Monday, October 18, 2010

Come Run with Me

Be, the box turtle, who owns my friend Toni

No?  You might do what I do and trip over something that leaped up out of the sidewalk and sent you face first onto the ground?  OK, then, come exercise sanely with me on this first day of our new adventure together through Parkinson's [hereafter known as "PD"].

It was almost funny--a possible scene for Saturday Night Live. On Saturday, Oct. 16, 2010, approximately 500 other people with PD and their family members were leaving an incredible educational symposium sponsored by Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the  National Parkinson Foundation.  It was a gorgeous day, and there were crowds of people in the highly-congested Vanderbilt-Hillsboro Village area as we all left Belmont Methodist Church. I had never been in a group of people with PD before, and, physically, I was having a bad day. I wanted the high and the energy of a fantastic program to propel me out the door faster than the speed of light. OK....maybe a little slower. After all, I had my Dr. Marten's 5 lb shoes on, so the sprint would have to wait. Good thing. As this group of us headed towards our cars--some on walkers, a few "shuffling" as PD often makes us do, all of us moving as slowly as a herd of box turtles, I noticed the bright yellow and black banner that heralded the symposium: "Blazing Toward a Cure."  I wondered if anyone else noticed the irony there. 
Maybe our group was turtle slow, but it sure was as determined as a box turtle is when s/he sticks that neck out, stands tall, and runs (and they do, trust me) with single-minded determination.  For what we had been doing since 8AM--besides eating breakfast and making new friends--was learning from the best and the brightest and most inspiring people in the field of PD research, treatment, and management.  For me, it was a revolutionary, life-altering day. Exercise might do more for PD than meds. Terrified of my swallowing problems, I have been avoiding them by resorting to my ice cream diet [addiction], but my only exercise has been schlepping textbooks around the campus where I teach.
     So I am starting fresh, and I am armed with exercise tips and more empowering information. I am morphing from being a woman in denial about my PD and  approaching middle age [I will be 64 in Dec:)] into a proactive "PD person" who's ready to take on the world.  Won't you join me?


  1. Your writing is brilliant and I am so glad you are doing this! IAU! Mazel tov!

  2. Hi Laura. I am following your blog my friend. Can't believe you have a turtle on your blog as I remember the Laura who was traumatized and terrified by turtles (arf). Seriously, yes I can be that, I am thinking about you. Even though I am a biologist by academic training, I know little of the real burdens and trauma of PD, but I pray that you persevere in your continuing battle and that your faith will sustain you even when you body just does not want to cooperate. Lov ya. Allen

  3. I am glad you are enrolled in this program and plan to follow your progress because you are my best friend and it sounds like it will help you. I am interested in your health and well being plus my father had Parkinson's, so I'm definitely interested in learning more. Don't forget the excercise you get when you mow the lawn! And carry in those heavy boxes of kitty litter! Oh, and the diet pepsi! :-) Love you!

  4. Witty & wonderful, love the comparison to turtles, I know you love them as much as I do... Keep up the good work!!! XOXO Carrie

  5. Hey Laura, Your a hoot ! I have enjoyed being both your student for several semesters, and becoming your friend. Your a true inspiration and command a remarkable life. You know the things I've been through and the traumas I have faced. Learning about you as a person the life you have lead, and now dealing with the PD head on is nothing short of refeshing. You know where to reach me.....Love ya