It’s dark outside. As dark as my mood lately. I realized something recently. It’s time for a course correction. Because if my life were a ship, I’d be taking on water.
I’m talking about my health. In particular, my diet and my exercise regimen. When I’m struck with these epiphanies regarding my health, my initial reaction is to be in a foul mood. After all, changing ones routine is uncomfortable. But it needs to be done.
There were plenty of telltale signs, which I ignored. Head down, I plowed through life using the habits that I thought were working. Until…like suddenly noticing that I’m laughing maniacally at a joke that everyone else in the room has long moved on from, I realized that they weren’t.
What finally initiated this self reflection was that my wife went out of town for a few days, leaving me to manage the household on my own. I did successfully manage to keep our two boys fed, get them to school on time, keep the house reasonably clean, and work my full-time job. But it was hard. I mean, really hard.
With my wife not around, just how much time I spend hampered by Parkinson’s quickly became obvious. Parkinson’s didn’t care about all the added responsibilities I suddenly had. Parkinson’s did what Parkinson’s does, all the same.
But I know I can do better.
My diet had been slipping for some time. I’d been settling too often for the quick and easy option. Eating dessert too often and snacking too frequently. Eating too much in general. And I’d been drinking too much alcohol. Having an “occasional” drink with dinner can easily turn into habit if you’re not careful. As for exercise, I’ve been doing fine with strength training, but I’d been neglecting cardio for too long. My endurance was becoming abysmal and my waistline was expanding. This would be bad news for anybody. But for a person with Parkinson’s, it’s disastrous. You may not think that I look like anything needs correcting regarding my health. But oh, I can feel it.
Then, there’s the fact that I haven’t seen my MDS in too long. Having missed my last 6-month appointment, it’s going on 8 months since I last saw her. On top of that, despite her being available anytime through an online patient portal, out of sheer complacency, I’ve not reached out. This is despite my medication regimen clearly needing adjusting.
Fortunately, all that is needed are minor course corrections. Sometimes this can be difficult, but the effort is worth it. I’ve already started being more mindful about what I eat, and how much. I’ve decided to abstain from alcohol until I’m confident I’ve broken the bad habit of drinking it. I’ve re-scheduled my appointment with my MDS and am taking measures to be sure I don’t miss it this time. With Parkinson’s, these simple changes make all the difference. My mood is already improving.
So I thought I would reach out with this friendly reminder: be mindful of your health. This advice applies to anyone, but particularly so if you have Parkinson’s.
Oh, and one last thing…to all you PwP, be sure to appreciate all that your caretaker does for you!