Parkinson’s — It’s Complicated — I’m Lucky

by author

I have written a number of articles trying to explain Parkinson’s and the impact it has had on me. It’s complicated. It impacts everyone differently, but it is all encompassing. It impacts body, mind and spirit. There is nothing else right?

I woke up way too early this morning. My body was sore, and needed to move, but my mind and spirit wanted to stay in bed. It’s mornings like this where I need to make a decision. I made the choice to have a good day.

I started my day going through my usual challenge of opening multiple pill bottles with child proof caps. I laugh to myself at the irony of struggling to open bottles to take pills that would help me more easily open the bottles. Maybe today will be the day I leave my pills out of the bottles to take tomorrow morning. Looking at the small moments with humour in this way helps me set the direction for my day.

Next I did a little stretching. Actually, it’s really just moving parts of my body after a night of laying still. I also reflected that some of how I am feeling may have to do with eating too much for dinner last night. We were out celebrating our anniversary. As much as I tend to blame everything on Parkinson’s, it isn’t always the sole cause.

It’s 5:30am on Saturday morning, so our home is dark. I’m not sure of the weather yet, but I can hear the wind howling outside. I have the perfect cup of coffee in my hand. I love this time of day by myself with my thoughts. It’s peaceful. I’ll be tired later, but that’s what naps are for.

I tore off the page from my golf calendar and read why golf is harder than baseball. In baseball, you don’t have to find and hit your foul balls. It made me laugh.

I reflected on the wonderful anniversary dinner we had last night with our daughter and her boyfriend. I looked at some notes I made yesterday for an article I am going to write on how much I hate leaf blowers and added a few more thoughts. I thought about my son and daughter in law on the other side of the country anticipating the arrival of our grandchild and remembered what that waiting felt like. My son sent me a note yesterday to make sure we had the same scotch to drink when he and I and the baby meet virtually. I can’t wait. I feel good. I’m not anxious. I have pills for that too.

I often say now I don’t have any choice whether or not I have Parkinson’s, but surrounding that non-choice is a million other choices that I can make.” Michael J. Fox

I made a choice to be well today. For me, so far, the impact on my body has been the easiest part of Parkinson’s to deal with. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, but with the help of drugs and a little fight, I still get by fairly well. Addressing the issues impacting mind and spirit is different than anything I faced before my diagnosis. When first diagnosed, my inclination was to try to beat Parkinson’s. That is a losing battle. Instead I have tried to embrace it and view my situation with a sense of humour wherever possible.

The impact of Parkinson’s on mental health is less understood than the physical symptoms. I know a lot of Parkinson’s sufferers use yoga both for the physical aspects as well as the spiritual. I may try that one day.

It’s easy to get caught up in the complexity of Parkinson’s and all its symptoms. Rather than list them all, here is a link to a list I have a lot of them although unfortunately not the weight loss one. For that I feel cheated. My sense of smell is weakened, and that has its upsides and downsides. Speech is something a need to work at.

Rather than being overwhelmed, I find that embracing moments like sitting by myself with a delicious cup of coffee and reflecting on life, helps get my mind and spirit aligned.

A good walk also does wonders, but these things don’t always work. If you see me on a day where I may not seem myself, that doesn’t mean I’m not trying. It may actually be the day I am working the hardest in my battle against this disease. Fortunately, I don’t have many of those days.

Michael J Fox entitled his first book “Lucky Man”. I get it. I feel lucky too.

Originally published at on October 10, 2020.



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John Matterson

John Matterson


I am a writer that happens to have Parkinson’s. I write about my experiences with a balance of humour, optimism and honesty.