Cancer & PD: What now ?: by Maria De Leon

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“You  promised me, Lord, that if I followed You;

You would walk with me always.

But, I have noticed that during

the most trying periods of my life

there has only been one set of footprints in the sand.

Why, when I needed You most,

have you not been there for me?

The Lord replied, “the years when you have seen only one set of footprints, My child, is when I carried you.”

excerpt from ‘Footprints in the Sand’-  author unknown

Each time I have had to confront the ‘C’ word I have found solace in this beautiful poem. I hope you can do the same knowing that you are not alone and greatly loved.

Seems like when everything is going well in our lives even with PD because symptoms are finally controlled and we are in our groove doing our own thing life is pleasant and full of possibilities. Seems that the sun might be a bit brighter than usual and the foliage we love is more colorful than previously thought. But, as things fall apart or tragedy hits our lives, we suddenly experience a souring in all our lives pleasures and activities.

You begin to think it is bad enough I have to live with Parkinson’s disease but now I have to deal with this monster called CANCER!

Some may be tempted to do nothing or become paralyzed and consumed by fear of the unknown.

Today, I just want to say “you can do it!” to those of you who are battling cancer in the midst of PD.

You are probably feeling like life is completely unfair, right about now. Well, let me put your mind at ease-IT IS!

However, this is no reason to draw up into a ball and hide under the covers- which I am sure you feel like doing some days more than others. Perfectly normal- I have been there way too many times myself. This my friend is the time to ‘summon your inner Diva’ and give it your all. When we were given a diagnosis of PD, we felt as if our world was ending but nothing compares to hearing you have cancer. Suddenly, the days seem so finite and you begin to take account of your entire life. This itself can be an eye opener because when we are faced with mortality somehow things automatically come into focus and we can clearly see what is truly important and of value in our lives. Go ahead and use this experience my esteemed reader as a chance to grow spiritually as well as an individual.

I like to think of these experiences as pearl makers!

For those of you who are oyster lovers, fresh oysters are a big treat, but  you also know how stubborn and hard the outer shell of an oyster can be. Shucking an oyster can be hazardous but sometimes can prove even more rewarding then anticipated when you discover the treasure within. We sometimes can become hardened by lives circumstances as in living with a chronic illness like PD protecting our soft, vulnerable inner self.

But, it may take another illness like cancer to put a crack in our shell causing us major irritation as a grain of sand does to the oyster which through much pain, discomfort and adversity is turned into a gem- a beautiful pearl!

First realize that you are wonderfully made and everything has a purpose and a time under the sun. Then let go of any anger, frustration, and pity party’s and concentrate on getting better.

This means take care of your Parkinson’s disease to make sure that you are strong physically and mentally to undergo any and all treatments required. Listen to your body- rest when you are tired and eat whatever your body demands -it always knows what we are lacking in. Let your friends and family pamper you and don’t try to do everything yourself or put up a front of being well when you are not. Although, the recovery will be slow and uncomfortable it will be much quicker if you allow yourself time to heal.

When I underwent radiation for my second cancer, I spent the first 6 months just sleeping. I was so exhausted that even watching a movie would  drain me. Even the last 6 months of that year- I relied on friends heavily to help me get things accomplished in the house and so on. Don’t let pride get in the way- we all need help sometimes.

Despite the fact that cancer is not easy to confront and it cant always be beaten- it does not have to get the best of us. we can still be a blessing to others.

Remember, that a spirit who is able to find good in adversity is a true gift from above.