Embrace the Possibilities: by Maria De León

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As we reach the end of another year, one thing is certain the one thing we can count on is change. Seasons change, fashion changes, friends come and go, our goals, our likes dislikes change and our health stands in the balance of a see-saw not knowing when we will go up or come down.

When I was staring my medical career, I knew I was in for a long haul of commitment and focus. I needed to get myself prepared for what laid ahead mentally. So my best friend from childhood and I decided to take a trip to Acapulco. No better way to replenish the soul and mind than by sitting at the edge of the ocean contemplating and listening to the sound of the  waves. After 27 hours, we finally arrived anxious to enjoy the beach, my friend and I ventured out in the evening as the sun was going down and the tides were beginning to pick up. Yet, all we wanted was to bask in the view and maybe get our feet wet a bit. I carefully laid out my beach towel, my clothes, sandals, and other possessions, I was about to sit on my towel when a huge wave crashed upon the shore engulfing my belongings. Our carefully chosen spot had proven to be not far enough from the rising evening  tides. Apparently, this was high tide season. As the waves retrieved, it carried with it all my possessions leaving me mystified.

As I watched all of my things being dragged into the ocean, I took off running after it. It had taken my wallet. However, the waves were not only faster but retrieved deeper into the bay. As we sat there a bit dumbfounded about how quickly it had all happened taking us by surprise and resigning myself that on my first day I had lost all my money.  When a few minutes later another huge wave happened upon the shore bigger than the first one as it crashing briskly upon us and the rocks but as it retrieved I began to notice a resurfacing of my things. Quickly my friend and I sprang to retrieve my wallet first before it could be engulfed again perhaps this time never to be seen an de completely ruining my vacation. Of course, everything was completely soiled. The large beach towel was filed with muddy sand, seashells and a few small crabs. I did not care all my things were back.

This event thought me that sometimes the change of the tides can take us by surprise leaving us discombobulated and dumbfounded, wondering were to go next or what to do.

But, just as surely as the sun rises and sets, if  we just keep breathing staying alive fighting for the things we want and keeping a watchful eye eventually the same tide will come again bringing back that which we thought was gone and lost forever. Better yet giving us a way to move from the shore to new lands and dreams because at some point all of us have to move person past the crest line.

as we start a brand new year with 365 blank pages to fill, remember that although we are not in control of when the tide comes in or how big the crest of the waves are, we are in control of how we allow the tides of life to impact us. In the same trip a couple of days later, my friend and I decided to eat at this mom and pop makeshift restaurant on the same beach while we ate barefooted. I enjoyed the coming and going of the waves past my feet underneath the table where we sat. To this day I savor the thought and wish to return to that place.

So as you find yourself face to face with an unexpected tide which might leave you Topsy curvy rather than panic or give up; wait awhile the tide will eventually change allowing you to move forward an din doing so take inventory and breath in the endless possibilities. Notwithstanding that It is our impossibilities that become our greatest gifts – it certainly has been the case for me having reinvented myself and enjoying my life fully despite living with pd for a decade.

Trust that nothing is ever wasted and in the end if you allow yourself to embrace the changes that the tides brings you will emerge softer, gentler, kinder, more courageous, and stronger than ever.

Happy Holidays!

@copyright 2017

all rights reserved by Maria De Leon MD

A Year in the Parkinson’s Diva Life: By Maria De Leon

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A woman is strong because she has been weak; she is beautiful because she knows her own faults; and lives without fear because once she was afraid.”

Carolina Herrera

As we draw near the end of another year, I am prone to reflect on the good, the bad and the ugly that which has greatly impacted my life. Not everything that touches us or makes us who we are is necessarily good or at least not on the surface.

This year has been a year of great losses for many of us as well as great victories. Is my experience that these usually go hand in hand. The triumphs allow us to get through the sorrows and hardships while the devastating moments make the victories that much sweeter.

The year started strong with me finally getting better after last year’s pulmonary embolism and TIA (mini stroke) which took me nearly 6 months to fully recover.

Then it suddenly took a turn for the worst with my best friend being diagnoses with stage 4 cancer! a week after we had made all kinds of plans for the year…

Got to travel to DC see old friends, make new friends, and even meet a few celebrities such as MJFox while advocating for changes in public policy to improve research funding, and better more affordable health care at Capitol Hill.

Traveled to a new country with my husband and daughter and found the perfect city that made my hair look fabulous because there was no humidity. Who knew my hair could look good first thing in the morning?

After much prayer and seven long months of grueling chemotherapy and bone marrow transplant, my friend is finally cancer free- confirming that miracles still exist!

Saw two of my nieces and nephews graduate – one doing a master and one started college and i got to play the fun Tia (aunt) role throwing parties and even traveling with my niece to her new university. Since it all is connected somehow, I got to meet my new friends (Kate & Chris) at Health Union where I am now a contributing author on the health communities of  http://www.migraine.com and http://www.parkinsonsdisease.net; where I am cherishing the opportunity to work with like minded individuals who are just as passionate about making a difference in someones world.  For me doing something that I love doing aside from Parkinson is also a huge plus.

Let’s not forget that this year, we celebrated 200 year’s since Dr. James Parkinson annotated his observation on a disease we now call by his name. As such, I was a part of a huge campaign to bring PD awareness to the Hispanic community in this country by appearing on sites like Dr. Isabel show on Univision and was broadcasted around the country through the radio to several Spanish speaking station from Texas to Florida, Georgia and the Carolina’s. Plus, I now can boast of having two published books with my latest Spanish book on PD – Viviendo mas alla del parkinson was recently published.

Of course before the summer was over, I was down for over two months with a viral infection after seeing my doctor the day before, where he complimented my good health and said i did not need to see him till next year. Famous last words! this little viral infection caused me to miss my opportunity to travel to South Dakota. Fortunately, I was able to at least virtually meet a few of them including saying hi to my friends whom I like to call ‘the Mary’s!’

Lost an old friend and regained an old friend. But, as I was driving around the other day dropping off  and chauffeuring my daughter and classmates all over the place I realized is not such a bad life. Sure I can’t multitask to save my life, can’t remember even my own name a couple of hours after taking amantadine or even where I opened a bank account – “at some bank on a corner street”, I told my husband. “Which corner?”, he asked extremely perplexed since there is one in nearly every corner. “I don’t know,” I said. “I am pretty sure I will know when I see it.” Not comforting words to my husband or any other man.

I get frustrated easily and my goodness the heat is unbearable dripping droplets of water from my forehead on a regular basis but not a drop of fat lost- husband’s theory is that my body is conserving its nutrients because I seem to go into starvation mode for a few days at a time when my gastroparesis is at its peak. At any rate, I have learned to appreciate my curves and the moments when I am totally ‘me’ feeling as good as any young healthy person would – for which my husband has dubbed my life as the Curious Case of Maria D. When I am on top of my game and not choking on my own saliva and not  tripping over myself or running over the garage- I seem to be getting younger and stronger in his eyes!

Perhaps, I am not afraid of PD because I was once consumed with fear of the unknown; it no longer has a strong hold over me. Thanks to PD, I have learned to be more forgiving of mine and others shortcomings and have learned when to rely on my strengths and when to ask for help because I am weak- which happens a lot. I constantly get inspiration from strong, independent, beautiful, intelligent Hispanic Women who happen to be icons in their own fields such as Isabel Allende, Carolina Herrera. i identify with the latter because she began her career  in her 40’s, at an age when I too had to make a new transition in my life from physician/clinician to writer/motivational speaker and most important of all patient advocate.  And like her, I believe that fashion is an outward expression of ourselves free and unencumbered. But, the best garment any woman can wear is knowledge.

Aside from all this things for which I am truly grateful,  one of the greatest gifts and joys has been able to share my journey with all of you.

Thank you & Happy Holidays to everyone!

XOXO

@copyright2017

all rights reserved by Maria De Leon