Look at you. You’re in Spain. You’re walking out here on the Meseta. How many people are doing this? How many people with a chronic disease do you see out here today?……Do something good, Carol. Find something good to do with it.” From The Ribbon of Road Ahead
Twitchy Woman has reached a milestone. This is post #201 ! ! ! When I started this blog, I never expected it to continue for as long as it has. And what a ride it has been. Somehow, I have posted almost weekly in the last 4 years, and am honored to have made Best Parkinson’s Blogs lists at least 6 times (see the sidebar). Other opportunities for me have come up as a result. I want to thank everyone of you who has been following me, whether it has been for 200 posts or just 1. My initial blogpost was seen by just 15 people. There are now over 1500 followers. Your support and encouragement have kept me going.
On my way to Kyoto!
Speaking of opportunities, as you may know, I submitted an abstract to the World Parkinson’s Congress. At medical meetings, researchers are asked to submit abstracts (a brief description of their research study). If their abstract is accepted, they will then create a poster based on their research for display. For the WPC, People with Parkinson’s (PwP’s) were also encouraged to submit their ideas (abstracts) for living well with PD. There will be hundreds of posters on display throughout the conference. If you are attending the WPC, look for me on Wednesday, June 5, between 11:30-1:30. I will be at my poster in space 649 to talk about it and I would love to meet you.
Thank you to all who responded to my survey for this project. I cannot give you the final results until after the WPC, but the most important things for someone to live well with PD are Exercise and Getting Enough Sleep. Neither of these should be a surprise for anyone with PD. If we don’t have a good night’s sleep, the daytime fatigue can be debilitating. And that fatigue manifests itself in many ways.
As far as Exercise is concerned, the more you do, and the more intense it is, the better. I had hand surgery last Thursday and have not been able to exercise since. I am already noticing, 5 days later, that my tremor is acting up more. We need to think of Exercise as medicine, and I have not been taking my medicine.
The Ribbon of Road Ahead
And speaking of exercise, I just finished reading an inspiring new book by fellow PwP, Carol Clupny titled The Ribbon of Road Ahead. After her diagnosis of Parkinson’s, Carol was determined to walk The Camino de Santiago. If you have traveled in northwestern Spain, from Pamplona to Santiago de Compestola, you may have seen hikers walking along the route marked with seashells pointing the way. Pilgrims from all over the world come to walk on this grueling 500+ mile network of pilgrim routes, from Southern France to Spain, for many different reasons, often hiking through rocky mountain passes. The Way, as it is called in the movie with Emilio Estevez and Martin Sheen, is difficult for anyone without disabilities, but Carol was not going to let that stop her. With her husband, son and other family members and friends at her side, she recounts the obstacles she faced as well as the accomplishments.
Carol went back 2 more times to walk parts of the trail with other women whom she had met along the way. She has also biked across Iowa 3 times with her husband on the annual 450 mile RAGBRAI (The Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) with the Pedaling for Parkinson’s team. Much of the ride was done on a tandem bike named Grepedo. She did all of this before her DBS surgery a couple of years ago. The final chapters recount her surgery and the small successes that were the beginning of regaining her life before PD. Her story is inspiring, and shows that determination and grit can help those of us with a chronic illness get through some of the more difficult times. Carol has indeed done something good by sharing her story with us. Look for Carol at the WPC in Kyoto if you are there.