January 18, 2011

9 Reasons Why 2010 -- my first year with a Parkinson's diagnosis -- was the best of my 81 years

New Year’s Day 2011 marked the end of my first calendar year after my diagnosis with Parkinson's in September 2009. So this is a good time to pause and reflect on where I've been and where I'm going. I've concluded, surprisingly, that the past year was probably my best ever. Reading this, you might well wonder ---

If your first year with a PD diagnosis was your best, were your earlier years that miserable?

On the contrary, I've had a pretty good life. Professionally, within a month of leaving Cornell in 1955, I landed an editorial job at BNA, an employee-owned legal publisher in Washington, DC, where I enjoyed a 40-year career in labor relations and employment law, rising to become a board member and vice president of HR by the time I retired.

Personally, my life changed for the better once I got sober and came out in 1978, but my kids make me grateful for the years I tried to hide in a marriage, and to this day, I have yet to find anyone with whom I'm as compatible as I was with my now-deceased wife.
When I got sober and became honest about my innate nature, I quickly acquired a community and support network of others who were going through the same struggles. My life since then has been full of fun, friends, and rewards. Those first exhilarating years of being sober and out are close runner-ups for the "Best Year" award. But 2010 still wins the gold medal for the reasons briefly listed below. (Separate posts follow elaborating on each reason if you are interested in a fuller explanation.)

1. PD has given me a new focus, challenge, and cause.
2. Knowing what I'm dealing with and using the PD meds and exercises has restored my spirits, energy, and drive.
3. 5-HTP has alleviated my depression, insomnia, and constipation, greatly enhancing the quality of my life. It also has had some interesting side effects. (See separate post below.)
4. Working on this blog definitely adds to the quality of my life, I love doing this!
5. My PD support group and online support networks give me a community for sharing our experience, strength, and hope … and laughs.
6. I've returned to meditation and find it to be more helpful than ever, particularly when combined with 5-HTP.
7. Exercise has been a BIG factor in making 2010 my best year ever.
8. My days are more filled than ever with activities that keep me interested and involved.
9. Last and definitely not least, my already strong support network of family and friends got even stronger in 2010.

No problems? Of course the past year has not been problem-free, Life always is a hassle. One of my best friends lost his 15-year struggle with cancer last year. Several friends have been hard-hit by the recession. Others are struggling with health problems and the lack of affordable insurance. My libido seems to be sinking and almost disappearing (which might be a blessing given my past history). 

Enough about me. How about you? I’d love to hear from you about how you’ve been dealing with any of these issues. Also this blog will be posting a report each week on research done in answer to inquiries or comments submitted by readers like you. (I love doing internet research.)

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