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Future imperfect, past perfected December 30, 2012

Posted by marthasway in Musings.
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As this year filled with many losses ends, I have been pondering end of life issues. I have a discussed some options regarding ending my life peacefully should Parkinson’s rob me of many of the qualities I hold dear.  I hope that I will have the discernment and courage to know when to die.  I have no fear of death; I faced that when I was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2007.  Out of that experience came deep acceptance, recovery, and reconciliation, but nothing could prepare me for Parkinson’s Disease.

My father died quietly in hospice care, with my mother holding his hand, with my sister and her husband next to her and their Episcopal priest at her other shoulder, all surrounded by the light of love and peace. His was a good death.

His own mother, on the other hand, had not been allowed to die naturally, because her handwritten final wishes had not been properly notarized. Despite many best efforts, she languished in a nursing home for a year after a massive stroke, her body deteriorating and subject to indignities to which she would not have submitted herself. Her death was a protracted misery for those of us who loved her and stood powerless against the indifference of managed care.

Ideally, I would choose the soundtrack of my dying, the menu, the venue, all the trappings that I try to control in life, but I know that my plans are beyond my control.

When my son was born, I had an elaborate written birth plan.  I was in excellent physical shape, had read more than enough to prepare for the birth (“Where do you get this stuff?”, my bewildered and bemused OB/GYN kept saying), asked for the use of the one birthing suite in the downtown teaching hospital, and had gone through two different childbirth preparation programs.  I had all my ducks in a row, ready for

  • Ralph Vaughan-Williams or The Brandenburg Concertos playing softly
  • No drugs
  • Upright posture–no stirrups for me!
  • The lovely birthing suite, with the lights low
  • No cutting

In the fullness of time, there was no room at the Birthing Suite Inn; a woman 28 weeks in with triplets was there instead.  My ideal labor room became an overly bright operating room, where I  had to use stirrups to make for an easier catch for the doctor.  A precipitous labor brought a crowd of interns in their short white coats, summoned by the resident, who had never witnessed natural childbirth.

So, surrounded by strangers, in a strange room without a bed, my babe was born at 5:15 on a cold February morning.  When we met face to face, all my disappointed plans went out of my mind, and I was caught up in everlasting love.

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Progress, not perfection December 6, 2012

Posted by marthasway in Musings, Primary food.
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Item: Check up with Dr Jancich, Oncologist. She had not seen me with the full effects of Azilect, so she was amazed at the overall improvement of my PD symptoms. The labs came back fine, so RTC in three months with next MRI in June.

Item:  Full clearance, no restrictions to my exercise program, per Dr Lea, Neurologist and Movement Disorder Specialist, therefore follows:

Item:  Livestrong Program, best workout ever.  Kept up with group.   Found new strength and courage to deepen my commitment to continue.  Renewed emphasis on breath.  My new fitness goal  includes learning the use the elliptical walker.

I am encouraged.

Take a deep breath November 28, 2012

Posted by marthasway in Musings.
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Breathing.  I recommend it.  Regularly or raggedly or shallowly, just remember to breathe.  I found my shoulders and jaw clenched tight while fighting for my name, my eyes squinted and forehead furrowed, all because I wasn’t getting my way with a computer.  Round and round, there was no way I could win without surrender.  A spiritual giant I once knew often said, “Life is a series of deeper and deeper surrenders.”.

So now I remember to breathe as I step into this new adventure.  My steps today are shaky ones, but there is no pain unless I insist on climbing or reaching.  I think I will take a nap; it’s always best to lead with our strengths.