2/24/16 – It has come to my attention that some readers may have been offended by some of my viewpoints in the blog post “Oblivion” yesterday. While this is regrettable and it does sadden me, I can’t edit or apologize for anything I wrote. I will, however attempt to explain.
The main points in question are the concept that true end-stage Parkinson’s might be a fate worse than death as well as my vilification of the wheelchair. First off, I wasn’t referring to anyone in particular and do not even know anyone who is in the state that I was attempting to describe. If anyone thought that my reference was to a specific person, it is a perfectly understandable mistake. When I think of that state of this disease, I think of my Step Mom’s Father, my Grandpa Bob. He was my first exposure to PD at a fairly young age and the effect that it had on a truly great man honestly scared me. So it is definitely due to this early exposure to this disease that I have developed such a war-like mentality towards it. I truly hate it, but don’t we all? I also have a strong hatred for what it has done to one of my heroes even before we became fellow Parkies, Muhammad Ali. While he would try to put a positive spin on his current state of existence as we all do, I am 100% certain that he would be honest and confirm that it is truly a terrible thing to experience.
I stand by my comparison of this state to death or “the loss of living without the loss of life”. This is not referring to any PwP that I know. Every person that I have met that shares this affliction is full of life on a level that has truly inspired me beyond words. My Parkie brothers and sisters are the reason that I drive myself to do things that should be almost impossible in my condition for the sole purpose of returning the inspiration that they give me as well as representing them in the arena of my sport. My comparison of end-stage PD to death is my own, and it stems from the weeks leading up to my final diagnosis. While I knew that what I had was Parkinson’s Disease, my constant thoughts were, “Please let it be a brain tumor, or even cancer!”. What I wanted was just a chance to beat whatever had started intruding on my life, and to me, the stakes of losing either fight were at the very least equal. So if that statement was taken personally by or for anyone, know this: I hope that when my symptoms start to progress I exhibit the same grace and courage I see in literally every single PwP that I know. That is your truth.
Finally, an explanation of my writing, not an apology for it. I believe that an honest writer should bare his soul and render him or herself vulnerable when writing about the emotional subjects that are my normal parlance. My writing is intended to be visceral and brutally honest. There are two reasons for this. First, I truly want it to invoke the powerful base emotions that are needed to excel not just in this fight with PD, but in life itself. I believe it is important to channel our primal fear and rage from a negative force into a positive energy that we can use to better ourselves. Just listen to me train, and you’ll know what I mean: The other reason I employ this style of writing is that it is my second form of personally applied therapy. It is simply another channel to deal with all of the negativity that I struggle with from day to day in this eternal war-zone that my life has become.
Readers of this blog can be sure of receiving one thing here: HONESTY. In that light, allow me to shatter the image that I am any better than any of my extended Parkinson’s family. I’m not anything special, I just tell the story of my fight in the hopes that it empowers others. Every other PwP walks an equally difficult road if not far more so and their challenges are far greater than any 700 lb. barbell. While I do strive to be great and serve as someone who inspires others, I am not without fear or frustration. Depression is my constant companion. I want this blog to show that having these struggles is not a bad thing. This is life and a life well-lived is not defined by the absence of worry, pain, regret or fear. A life well-lived is defined by how we carry on in spite of these things and the happiness that we forge from them.
2/22/16 – New Blog post with a new video:
2/21/16 – Today was very frustrating. A big opportunity to meet Mark Bell and my body betrayed me in two ways. For those who don’t know, Mark Bell is one of the biggest names in powerlifting. He has a very popular podcast that features some of the best lifters in the world and a line of very good quality lifting equpiment. He’s also known for giving a lot back to our sport. So I get my chance to learn from and lift with some guys I really look up to and it comes the day after I add Pramipexole back into my regimen and basically double my nausea. Long story short: I failed three times at a weight 50lbs less than my current personal best. Sometimes prior success can make boulders out of failures that should be pebbles. This is how easy 585 was the last time I went this high. After this I threw on another 50lbs and hit 635 for a 30lb PR. Today, I couldn’t even budge this off the ground. The lesson here is to not let these frustrations do any more damage than they need to. I can always bounce back. The medications that are causing this right now will likely cause me to basically feel almost like a normal human being with a functioning nervous system again. Time to take a step back, set my feet, and three very long strides forward again.