April 5, 2016

Time to Accept That I Am a Sick Old Man Who Is Only Going to Get Sicker and Older

I'm making a major shift in my approach to dealing with Parkinson's (PD) and aging.

I was diagnosed with PD in the fall of 2009, the year I turned 80. Until recently, I've fought to maintain as much of my pre-diagnosis quality of life as possible.

Now I'm switching my focus. I have a serious progressive disease, and I'll be 87 in a few months. I must re-examine virtually everything about my old "normal" life, make appropriate changes for the very different man I am now, and prepare for my final exit.

Guidance from President Obama
President Obama told Vanity Fair recently:
You'll see I wear only gray or blue suits.I'm trying to pare down decisions. I don't want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make.
Well, I don't have that many big decisions to make. I just want to conserve my increasingly limited energy.

For example, yesterday I decided I'd just put blueberries on my morning cereal and forget about the blackberries and raspberries. Blueberries are one of our healthiest foods, and a favorite of mine. Why waste the time and energy buying, storing, and eating the blackberries and raspberries? This change may save me only a few minutes a day... but that's over 12 hours a year.

Many of the changes I'm making will conserve much more of my time and energy. Several examples:
  • I've canceled the daily delivery of the Washington Post and now get only the Sunday paper. I don't think I'm missing much by not reading yet another story about Metro breakdowns. 
  • I'm throwing away about 90 percent of the books I've got stashed all over the house, and most of the miscellaneous clutter I've accumulated over the years. 
  • My recycle bin is overflowing with the papers I'm discarding from my files. Many are clippings and printouts of information I can now easily find on the internet. 
Most of all, my recent decision to stop researching and writing blog posts about general health topics will free up loads of time and energy.

I started this blog six years ago to tell everybody with PD about my "miracle experience" with the OTC supplement 5-HTP. When I learned I was just about the only person experiencing this miracle, I began researching and writing posts featuring the latest studies about health generally, and about PD and aging in particular.

Many of those posts were way too long, and I doubt many readers actually got to the end of them. 

As I've gathered more personal experience about aging and living with Parkinson's, I've begun posting about those issues exclusively. 

It's about time.

This change is win-win for me. The "me" posts are much quicker and easier to do, so I spend less time sitting at my computer -- another recent, important goal.

The blog readership statistics suggest that these more personal posts are more likely to be read and -- I hope -- enjoyed.


Jackie Blanchard said...

The changes you are making are good ones to follow for 66 year-olds, too! Love you, John.

Martin Roberts said...

I agree - you're making very sound moves to 'de-clutter' I'm walking down that path as well - don't need so many decision and clutter around. God Bless.

Fresh Sound Music is said...

John, I love you and how you face and deal with all the stuff going on with you. I too am decluttering. The only really hard process is going through all the family photos and letters. What to save, what to give to my kids, what to just dump. And, I love reading everything you write.

Fresh Sound Music is said...

The above comment is from me, Bonnie Wright, not my music series. Arghh

Anonymous said...

John, I have just discovered your blog, and find it comforting, informative, entertaining and well-written. I hope you read this and know about one more person who is grateful for you and what you do.

Anonymous said...

hi John, I came across your blog tonight researching curcumin for my mum's rheumatoid arthritis.
I found your articles really well researched and SANE!
I don't think my mum is as well appointed mentally at 65 years as you. I hope I am at her age.
I love the content old and new.

Katie, 39, Australia

Bonnie said...

Your recent decisions make a lot of sense. My father had Parkinsons and passed away a few years ago. Without so much clutter, he became more open to meaningful conversations with his family. As he simplified his life, he seemed to gain a new sense of peace.

kelpi said...

beautifully written; thank you for sharing. sending you love.

Lin said...

I just found your blog and have bookmarked it. I plan to read every post so please don't take it down! I look forward to reading about your research as well as your personal observations. Thank you for sharing with others.

Anonymous said...

John, happy to meet you. I'm grateful to have stumbled on your site. Can't remember what I googled to get here cuz I got so absorbed in your post! Anywho, I'm a 61 yo female appreciating your wisdom -- and that you're sharing it (my folks have passed and I miss having wise elders around!).

I've been wanting/dreading to seriously downsize and your writings are reminding me that I have the option to choose how I want it to be while I do it. Right this moment I swear I can feel a lightness just thinking about the spaciousness it would create. See what you inspired?!

In preparing for my yard sale last summer, I made up a sign that I taped to the wall as I worked room to room. The sign said,"Share the Love!" A bunch was family stuff that was tough to part with, so the sign definitely helped get more stuff out the door -- and I haven't missed any of it yet! Best to ya -- Rocketsheep

Anonymous said...

Like others, really glad to have found your blog. Got there today, looking for info on the Foxhall Internists, and found your discussion of concierge medicine very helpful in organizing my thoughts. (No decision on that yet.) But, like others, quickly found myself hungry to read your posts on other subjects. Have run out of time to do more of that tonight but have already printed a number of them to share with my wife, and probably my adult kids.

I already disagree with you on one thing, though: "Many of those posts were way too long, and I doubt many readers actually got to the end of them." Certainly not my reaction to the ones I read. And I thank you for pulling together so much useful information from your research.