Wednesday, March 14, 2012

'Old Friends'

The longer I battle Parkinson's Disease, the more mindful I seem to be about the plight of others.  In  the early days as my fight was just beginning, it was all about me and I found that worrying about others was just a waste of time.  But now, I seem to be more aware of the problems that other people are facing, finding great therapy in directing my energy towards serving some higher purpose.

It has now been sixteen years since my diagnosis and actually I am doing quite well. If the truth be told, I am doing remarkably well considering all that I have been though.  My illness is no 'walk in the park' so I am grateful for all the good days that come my way.

But now I would like to focus on someone else's struggle, an old friend who has her own illness to deal with.  For privacy reasons I feel obligated to keep her name, her illness and all other personal information personal.  However, I would like to talk about what makes her and her husband such special people and why I feel so fortunate to be able to call them 'old friends'.

We met in middle school when my family relocated from the gulf coast of Alabama, to the foothills of South Carolina.  It didn't take long for me to realize they were special.  Both of them were popular and   entrenched as members of that special group of people that everyone seemed to gravitate towards, and they still are today.  There were other friends I made during these early years, but there friendship was one of the most endearing. 

There are many others whose lives have been enriched by my 'old friends'.  Their character, integrity and desire to serve others cannot be contained or bridled.  Although we see each other rarely, time knows no bounds between the three of us, and I am secure in the knowledge that they would be there for me if I ever were to need them.

So I pray for my 'old friends', and I ask God to intervene on my behalf granting them the strength, the courage and the faith to deal with her disease much like he has done with mine.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Parkinson's Disease Is Closing In On Me

There are certain mornings, in that instant between sleep and awareness, right as the brain haze is starting to lift and consciousness is setting in for the day, that I feel the most normal.  But, this is only for a fleeting moment and in no time I revert back to the old status quo.

Parkinson's Disease is closing in on me and I am starting to sense small setbacks in areas of my life that once were so strong and solid.  The newest adversary without question is anxiety.  This uneasiness of the mind, or fear of some contingency, create big problems out of small ones, and small problems out of things that used to be nonexistent.

The 'what if's' spawn the greatest amounts of anxiety.  This causes one to worry about things that may need not be worried about at all.  But isn't this normal?  Don't people in good health face the same challenges?  If so, then maybe the ability to cope with these contingencies allow for a more a normal lifestyle.

So once again, isn't it the brain's ability to process this uneasiness that set it on the proper path towards good mental health? 

Maybe the old adage is true, 'it is not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters most'. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012

How Do I Live With This Disease?

How do I live with this disease?  I am constantly asking myself this question as I live my life literally from moment to moment.  Like an old broken record it plays over and over, never relenting or subsiding.  Without sympathy, it marches down a path preordained by fate.  It takes no prisoners, leaving in its wake, the remnants of hope and optimism that I once had in such abundance, when my life's journey begin.  I have said it before, Parkinsons Disease is a disease of inches, and those of us who share this affliction earn every inch.  

It is not the disease that binds us. What we share in common is PD's sheer relentlessness and its complete lack of forgiveness.  It never backs up, and it never gives in.  

But the human spirit is strong and formidable in it own right.  Maybe it holds the answers to why we struggle, and maybe there we will find the answer to living with this disease.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

It's A New Year With New Aspirations (But The Same Old Parkinsons Disease)

Saturday, December 31 2011

It's a new year and time to clean the slate and start again with new goals and dreams.  All the acomplishments and milestones reached in 2011 can be forgotten, while 2012 and all it has in store is at best a life in question.  Health questions abound and I really have no idea of the answers that might present themselves as I move confidently thoughout the months ahead.

But I know that as I move through the upcoming year, I must remain positive and optmistic taking the good with the bad, since it appears I really have no other choice.  Parkinsons Disease 'is what it is', and the sooner I learn to accept this, the better off I will be. 

I will continue to have hope for advancements in the field of research, because hope is critical.  It was once said that if you have your health you have everything.  This is not exactly true.  I feel that if you have hope you are much better off!

March ahead with hope and let the universe handle all the details!!         

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Deep Brain Stimulation; My Experience With Brain Surgery

I have not spent a lot of time discussing Deep Brain Stimulation, or how it has affected my lifestyle.  The reason for this is simple.  I'm not quite sure I am qualified.  Yes, I was the one that endured the hours of surgery, and yes, I was the one who dealt with all the unknowns that brain surgery brings to bear.  But DBS is a complicated eight step procedure that even a healthy brain has a hard time grasping.  But since this surgery is apparently a hot topic in the world of Parkinsons Disease research,  I will give it my best shot, hoping for an interesting and informative read.

From the outset I want to make it clear that I don't consider myself much of an author,  so the flow of this piece may be a little choppy and certainly not very well written.  But if you bear with me, I may be just good enough to get the letters to form the words, the words to form the sentences and the sentences to form the paragraphs needed to carry this message and convey these ideas.  I guess its worth a try...

By the way this will be served with just a taste of humor...     

One of the first things that bothered me about DBS was the fact that the first surgery was performed, not on me, but on a laptop computer.  Not on lab rats, space monkeys or even crash pad dummies, but a freeking laptop. That's sounds like a practice swing to me. Also, laptop computers can't talk, except in a computerized sounding voice way to hard to understand.  So how do  docs interact with something that doesn't know what interact means...

It was all a big mess...  

This was my first visit to a hospital,  so I was understandably nervous.  I learned quickly that 'nerves and needles' don't mix.  I should have seen it as a sign of things to come, when my initial iv took four jabs to take and nurses started laying odds on just how many 'sticks' would be needed in order to finally put this thing to rest.

All surgeries take place at The Medical University of South Carolina.  Tuesday mornings of each week are set aside for DBS procedures.   These surgeries can begin so early that even the roosters have not yet stirred.  So at five in the morning a host  of hospital personnel arrived to escort me downstairs to begin this painful ordeal.  Once downstairs activities begin.

It starts with an MRI that I'm not real excited about.  This is followed by a CT Scan, and then, just when I thought I may duck the most painful parts, out come the power tools. An electric drill is good for a lot of things, but one thing it is not good for is drilling though the human skull (especially with me still in it).  You will never convince me otherwise, regardless of how hard you try.  To add insult to injury the doc doesn't think one time is enough, so he proceeds to drill four holes in strategic locations around my head.

Doesn't This look Comfortable???
More comes later...

The drilling of these different locations around my head was done to hold my skull perfectly still for the surgery scheduled for a little later that morning.  So with its completion I was taken back up to my room to await further abuse.  The headgear was extremely uncomfortable, especially for the length of time I had to wear it.  To make matters worse, friends of mine who had made the trip to show support, couldn't help but comment how much I resembled Hannabal Lector.   Although, I was in no mood for bad humor, I played along attempting a smile for as long as I could hold it.  However, what I was in the mood for was the stuff they were putting in that iv bag.

The morning seemed to drag on...

By ten o'clock, this same group of doctors and nurses arrived again for my escort down to the operating room.  I was hoping for a tour of the hospital, but no such luck.  One of the doctors explained I was going to a staging area, to get me ready for surgery.  I was praying they would unscrew the headgear, but again, no such luck.  Maybe, I thought, it was never coming off.  But if not, since this was mid October, I had my costume and I was ready for Halloween.  I was  pretty scary looking!

So, I'm down in the staging area, waiting for God's knows what when I notice this middle age couple across the room.  Since I really have nothing better to do, I start to eavesdrop on their conversation and in no time I surmise he is a Citadel grad.  For some reason I found that to be very comforting, so I yell my 'hellos' from across the room. I was beginning feel no pain, but I do remember The Citadel Class of 1988.  Even though our years were different, Citadel stories never change and alumni can always find that common ground and the ties that bind.

Go Time...

I don't remember everything real clearly after this point.  I know they took him away first, and as I waited, for the first time I felt alone.  Usually lonely moments are prayer moments, so I had my conversations with God, handed it all over to him and then just waited...

It is now out of my hands...

I really can't say at what point the drugs took hold but the next thing I remember was coming to and seeing the neurosurgeon staring down at me and asking how I felt.  He then proceeded to say they needed to do some interactive work with me to make sure that all my implants were working properly.  This was the part of the surgery were I was awake while they tweeked my connections to find the optimal settings.  Everything was a blur, as I tried to answer all questions to the best of my ability.  This lasted for about another hour.  The good news was the pain was at a minimum and I felt good overall. But it was only later that I found out the reason that my head wasn't hurting.  You see the brain is the only organ in the body that cannot feel it's own pain, and their must have been a lot of pain I was missing out on.   

There must have been a time limit associated with this brain/pain thing, because it made up for it in recovery,  showing up in abundance.  So much so that I was given morphine to help me cope and within several hours was speaking to friends and well wishers from the recovery room.  That morphine was good drugs.

Thank goodness my headgear was off...

So I spent several hours in recovery, minus the headgear.  During this time the doctor came by to report all went well, and that the first of my two surgeries was complete.  Remember, this was only one side of my brain, we still had another left to go.

I left the hospital the next afternoon, all wrapped up like a Christmas present.  I was eager to get home and sleep in my own bed.  As we headed up I-26 I felt  good knowing I had survived another day, but apprehensive about tempting fate to many more times.     

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Lessons Learned Playing High School Football

Like so many young men between the ages of fourteen and eighteen,  my world revolved around high school football.  There is nothing quite like it.  I can still remember those hot August days, cool Friday nights and the smell of freshly cut grass, mixed with the dew that settled on the practice field.  That new season, that glorious new season, which offered each player a new start and a chance for redemption.  It secured for many, a last chance to chase the big dance while 'grasping for another go around with greatness'.  Come fall, winning championships was what every player dreamed of. 

High school football is a team sport and you are only as strong as your weakest link.  Good teams understood this, while your average teams always seemed to find ways to come up short. Being a champion requires that extra effort, that most teams were not willing to give.  So, when adversity set in, average teams could not respond and were destined for mediocrity.

My high school team was one of those squads that always seemed to flirt with success.  Oh, we had our share of good athletes, and a few went on to play at the college level.  However, as a team we could never quite get over the hump, because the hump was always just a little to steep. Therefore, since the inception of my high school, there were no championships to brag about and very few winning seasons.

Mediocrity brought changes, the most notable being the hiring of a new coach the summer before my senior season.  He was young, energetic and ambitious with alot of fresh ideas.  Ideas that we as a team had not heard before, but from the first team meeting, we knew these ideas would make that season different from all the rest.

I can still remember that first meeting...

It was held in the school library right before our very first practice.  We were dressed in our new practice gear, consisting of shorts, t-shirts, new shoes, socks and helmets, with all of this coordinated in our school colors.  Little did we know that we was about to hear a motivational speech, the likes of which we had never heard before, and one I would carry with me for the rest of my life.  

When the coach entered the room, idle conversation ceased, as all eyes followed him down the center aisle up to the podium.  Once front and center he paused, looked up and begin to talk.  He was there to teach life lessons, which became apparent from the very beginning.  The stories, like parables from the Bible, were designed to motivate and inspire.  

Here is the story I'll never forget...

'Men, you have not been winners for one reason.  You don't believe you can be winners.  Let me illustrate  this point'.  The new coach paused then continued,  

'If I were to lay a fifty foot two by four on the floor of this library, and ask each of you to walk it's distance without stepping off, could you walk it?'  All the players nodded in agreement.  As if to say yea, so what?   

 'Good', he stated.

'Now, if I were to take this same board and I laid it across the top of two ten story buildings and I ask you to walk it again, would I have any takers?'  A silence fell over the room as each player reassessed the coach's offer.  

'I didn't think so', replied the coach.

'Now,' he added, 'you have doubt and fear to deal with, and that changes everything.  Doubt and fear affects your believe level to a point where it is improbable that any of you would make that walk, because now you don't believe you can and the consequences are just to great'.

This made perfect sense to me then and it still does today.  Doubt and fear steal far more dreams than they should, allowing people to get sidetracked, skewing their focus and taking their minds off the goal.

What a powerful story I was set to ponder.  I think about that experience from time to time and wonder how something so simple could mean so much.

And if you're wondering how we did that season, our new beliefs' took us all the way to the state championships. while posting the best won-loss record in school history.

Thursday, September 22, 2011


A real quick one...

Faith: As my left and right brain experience a great back and forth game of mental volleyball, the best definition they seem to agree upon is this:

'Trusting in what you can't see, regardless of what you can see'.

Faith comes from a steadfast belief in what we feel, not in what we see.  In many cases, we have no evidence to support what we feel, because the evidence we search for does not exist.  Therefore proof is needless and in fact won't exist in a life built on faith.

Besides evidence, another word that plays a role in faith is reason.  To operate on faith, one merely has to shut the eye of reason, limiting the effects of fear.  Fear causes doubt, and doubt undermines the very foundation faith was built upon.  Faith is bigger than fear!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Spend Your Time Encouraging Others

If maxims can serve as life lessons, then I have one we all should memorize, and repeat it to ourselves frequently.  I have already mentioned it in earlier work, but this passage provides an instant uplift to anyone who happens to need one.  It is short, concise and to the point;

Student says to master, 'Im so discouraged, what should I do?'  Master replies to student, 'Encourage others.'

Simple, yet extremely powerful, this passage lays claim to the old saying that sometimes 'less is more'.
But the meaning is clear and straight forward, if you take the focus completely off yourself and place it on  things outside self, the universe takes care of the details.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

My Favorite Quotes

These are some of my favorite quotes.  As I hear them or remember them I will include them.  Be prepared to think!

'Everything will be alright in the end, if everything is not alright, it is not the end'.

'If there is no struggle, there is no progress'.

Student says to master, 'Im discouraged, what should I do'.  Master replies to student, 'Encourage others'. 

'It is the space between the bars that holds the tiger'.

'It is the silence between notes that make the music'.

'Move and the way will open'.

'Those who know don't tell, and those who tell don't know'.

'Itch first, scratch later'.

'Every man is guilty of the good he did not do'.  

'Most men lead lives in quiet desperation'.

'Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it'.

'If you understand, things are just as they are.  If you don't understand, things are just as they are'.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Emergency at The Watering Hole

Monday, 29 August  2011 

The following is a short story(written in stages) based on a pub easily found in every one's imagination.  All characters and the places are in the imagination as well...

It was a normal Monday down at The Watering Hole, a place I tend to frequent more than I'd care to admit.  It's not a busy place,  all the patrons know each other, which makes for a cozy atmosphere, one very conducive to serious beer drinking. The bar moves at a much slower pace than it did 25 years ago when, on certain nights, when the moon was right, the crowds were so thick you couldn't stand sideways for fear of elbowing someone in the stomach, or the ear hole depending on their stature. But today there is no rush, as everything has changed to laid back.  Just an honest happy hour, where a man can wrangle up a cold draft for a buck and a sandwich still comes in a basket.   Surround the sandwich with a large handful of chips, topped off with a crisp pickle for good measure...  And all this for less than one Abe Lincoln.

The bar was a family hand-me-down, and over the last fifty years it had changed owners among family members several times before ending up in the hands of a young lovely named Audrey Apple.  Ms. Apple, had been lucky enough to be included in her grandmother's will, which bequeathed to her plenty of bar, just not plenty of money. Since Audreys' taking over five years ago, The Watering Hole had managed to stay afloat both literally as well as financially, surviving attacks from mother nature that included two floods, numerous tropical storms and even two full blown hurricanes.  Like Hitler's one thousand year reich, The Watering Hole was destined to survive the test of time and then some...

Every great character has a great sidekick and Audrey was no exception.  Rick Slade had been Audrey's 'partner in crime' since they were both in the eighth grade.  Some said their relationship went further than friendship.  They just seemed more 'touchy feely' than friends normally are.   So any time Audrey found herself in need of support or assistance, Rick was always there to make sure her needs were satisfied.  Friend, confidant and body guard, Rick wore many hats! 

Waterston, South Carolina, the setting for this story, is located on the South Carolina shore between Myrtle Beach and Charleston.  It is a sleepy, off the beaten path sort of town, that in order to get there, you have to be going there.  Waterston had that small town  flavor that one would expect to see in an old 1960's Walt Disney movie with white picket fences, beautifully landscaped lawns and clean white sidewalks with all the trimmings.  Scott Paper Company, employed over  half the town's residents, and the fishing industry, which most of Waterston had been influenced by, in one way or another, took care of the rest.  As the older towns folks liked to say, 'If the fish are running, so is Waterston'.  

Historically, The Civil War came calling in 1864 making a brief stop  near Waterston.  "The Battle of Three Forks", which started with such promise, quickly faded to a skirmish, and by mid morning a truce was declared, giving both sides just enough time to make it home for lunch.  Tailgaters, who were there to observe and watch a good battle, loaded up their wagons and left very disappointed. After that, most events with any significance(except The Barnum & Bailey Circus), seemed to slip by Waterston, on there way south to Charleston or north to Myrtle Beach.

The normal day at The Watering Hole began like so many others do...  It was on Monday afternoon when The Weather Channel first started running reports about a small tropical disturbance in the south Caribbean Sea.  The report hardly turned a head since this storm was thousands of miles away, and even if it were closer, storms in the Caribbean and the North Atlantic had plenty of time to change their direction, or in some cases peter out entirely.  Besides weather forecasters made plenty of mistakes anyway, that's why they should change it from 'chance of rain' to 'chance of getting it right'. That would certainly mean more to me.

The storm continued to blow and gain strength as it fed off the warm water typically found in the Caribbean.  To this point, it had chosen to stay offshore, missing the major land masses full of natives and tourists, which obviously, had the most to lose in the event of a direct hit.  It was tracking in a WNW direction, and with its winds approaching fifty miles per hour, by late Monday night  this storm had officially been named TS Cathy.

Tuesday, 30 August  2011

Cathy continued to intensify, and by Tuesday morning, had sustained winds reaching seventy miles per hour, ground speed up to thirty mph and landfall expected in less than a week, where wind speed was forecast to reach one hundred and twenty mph.  No small blow, not even for a town known for stormy weather like Waterston.


In Waterston, events in the North Atlantic were beginning to gain attention, as the town folks began to seriously consider their options. Storms were nothing new to Waterston, as I matter of fact, they were quite the norm.  The roster read like a who's who among hurricanes in the last half century from Bob in '42, Gladys in '51 to Fredrick in '64, and Cindy in '78.  Yes, Waterston, South Carolina had seen its share of storms, but the storm everyone remembers came knocking in the fall of  '56...

Hurricane Donna was not only the most powerful hurricane to strike Waterston, Donna was one of the strongest storms to ever hit the continental United States.  On September 1,  1956,  Donna slammed into the South Carolina Coast with winds exceeding one hundred fifty miles per hour. In it's wake it left a path of destruction miles wide, a death toll in the hundreds and a price tag of 600 million dollars for its trouble.  Not until Camille hit the gulf coast in the fall of 1969 had a storm been more formidable.

Meanwhile, in Waterston business at The Watering Hole was good.  Storms always did tend to bring people together, and 'hurricane parties' were responsible for as many death's during a storm as the storm surge itself.  But although the mood was jovial, there was a quiet caution associated with this storm, that was unlike any before.  So, to get the latest pulse, both Audrey and Rick met at the bar to chat with patrons, get the latest weather updates and have some beers.  It was Tuesday afternoon and Cathy's numbers were starting to get serious.     

Hurricane Cathy's numbers were becoming serious.  As of late Tuesday night her wind speed had climbed to ninety miles per hour, and with landfall expected in several days, people were on edge.  There was plenty of time to evacuate, problem was, evacuation routes ran north and south, not east and west, and this made it more difficult to move at the last minute.  Because of this, Audrey and Rick were staying put, at The Watering Hole.  There was a small  group of regulars that decided to ride the storm out as well, but this small group seemed to sense the danger that existed in struggling against mother nature.  But The Watering Hole  needed them, and it was time to stand up for this little bar and preserve the many memories that had been created there.  'Rally round the Hole', became the new battle cry. The Watering Hole needed protection and that is just what town folks aimed to provide.  There numbers increased from a few regulars, to several dozen people, all there to do whatever they could.  Besides, this was a local landmark that had been around as long as most people could remember, so Audrey and Rick just appreciated the help.

Wednesday, 31 August  2011

On Wednesday around noon, The National Weather Service declared hurricane warnings from Savannah, Georgia north to the Atlantic Beach, North Carolina.  Winds had reached one hundred ten miles per hour, and landfall was forecasted for late Friday afternoon.  The only salvation was the gulf stream, which may reposition the storm's direction, putting it on a more northerly path and cause Cathy to miss the east coast entirely. But the current path the hurricane was on had taken it out of harm's way, away from more populated areas and therefore casualties had been low.

At least the storm was waiting for the Friday to make its appearance, thus allowing people time to gather and help one another get ready for Cathy's havoc.  They needed the weekend recover both physically and mentally from the storm's assault.  But even with the growing number of helpful volunteers, Audrey and Rick felt overwhelmed by the work still needing to be done.  The windows needed to be taped, anything that wasn't bolted down needed to be moved inside(tables, chairs, umbrellas and furniture,etc.) and any openings boarded up with plywood.  But the biggest job (and the hardest) was protecting The Watering Hole from the storm surge.  The bar was lucky, sitting several hundred feet above sea level, helped to avoid some of the surge naturally and sand bags would do the rest.  The Watering Hole would be well protected.  Just bring on the sand!         

Finding sand would certainly not be an issue, but getting it to the bar quickly might pose a problem. They needed trucks, and the two things Waterston had an abundance of was pickup trucks and good ole boys.  Matter of fact, Waterston may have more pickup trucks, per capita, than any town in the entire state!  Subsequently, when good ole boys get together (a twelve pack in tow), things just seemed to get done. 

Cathy was bearing down on the east coast like a predator stalks it's prey.  Churning and feeding off itself, lapping up the warm water in the North Atlantic, the storm seemed to have a mind of its own.   It was a little over a day from landfall, and Cathy showed no sign of slowing down or changing course.  It appeared destined to strike between Georgia and North Carolina with a vengeance. 

Thursday, 1 September   2011

The good ole boy network reached out for for help, and help soon help arrived.  Sixteen more pickups, and close to fifty more abled bodies showed up to work.  Building walls of sand was a priority, and by Thursday afternoon, close to one hundred people were helping, or had helped, build these walls, board up windows and doors and help fortify the bar's defensive posture.  Audrey and Rick were both running on sheer adrenaline, but they had no time to spare.  They were both exhausted, but they had things the way needed them and the bar seemed well protected.  Though some people had returned home, many of the folks that had worked so hard on Audrey's property stayed behind to gauge the effectiveness of their handy work.  They would roll the dice and 'ride the storm out' hoping for the best, but expecting the worse.

Friday, 2 September  2011

The Weather Channel referred to it as the 'calm before the storm' when it began it's coverage of Hurricane Cathy early Friday morning, and although landfall was forecast for later that evening, there was little hint of things to come.  By noon on Friday, the rain had started, the winds had picked up significantly and the dark clouds had started to gather.  The regulars had also started to gather as well, and business was brisk at the Watering Hole.

Mother nature plays it's hand...

You know, just when you think you've got something figured out, the game changes, and that's exactly what happened.  The storm had found itself tangled up in the gulf stream that miraculously changed it path.  Just ninety miles out, mother nature had redirected this storm, complements of unforeseen high pressure system nudging it in a slightly more northern trek, taking Waterston completely out of Cathy's sites and redirecting its fury further up the Atlantic seaboard, and although Waterston had to deal with some bad weather, it had escaped the worst of it, as Cathy skirted the Outer Banks of North Carolina, up the east coast, finally making landfall near Nantucket Island, but by then the storm been down graded right off the scale.

These things happen.  This was not the first time nor would it be the last time Mother Nature would have the final say in Waterson's normally balmy climate. 

As you might imagine, the folks of Waterston were delighted, and although there was cleanup work to be done, it was much less than the town folks had anticipated.  The Scott Paper Company ramped back up to three shifts starting the following Sunday night and the trawlers went back to sea looking for that big catch that usually follow big storms such as Cathy.

Good Ol Boys
Whatever happened to The Watering Hole?  Well it is still there.  Management has changed and although it has remained in the same family, few things have changed.  While regulars have come and gone, and mother nature continues to deal storms from time, the bar still remains one of the focal points of this small southern town, good ol boys and all.

Monday, August 29, 2011


If luck happens when opportunity meets determination, what kind of relationship exists between  luck and determination?

It seems to me that determination does all the work.  It lays all the ground work and carries the load, while luck seems to be waiting in the wings, ready to steal the applause, precisely at the right time.  In other words, luck gets all the credit.  

I will admit luck is much 'sexier', and determination may appear to be more blue collar in nature, but determination is the main attraction and luck shows up looking for headlines.  But where you find one you will generally find the other, each carrying out there particular roles.

I just said that to say this.  One can't rely on luck, while determination is fundamental, and these fundamentals will provide the basics it takes towards building your road to success.  

Determination is the difference between the possible and  impossible happening in your life.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

No Reason To Be A Jerk

On the lighter side...

Maybe it goes totally against my nature, but I often wonder, 'Why do people feel the need to act like jerks'?  Is it genetic or possibly a missing chromosome or two?  Could it something you're born with, or is it learned behavior along life's way?   Whatever it's origins, this an issue that needs to be resolved regardless of it's manifestations.  Here is a brief look at a few of my suggestions.

According to Daniel Webster a jerk is an unlikable person; especially: one who is cruel, rude, or small minded.  So with this definition in mind lets see how it may apply to the question at hand. 

It seems to me being unlikable takes practice.  Years of putting oneself first can lead to arrogance, that certainly could contribute to one's likeability.  By mastering this character flaw one could easily become cruel as well as rude, and frankly, I would be surprised if they didn't.  So maybe self-centeredness is the culprit.

But being a jerk still takes effort, an effort small minded people are unlikely to take.  Small minded folks are selfish folks, and could not be bothered for a moment to consider another persons feelings, unless it was in there own best interest.   So, maybe small mindedness is the reason for 'jerkyness'.  

There is number of reasons that a person may feel the need to be a jerk, but none of them hold water in my book.  Maybe they were dropped as a small child or neglected, you got me...  But it must be very difficult leading a productive life, being self centered and small minded in a society of more than one.  

So whatever the reason, there is no reason to be a jerk. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011


In a world filled with injustice, truth is the adversary.  Why then, does a man spend his whole life running from the truth?  Or at other times the running must turn to fighting this same truth.  When these things don't ease our pain, we turn to concealment and coverup.  Anything that keeps truth at a distance, and allows us the convenience of dealing with it on our own terms.  Ironically, this convenience of time only serves to procrastinate the issue until we are left right where we started...a world filled with injustice. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

For or Against

Several years ago, when asked whether she would participate in an event that centered around the Vietnam War, Mother Teresa responded by saying, she would not be interested in marching against the war. However, she added, if you were to have an event marching for peace my attendance would be guaranteed.  She understood the principle of  'for vs against', and mentally, how it effected the issues of the day.  

You see, I believe that what your for strengthens your mental position, while what your against only serves to weaken that same position. Simply put, you may be against gaining weight or you may be for living a healthy lifestyle.  Certainly the later forces a stronger mental position that, when acted upon, produces a more favorable outcome.

You can be for or against, the choice is always up to you!   

Friday, August 5, 2011


The thing to remember is your brain can only hold one thought at any given moment.  Try it, can you concentrate and effectively hold one solitary image,within the boundaries of your mind, before other thoughts begin challenging for space.  Most of us cannot, unless only for a short time,while a select few of us can.  This, I believe, is what separates successful people from the unsuccessful ones, the unsuccessful ones who spend their lives toiling in the gray area of mediocrity.  Great people can focus, from start to finish on a job at hand. Mindset is the ability, to literally 'set' or 'lock' the mind into a singular purpose for a desired outcome.

Earl Nightingale was quoted as saying 'a man is what he thinks about, all day long', and I can think of no better quote than this to support my arguement.  'The Strangest Secret', as this is referred to, is a testament to show just how important the role mindset plays on the stage of life. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Water and Rocks

Always Be Open Minded

April 15, 2011

Water And Rocks

Recently, while hiking in the foothills of South Carolina, I happened upon a small, yet briskly flowing whitewater creek. While relaxing and enjoying the solitude, I sensed a battle for superiority between the highly spirited water and the large boulders resting on the creek bed along the edges of the stream.

At first, the rocks, stubborn, immovable and unyielding seemed to have its way with its adversary. However the water, determined yet forgiving, seemed merely inconvenienced by the presence of the rocks, as it effortlessly changed course recharting a path towards its original destination.

Soon it became clear that the rocks, although remaining strong and steadfast, were losing this confrontation as the waters’ total indifference began to slowly reform these obstacles into smooth and beautiful polished stones.

You see, there seemed to be total lack of struggle associated with the water's trek. Struggle is like bondage forcing conformity and the water would have none of that. To the contrary, the water seemed perfectly content to move around the rocks when necessary, following some preordained route God had originally intended.

I paused for thought. Maybe people need to be more determined and less steadfast and stubborn. Maybe human beings need to always be open to different points of view, not afraid to readjust their direction as life presents all of its new and unforeseen challenges.

--- Copyright © 2011 Jeff Jennings 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Life With Parkinsons; A Chronicled Light Hearted Look at My Life With Parkinsons Disease

I would like to begin a chronicled look at my life with Parkinsons Disease, contributing to this effort as often as I feel up to doing so.  But I must warn you, with a topic as interesting as this one, I may not  miss a single day.  Some days I may seem inspired and the juices may flow, while at other times my inspiration may seem like puddles of mosquito infested swamp water, with no outlet and no where to go (like right about now).

Let me begin by saying that I run on PST (Parkinsons Standard Time), and have no awareness of when symptoms may begin or how long they may choose to last, but isn't it nice I don't have to worry about such trivial things, it makes life move along much smoother (control is such a responsibility). This frees me up to worry about other things that need my attention and take priority. 

Mornings are the worst time of day for me. I was never a morning person any way, but with PD looming things were just that much worse.  But after my original diagnosis in 1996, at the ripe old age of 35, I really felt great in the mornings.  As a matter of fact, I was all together in the greatest shape of my life physically from the ages of 35 to 40. Who would have ever believed the direction my life would take on the path that lay just around the bend in the road...

I don't remember the day, week or even the month things seemed to to go south for me, but I do remember what I was doing.  Sitting in my recliner, watching tv...

It began as a very small twitch in my little finger, as I best remember.  As a matter of fact, I had to really focus to notice it was  there at all.  Very discretely, like it knew it wasn't invited, this little twitch grew, as it gradually gained strength much like a tropical storm collects strength to form a full blown hurricane.

The late nineties were a blur. There was a series of new doctors at new places all with different opinions regarding what I may be facing.  The possible ailments were varied, with none of them being very appealing no matter how much my prideful thinking got in the way.  I was going to beat this thing, no doubt about it.  Oh, and by the way, I hope to revisit prideful thinking and just how damaging it can be, a little later.  

Hold on there's more...

As my Parkinsons progressed, my mental health regressed.  Remember all those doctors with all those opinions. The only thing they seemed to agree upon was all the medicine I needed.  There was medicine to sleep, meds to wake up, uppers and downers, as well as pills for anxiety, depression and anything else they thought they may have missed.  I was a zombie, constantly moving through life in a state of 'mellow'.  Music, which had always been a big part of my life, took 'front and center' once again, as bands like Led Zeppelin,
Grand Funk Railroad and Uriah Heep got reintroduced to my turn table, because when your mellow, these bands actually sounded good.  One of my early doctors, who I nicknamed 'the magic man'  had the best reaction.  Upon being made aware of the drugs I was taking, he looked up from his clipboard, over the top of his reading glasses and in amazement commented, 'with this much of that stuff in your system I'm surprised you can stand up, much less walk'.  Being 'mellow' does have it's disadvantages. 

Now on to more stuff...

If the late nineties were blurry and out of focus, the early 2000's ushered in a period of truth and facing facts, and the facts were I had PD and wasn't getting any better, no matter many bowls of Wheaties I ate, or how hard I willed it away, it was my date to the prom, and I had better find a way to play the hand I was dealt (or learn to deal from the bottom of the deck!).  

The mid 2000's could be labeled 'the stagnant years. This is a time where nothing really happened, good or bad.  I continued to take a battery of meds that seemed to keep me off the edge.  But as far as my symptoms were concerned.  PD is a creeper.  It progresses in a succession of 'slights', never gaining power all at once, but instead, it choices to work gradually, eroding at your defenses until they are completely outnumbered.

Prideful thinking your days are numbered...

Prideful thinking has been the one issue I have had the greatest struggle dealing with.  Spawned by human nature and nurtured by one's own ego, prideful thinking is a liar and a manipulator, telling you what you want to hear, distorting your reality and the way things really are.  True reality is I have a disease that is not going away, and is only getting better when a cure is uncovered or discovered.  Therefore, it seems to me, once you let prideful thinking dominate your life, you are setting yourself up for failure, every single time you are misled into believing that you, and only you, have all the right answers.  This disease is something out of my control, and since it is out of my control, I believe only spiritual help can provide the comfort I need.  Here endeth the lesson...

We are now in the mid 2000's somewhere around 2005-2007.  I had settled into a routine of seeing doctors at MUSC, the problem was there were to many doctors, and to make things worse 'the magic man' had taken a job with the Food and Drug Administration in Washington, DC.   Vicki Salak was next in line to take charge of my case.  Right away she wanted to know what meds I was taking, how often I was taking them, and the strength of each dosage.  Her knowledge of this information was critical, especially if she were to stay on top of my progress.  Furthermore, anyone that knows me is aware of the fact that organization is not my strong suit, so this effort was just a little bit difficult and didn't change without a fight. 

I didn't know it at the time, but 2008-2009 would force me to make big time decisions that would bring big time consequences...

DBS is forming like storm clouds on the horizon...  

Deep Brain Stimulation, or DBS for short, is a rather new procedure designed to stimulate the brain cells that are not working properly and support the cells that are.  However, it is not my intent to offer a medical explanation from The England Journal of Medicine, because I can't.  Sufficed to say, It was relatively new, so I was relatively cautious. So when Vicki began to bring it up as an alternative therapy in the fall of 2009, I was skeptical.  You see I had never spent as much as a skinny minute inside hospital walls, and I didn't see any reason to change that.  DBS was brain surgery, serious stuff and there was plenty of things that could go wrong.  People sometimes didn't come back from this type surgery and I did not want to be added to those numbers.  And there was a good chance I would go through all of this and nothing would change.  But I was tired of living like I had been, and as long as I had hope I had a chance.  But this decision would not come overnight.  It would take almost a year to finally clear my head and make the decision...

Eight trips to Charleston...  

By early 2010 I had been dealing with this disease for almost one-third of my life, and at almost fifteen years I felt that I handled the symptoms pretty well.  Aside from the involuntary muscle movement in my face (which probably stemmed from the side effects of the medicine), and the inability to walk with confidence, it became apparent that these areas of my body 'didn't get the memo'.  Of the two, my walking took priority.  My graceful gate had turned into a short, choppy series of half steps resembling 'shagging', the dance step associated with beach music.

At this point in this writing I would like to drastically change course and point this ship in a different direction...

I have gotten a lot of great feedback from friends and family since I started this blog a few weeks ago, and I must the admit I enjoy the  love and support I have received.  However, I consider myself one of the lucky ones and I want to make this clear.  There are many people who suffer much worse than I do, and they are the true heroes. Anyone can keep a great attitude 'out there', and be a monster in private. Anyone can fool the public by telling them what they want to hear.  Politics is a good example of that.  This is not about 'me', but more about 'we'.  So please understand, that my attitude most of the time 'stinks', my disposition is worse, and I continue to look at all the things I can't do, forgetting to celebrate the things I still can. I just know the veil has been removed, and I don't know if I like what I see. So, don't give me to much credit for being this person with this wonderful attitude, when in fact it is no better than most.  Am I writing this blog for the right reason, or for some self-centered attempt at garnering attention.  I think both is true.  Many people close to me seem to think it is the latter.  I have already stated I have an appetite for attention, that's nothing new, but what is new is my desire to set the record straight, admit my shortcomings, but also announce my deep down desire to try to help others regardless, because I enjoy that as well!  If people quit reading this blog tomorrow, I would keep writing because it is fun to do, I think it serves the greater good and yes, it is great therapy.  If integrity is 'what you do when you think others aren't looking', than literary integrity must mean 'what you write when you think others aren't reading'.  So I'll keep writing when I think others are not reading!!!    

Remember, this is a lighthearted look according to the back to the action...

As the summer of 2010 was settling in, I was becoming unsettled because I was still grappling with whether or not to proceed with DBS.  The surgeries would involve eight trips to Charleston, starting slow, with middle trips being the most difficult.  There was the psychological examination that I swear, was the most difficult, by the time they were through with me, I felt like a psychological pin cushion without a place to inject another needle.  Eight trips to Charleston and back, culminating in a final trip that will let us how well we'd done.  The surgeries began October 2010, and were scheduled to end in April 2011.  This decision was one of those, if you waited long enough, it would make it for you...that's what I was hoping for.

There was no way I wasn't going though with this surgery, no matter how apprehensive I was about it...

After all the years, and all the struggle it seemed that the only right answer was to proceed confidently.  So I began to make the appropriate plans.  First, I called Vicki at the Movement Disorder Clinic to make her aware of my decision. Athough she sounded positive, she didn't forget to cover the disclaimers,  just in case everything didn't go exactly to plan (thanks for that vote of confidence).  Then she gave me my operation schedule, beginning October 12, 2010 and running though the beginning of April, 2011.  So the die had been cast, and there was no turning back.  I was a man who had never so much as had his tonsils removed, now staring down the barrel of major brain surgery...ain't life grand!! 

Waiting For My DBS Surgery
The surgeries went off without a hitch.  For the sake of time I will not bore you with all the details, except to say this.  DBS was right for me. It was the only alternative that would allow me the lifestyle I was accustomed.  I had been athletic and at the age of fifty-one, I have been able to get some of that back.  But I still have limitations, and there are some things I have trouble with at certain times, but overall it is the people that have gone before that have paved the way so that the pieces fit for patients such as myself.

I am heading to Charleston on Tuesday for a doctor's appointment on Wednesday.  Another attempt to get my settings adjusted properly and a chance to enjoy some R&R with friends and classmates from The Citadel.  I will be staying at the Isle of Palms with my college roommate, Keith Bartsch and his wife Delaine.  I've seen them once in  twenty-five years, so I hope we recognize each other.  This reunion should be classic!    The chance to see both of them for a few days and catch up will be alot of fun. 

It's Wednesday morning, my appointment is scheduled at 9:30 A.M., and as usual am I ready to go 2 hours early.  I quess being ready this early serves as a security blanket.  I have noticed that I am early for most things I do 'just in case', which never seems to materialize.  The deadly emotion of anxiety is already begun to set in and it will dominate my brain space until I leave the hospital, probably around noon.  Although there is nothing scary about this visit, I will be glad when its over.      

Keith Bartsch
By 11:50 it was over, my chaperone, and ex-roomate Keith Bartsch (at The Citadel the're referred to as cellmate), decide to go on stroll down memory lane.  It started at The Citadel where our relationship had begun 30 years earlier.  Next came a trip to The Citadel barber shop, followed by an imprompto visit to the athletic department to 'look in' on Andy Clawson.  Andy is an institution in The Citadel's Athletic Program having served as the college's Head Trainer since 1971. Andy is also the one who coined a couple nicknames or me during my college football career, including: "Skates" and "Free Lunch." The first one, "Skates" wasn't because I enjoyed skating, it was because...well, let's just say if I could avoid lengthy and difficult conditioning routines during the off-season, or maybe giving less than 100% on the practice field, well sir, that was okay by me. Ditto "Free Lunch."

LTC. Harvey M. Dick 
After we visited with Andy, we made our way over to the home of Lt. Col. Harvey M. Dick and his gracious wife Miss Margie. Col. Dick entered the Marines during the closing days of WWII at age 17. After the war, he attended The Citadel where he played football and earned a spot in The Citadel's Athletic Hall of Fame for his on-field exploits. After graduation, Col. Dick was commissioned in the US Army Air Defense Artillery where he served with distinction for nearly thirty years. He served several tours in and around Vietnam, one of which was on the staff of Military Assistance Command (MAC) advising Vietnamese forces.

After Army retirement, Col. Dick came "home" to The Citadel  where he served 16 classes as Assistant Commandant of Cadets. That Assistant Commandant job put him sideways with many cadets, particularly since the job, somewhat akin to being a high school assistant principal, meant he was the guy charged with responsibility for hammering cadets who broke the rules. That said, he was always fair, and most who suffered punishment for various infractions of the military college's many rules and regulations would agree "they had it coming."

Now a little story about one of my run-ins with the good colonel. When I was a junior, in the spring of 1981, I walked over to the Citadel's baseball stadium which was off-campus to watch a game. Cadets were allowed to do so IF they walked straight to the ballpark and straight back to campus afterwards. I did not do that. Instead after watching a few innings, I decided to skoot across the street from the ball park and into a little beer joint called "The Ark" for a cool one. Col. Dick saw me and followed me in. When he walked in the door, in his uniform, dozens of other cadets with the same idea as me scattered and split out the back door. Col. Dick walked up to me and I, knowing I was caught, offered him a beer. Col. Dick said "no thanks" and explained he would let me slide because, and only because, I didn't try to run away as the rest had. As he turned to pursue them in his car, he said," I'll catch those runners, and I'm gonna barbecue 'em." And you know what? He did.

Oh yea, this is supposed to be about Parkinsons.  Surrounded by all this nostalgia I almost forgot...

It had been almost six months since my last appointment in Charleston, therefore it was time for another medical opinion.  That opinion was offered by DBS Coordinator Amy DeLambo, who was alot like Vicki Salak in personality and demeanor.  She and I worked out wonderfully and I look forward to our getting together in the future.  

The appointment with Amy went well, and for the first time in several years my therapy has taken a new direction.  The focus is off of medicine, in the doses I was taking, and centers around weight training, yoga, swimming and other forms of physical exertion. These are forms of exercise that I am familiar with, but at fifty-one, not real interested in.  I swore that after running The New York City Marathon, in the eighties,  I would never run anywhere, unless it was an emergency. I felt good about my chances of keeping that promise until this week. Yoga, I know a little about, so I guess it's time to shave my head, don a loin cloth and 'brush up' on my far east doctrine.  All kidding aside, it does appear that exercise will be the next plan of attack, and I need to lose weight anyway.

Enter self discipline into the mix...

I must admit that self discipline is not something I have an abundance of.  But I realize that for exercise therapy to work, there going to be those times (probably many) when a good ration of self discipline will be make all the difference. Amy has suggested exercise one hour three days a week.  There was a time when that seemed minimal, but now it seemed almost impossible, given my schedule. 

DBS is not an exact science.  There are literally millions of different settings (tweeks) that can be programed into the brain to cause many different reactions.  If settings are to low, you feel no surge of electricity at all, to high and it can curl your toes and distort your face worse than any character in your most memorable nightmare.  So calling this tweeking process tedious would an understatement.  I'm starting to believe that finding the exact or perfect settings is like finding the needle in the haystack and winning the lottery...ALL IN THE SAME DAY!


Over the years, begining in 1996, I had been compensating for the way I did things (walking, talking and movement in general), by doing just that..compensating.  Unfortunately, this compensation was the worse thing I could've done.  I had learned to do everything  in the form of 'shortcuts', taking the path of least resistence.  Over 15 years this way of moving had taken its toll, and now it was time to relearn new, proper ways of doing things.  In essence, it was time to start all over.  Because old habits die hard, this was going to take some time and effort, two things I had in abundance (I hoped).  Now I found myself silently giving commands that I hadn't given my body in quite some time, and expecting results that my body wasn't used to producing, and visually, focusing on commands that kept me one step ahead of the command I had just carried out.  This can be mentally confusing even though you are repeating the same orders over and over again.  

Backing down off the medicine is turning out to be more difficult than I originally thought.  It seems that over the years of struggle my body had become accustomed to certain meds and had relied on them a little more than I would like to admit.  So, as I gingerly eased my way out of the drug regimen, I began to realize just how much medication I must have been taking during those 'early years'.  I guess the 'magic man' had been right all along.

Putting my plan in motion...

Today (Saturday, August 20th  2011) was going to be the day.  The proverbial 'first day of the rest of your life'.  The day in which all others would be measured.  I had planned to take my dog, a she-poo
named 'Bob', to the Butler Springs Park, in search of some long over due exercise.  Upon our arrival we noticed a host of things going on, from people playing tennis, kids on playground equipment to even a walk for the poor.  But we were there to exercise and that is what we were going to do.  Fortunately, Bob seemed to tire faster than I did, so after circling the park twice, we decided to call it a day. Plus Bob seemed to be more interested in expending his energy playing with children, instead of walking with me. 

One of the most important, yet most difficult things that we address on visits to Charleston, centers around the 'whats and whens' regarding my drug regimen  Namely what I take and when I take it.  As eluded to earlier, much of what I consume can become habit forming, therefore the question and the struggle becomes what can I live with and what can I live without.  There seems to be a give and take to this drug 'tug of war', and the best you can hope for is to stay in this overlapping area of the ebb and flow, allowing for as much benefit as possible.  

So, as we are changing our direction in regards to the new physical routines we are establishing, we are also toying with the medicines.  A little more here, a little less there, looking for that optimal combination that produces the best quality of life...

New changes...

To organize and give this blog more structure, I am going to date stamp every additional update.  This will help me in my efforts and allow readers a better understanding in relationship to time.  This will also mandate a change in my posting habits, meaning fewer posts but more text per posts.  Got it!  I hope so...

Saturday, 27 August  2011    

Man, this physical stuff is hard!  BUT, the mental stuff is harder.  The mentality it takes to stay disciplined enough to stay on track physically is overwhelming.   I must admit that even continuing this blog is sometimes in question,  However, I keep telling myself how much fun I am having, and how much good I am personally gaining from it, and in no time the negative thoughts seem to float away like smoke around a camp fire.  But even this doesn't always help where my workouts are concerned.  The self discipline it takes to 'grind it out' for up to an hour each day is sometimes more than I bargained for.  Oh, the times I've wanted to quit...

Wednesday, September 7  2011 

I knew the day would come when I would wake up one morning and know without a shadow of a doubt, 'you have gotten worse' and there is nothing you can do about it.  Although it wasn't quite that sudden, it had been 'lurking' in the shadows waiting for the right to pounce, I could just feel it!!  There had been times in the past when I would sense a regression, but this had been since the first of August, and this might possibly be here to stay.

Thursday, September 8  2011

'It's not what you know, it's who you know', is my bit of  advise to anyone asking, and this little adage has served me well.  So with this in mind I attempted to put it into to play.  

I attended college at The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, and graduated in 1982.  While there, I met all kinds of different people destined for different career paths.  One guy I was fortunate enough to get to know was a future neurologist from the state of Texas, where he practices today.  I have relied on his guidance though out my ordeal and naturally, we speak very often.  I have already had a conversation with him regarding my new revelation and, as usual, he has come to my aid.  Because of the miles that separate us, he is not my primary care neurologist, but   he may as well be, because I consult with him regarding all things brain related.  So, as soon my old symptoms started he prescribed  a different medication, that we hope will ward off the progression of this disease for a long time to come.

Wait and see...  

The name of the new drug is called Stalevo 100's(sounds like a pack of cigarettes) and it is supposed help me in my 'off' periods (periods when my movement is affected).  Since motion is my biggest concern currently, anything that may aid in that area would be a welcomed relief.  Now it basically requires taking the proper dosage and then wait and see what transpires.  Keep your fingers crossed.   

Friday, 9 September  2011  

So far reviews are mixed.  The Stalevo has shown some promise later in the afternoon, but early in the morning it tends to produce more facial movement than I would like.  But it still is early and the side effects, overall, are acceptable.  If these side effects can be managed at current levels, I will be satisfied.

Saturday, 10 September  2011

College Days Against Furman (I'm in blue)
My favorite time of the year without a doubt is the string of months between September and January, otherwise known as the college football season.  What a great time of year!   Not only do I love Autumn and all the things that this time of year brings, college football only serves to add to the value of this season, with its atmosphere, pageantry and sheer competition.  College football would not be at home in any other season.  But my affection is also a curse. Games are not easy for me make these days, even knowing all the fun I'm missing.  But I still try to go to a couple games each year, regardless of the trouble and inconvenience it may cause.  Also football is in my blood since my dad was an All-American at Furman University before being drafted by the Washington Redskins and spending some time with that organization.  Then he came back to his alma mater as an assistant coach.  So, like they say, I guess I got it honest.

I've just finished watching USC v Georgia and then Citadel v Furman.  Both games are still going, but I'm through watching.  The fans take both of these games way to serious, because they're still just football games, and final scores are still not very important in the big scheme of things.  I hope that fans do keep this in mind.  I guess since I played college football at The Citadel, I have a little different perspective regarding the scores of these contests.  Football is over till next week, when they'll tee it up and do it all over again...But the good news is the Stalevo seems be be working, since I had no issues with my movement all afternoon.  Keep on keeping your fingers crossed.

Sunday, 11 September  2011

Ten years later...

Do you remember where you were ten years ago today?  I would venture a guess and say yes.  Like other catastropic events of yesteryear, the events of 9/11 shocked the nation and the world, and revealed our  hidden vulnerabilities, as we all watched in horror and disbelief as planes seemingly fell from the sky destroying, or attempting to destroy, some our most sacred landmarks. 

I remember exactly where I was and what doing on that Tuesday morning.  I had expected to meet that week with a business associate to do what business associates do, when I received word from his secretary informing me that he had missed his flight due to scheduling problems and the our meetings would need to be pushed back a week.  I remembered being relieved that our plans had changed, because I was five years into my personal struggle, and I was beginning to experience small health problems, making our meeting difficult.  Relief later turned to disbelief, as I learned that the flight he had missed was United Flight 11, originating out of Boston's Login International Airport.  Needless to say, that series of events provided for plenty of conversation around the water cooler!

Monday, September 12  2011

My greatest frustration in dealing with PD is its total indifference to my schedule and all that involves.  As I stated from the very begining, this disease has no concern for my time or my patience.  Symptons can come and go as they chose to, and I have no control over the timing they select.  It doesn't seem to pick the best times to rear its ugly head nor does it seem to care how long it choses to 'hang around'.  I don't seem to feel it's assault the same way twice.  This makes its timing erratic at best, and very difficult to live with.  Everything has to be planned for including eating, resting and all the other things normal folks take for granted.  Therefore I run about two hours ahead of time, allowing enough 'space' in my schedule to get all the things I wanted to do, done.  Things like showering, shaving and brushing my teeth have turned into dreaded activities that I have come to detest, and these things only get done because there is no alternative. 

Saturday, September 17  2011

Spent today in Clemson, SC watching a college football game between Clemson University and Auburn University.  Since I tend to dislike both football programs, I could relax and let the game play out, without letting my emotions get the best of me.   So, when Clemson won the contest,  I could enjoy the competition just for what it was, a football game.

But the good news was my new drug Stalevo seemed to provide the relief I was hoping for.  I had a symptom free day, never really having to struggle with the things I normally do.

Sunday, January15  2012

I begin the first post of the new year on somber note.  Colonel Harvey M. Dick, who I spoke of earlier in this writing, a man who embodies all those rare qualities that The Citadel tries to instill in all of its graduates, was diagnosed with brain cancer last week and the prognosis is not good.  More news on the good colonel will be forth coming...