some of us Parkies, our disease is truly disabling and life altering. For others of us – myself included – the disease is mostly just an annoyance. But whatever our individual level, it can be easy to fall into the woe-is-me trap, because we know we will never be fully “normal.” We just have to be better and stronger than that. We must focus on the quality of life we still have and can enjoy, rather than focusing on our regrets of what we no longer have.
Regular readers will remember that I have previously written that it is ok to have the occasional pity-party and cry if you want to over the portions of our selves that we have lost. Just don’t make it a habit. We have to pick ourselves up and return to fighting as hard as we can to maintain as much quality of life as we can.
As much as anything, that is what this week’s loss has snapped so clearly back into focus. It should not take the loss of a loved one to remind us that, while we deal with our limitations and while we still hope for a cure, we can never stop the fight to continue to live lives that are as fulfilling – and as joy-filled – as possible.