REPROGRAM MY MINDSET
When first officially diagnosed, I refused to think of PD as a curse or a battle to be fought. I looked upon it as a challenge or a very clumsy dance partner. I was prepared to chart MY course and I refused to accept words like irreversible, downhill, hopeless, or progressive. I was prepared to be unique. I refused to passively follow the course outlined for me in the all the official scientific writings about PD.
I was not new to exercise, I had been a runner most of my life. Although three knee surgeries and two foot surgeries made it difficult over the past ten years. Nevertheless, I decided to step it up a notch. I tried weight lifting, but didn’t get much out of it and I thought it was boring. I finally settled on what I call Mindful Swift Walking.
The day after my official diagnosis, I started practicing yoga; one of the smartest things I have ever done in my life. I dove into the practice taking four or five lessons a week. In essence, I was not a PwP doing yoga, I became a yogi who happened to have PD. While I am always aware of having PD, it does not define me. Rather, what I’m doing with my life defines me and I fit PD in so I don’t deny I have it. It’s like I have an observant part of my mind focused on what PD does to my movement and corrects it at the time . . . all the time.
Becoming a PwP is fraught with dangers. The worst of all dangers is passivity . . . apathy. The curse of the recliner or of talking with other PwPs about your symptoms and how the medications are causing you problems.
I find the greatest satisfaction in my life is giving of myself to other people. I am blessed to have this pathway for the rest of my life: Do all that I can so others may experience the vitality I have. And in that process I encourage all PwPs to reach out and give of themselves to another person. It doesn’t have to be a calling. Just simple acts of kindness and beauty. Nothing is as rewarding as giving.
I don't have a fixed regimen because doing the same thing over and over again is boring and leads to dropping out. Somewhat introverted, I enjoy exercising alone. But many people I know thrive on group exercise, aware that solitary workouts would never work for them.
- Three days a week I go out Mindful Swift Walking; usually about 3 miles at a time. And when the weather is good and I have the time, I go hiking; oftentimes 5 or 6 miles at a time.
- Four days a week I take an hour long yoga lesson in a group at my health club.
- I meditate everyday.
- I practice yoga at home at least 3 days a week.
- My diet is basic. I ceased eating red meat. I enjoy salmon twice a week and the other days mostly vegetarian.
- I take one teaspoon of mannitol morning and night in two ounces of pomegranate juice.
- I make a point of sleeping a minimum of 7 hours a night.
- I read challenging material every day, about 75% is non-fiction
- I sing in a senior choir nine months a year.
- I direct our local Parkinson's Support Group.