As promised, I thought I'd list some of the things I've gained as a result of having Parkinson's:
A sense of purpose. I feel that I have a cause now, maybe a small inkling of what God has in mind for me. I have something to work towards, and that keeps me going. I've never really had this kind of direction before. Doing positive things to help myself and others and working towards a goal makes life more meaningful.
An appreciation for little things in life. More and more, I find myself noticing and appreciating little things like the wind in the trees, the way the squirrels chase each other and tease the dog, flowers growing where they're not supposed to (instead of in the planter box!), the way it feels to walk as fast as I can just for the joy of walking.
Prioritization. I'm beginning to understand, for the first time in my life, that my priorities need to be rearranged. For years, I put work first. I paid lip service to putting family first or putting my needs first, but when it came down to it, it was work all the way. I let my job define me as a person; if I failed at work, I failed at life. Now that I've had to face the realization that I can't do my job as well as I used to, I'm starting to let go a little. This is a slow process, and I'm still working on it, but as they say, the first step is admitting you have a problem!
Less self consciousness. When I was first diagnosed, I worried a lot about people staring at me or judging me based on my symptoms. Now, I've found that most people don't notice anything; most of the time people aren't looking at me at all. I've also come around to feeling like I don't care what they think anyway; if they want to stare, I'll stare back and smile! If they are bold enough to ask what's wrong (as has happened on a couple of occasions) I treat it as an educational opportunity. Spreading the word about PD is a good thing, right? It's kind of freeing; I just don't care what I look like as much as I used to. If my makeup isn't perfect (or isn't on at all), or I haven't bothered to do anything with my hair except brush it, I think "Hey! I have Parkinson's and I'm menopausal; what do they want?"
Friends. I've never had so many friends in my life; friends that share personal thoughts and feelings, friends that call and ask how I'm doing, friends that keep track of one another and get concerned if one of the circle hasn't called or been on line in a while. It's wonderful to see all these beautiful people drawn together to face adversity together. I'm so happy to be a part of it!
There are other things, too but I can't think right now. Need coffee.......