Woman to Woman: How to be a Successful Parkinson’s Mentor Even When You Think You Have Nothing Else to Give. By Dr. De Leon

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photoDo I Have the stuff mentors are made off?

First, when you are diagnosed with a chronic illness like Sacha and I have as countless other women out there who have been given similar prognosis have wondered at one time or another whether they still had something to teach? When an illness such as Parkinson’s disease first strikes invariably we feel at a loss and maybe a bit like the wind has been taken out of our sails. Some perhaps have even felt like their best years were behind and their dreams were now over so how could I imagine asking anyone to become a mentor?

Well, I want you to close your eyes and think of someone who was there for you at some point in your life when you truly needed a friend or some guidance-are you smiling now? I bet that person brings all kinds of warm fuzzy feelings. Now, you are really thinking, I REALLY don’t have the RIGHT stuff! But, when you stop to think about it that person that took time to see you through the tough times and encouraged you to grow and develop your talents was not a super human being – wonder woman with a cape and truth lasso leaping tall buildings performing heroic deeds although they might have seemed like that to you. Instead these wonderful creatures we learned to lean on, depend on, trust, and bring into the fold of our families started as mentors giving the best part of themselves in such a way that they helped us become the very best we could be. We all have unique talents and skills which could be used to build and foster others talents. After my diagnosis, I thought I would never be able to work with Parkinson’s patients again and ten years later I am more deeply involved in the lives of so many people with PD throughout the world in a level that I never would have thought possible. Because I was fortunate to have many great female role models, one of whom continues to play a vital role in my life even after the change in career and onset of PD that I feel compelled to emulate her (Dr. Mya Schiess) as a great woman healer and mentor.

Remember, the best way to succeed in life and be truly happy is to do something meaningful for another human being- this is a biblical principle.

When you become involved in someone else’s well- being you suddenly begin to heal as well. Give it a shot. Don’t worry about being qualified. No one is ever truly qualified until they begin the journey. All it takes is a genuine desire to help others.

Still not certain?

Can you answer any of the following?

  • I have fallen, failed and been hurt
  • I have endured disappointments
  • I want a better world for my children
  • I too live with a chronic illness and feel a need to help those with similar plight

If you answered YES to any of these you have the STUFF to be a Mentor…me

 

What is the role of a Mentor?

Now, that you have seen how truly gifted you are and how you may begin to feel better about your lot in life through mentoring, you are still wondering if you have what it takes. After all, you don’t have much energy these days and sometimes you feel like all you do is go to the doctor or take care of others already being a mom, a wife, and a million other tittles imposed by those around you.

I would suggest start with practical things that would benefit someone with your same plight or interests. For instance, if you have another woman you are trying to help (can be someone older or younger) may offer her a ride to the store or doctor if she needs it and your schedule allows it (you are already going in that direction or to the same place). This way you are being of assistance to another and not costing you much time or effort. Yet, the sentiment is extraordinarily regarded. So be a servant.

Sometimes, what we really need is for someone to hear us. This is especially truly when we are first given bad news. Use the feelings that you felt and allow yourself to empathize and sympathize for some else in those same shoes. We don’t really expect anyone to solve all of our problems or cure our illness, but a shoulder to cry on is a much appreciated and highly valued thing. This simple act of listening and encouraging someone is typically the first step to a long meaningful relationship returning confidence and worth to the person in need. You can do this over the phone or skype but much better and more effective in person. Be a listener.

At other times, it may be required that you help someone make important life decisions based on your experience and their abilities – a great deal of finesse is required as well as love for the person you are helping for you will not be merely dispensing advice but actual counsel with purpose of making their lives better. A wise counselor always listens more than she talks. Use open ended questions. Be a Counselor.

Finally, you have been where your friend has not and know the perils and victories. Lead the path with love allowing her to make her own decisions. You cannot impose or insist that they do things your way to arrive at the same destination. They must try out things for themselves feeling what is right for them so they can be successful. Learning to find their own unique voice, talent or skill to share with the world that will make them shine just as you shine despite your illness. Sacha’s talent is art, mine is still teaching. Be a Guide.

AS we begin to discover what makes us different in the world of PD from our male counterparts, we should also begin to build up one another as women encouraging, lifting, educating, so that the women with PD that come behind us can be the next leaders, counselors, advocates, guides, researchers and friends for the next generation of women with PD who may even unlock the key to the CURE!

Remember ” A woman is like a tea bag- you never know how STRONG she is until she gets in hot water.” Eleanor Roosevelt

@copyright 2015

all rights reserved by Maria De Leon

Feeling Distressed Today? by Maria De Leon

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Lately, like so many of you, I too have  been feeling distressed- not being able to show up on time to events, or able to attend prior commitments. I used to be the life of the party and a person who could make plans months and years in advance and always able to keep all my commitments. I know that some of you out there living with chronic illnesses and Parkinson’s for a long time know exactly what I am talking about. I have heard many of you complain about the disappointment and distress felt when you or your loved one are no longer included in invitations to parties, gatherings, dinner etc. because you are also unable to always show -up. It’s rather an unnerving feeling knowing that people don’t count on you any longer or even expect you to show up.

While trying to get my head around these feelings experienced by all of us at one point or another when living with an illness like Parkinson’s, I began thinking about my favorite place- the beach.

I you are like me one that enjoys walking down the shore barefooted getting your feet wet as the waves dance around, you probably have taken inventory of common things found on the beach as you have taken many a leisurely promenade.

You most likely saw pier posts covered in barnacles, distressed boats and oxidized iron as you strolled on by. In another time, like us, they were pristine and remarkable to behold. I want all of us to remember and emphasize the fact that although these objects like us (or rather the way we feel sometimes) are worn, tired, chipped, dented and not so pretty to the naked eye are still Beautiful!

This is because, like us, these objects wear the scars of time, hardship, and experience with pride and genuineness. Perhaps, after the waves of PD or caregiving have pelted your body over and over through the years, you too are feeling like these distressed items. Maybe you once had a great career before PD; but even though it might have been a choice to leave it or make necessary alterations- they no longer exist in their previous form.

Like me you are also completely at peace with your life choices given the cards we have been dealt, yet there may still be days when you might feel alone and distressed. Slighted by someone’s lack of understanding, compassion, or feeling excluded may cause the ‘what-ifs’ to creep in.

But, we must not give in to guilt, sadness, much less anger. However, consider this- the only way an object gets distressed is because it has been the best in its field; therefore continuously used and of service. You have been useful and of benefit to more people than you will ever realize and you have the marks to prove it. Just like the distressed furniture found on an elegant and gorgeous beach home invite us to rest and enjoy the view thus contributing to our life’s story.

The same is true for us who are feeling worn out- you have and persistently contributing much to make someone’s past, present, and future better. Your empty seat at a business meeting, lecture hall, medical team, football game is only an indication that you have been instrumental in forging the next generation of caregivers, advocates, volunteers, citizens, and professional people. Remember, just because at the moment you are not at the table of the ‘movers and shakers’ that does not mean that you are done or finished with the work that God has put in your heart or is your destiny to complete until we are all called Home!

Let us instead dwell on the prospect that our ‘what-ifs’ might at some point blend into the ‘what-now’s.

Walk rather, on the beach or wherever you choose, always with head up high displaying your marks of distinction- which are a confluence of both your hardships and victories knowing that the past chapters were purposeful and of great impact. So, don’t try to fit in or please a crowd to avoid feeling distressed instead be your genuine self proudly displaying your years of wear battling PD along with your very own colorful bright pink eggs – like the ‘leafy sea dragons’  who although they are able to camouflage their eggs choose not to.

Go ahead, embrace your Parkinson’s disease or whatever other illness you might have and be yourself. Those that love you and matter will always be around to comfort you and support you in times of need and will always have a seat reserve just for you!

@copyright 2015

all rights reserved by Maria De León MD

 

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.

Lighthouses: by Maria De Leon

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…”though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light.” ~ Micah 7:8 NIV

I love lighthouses. Whenever I get a chance to travel to an area known for their lighthouses, I never pass on the opportunity. These grand structures are majestic and mysterious in nature for the power they hold; yet despite their veritable importance they always stand aloof, detached and solitary. However, these magnificently stoic architectural works of art, since no two are alike, serve a very distinct function for those in need.

Sometimes, as in living with a chronic illness like Parkinson’s disease we can become so overwhelmed that we are no longer capable of identifying treacherous terrain in front of our own eyes. If we do not heed the warning of others who have a lighthouse view, the passage can turn unsafe and even dark.

Although, caregivers who are mostly women are increasingly stressed in direct proportion to the number of years spent in the “business” of giving/providing care when help is offered, the extra assistance is not readily accepted as was the case in the care of my father. One of the main issues is guilt. Many caregivers feel ashamed or guilty in admitting they require outside help; thus might even turn it away when offered or not actively seek it. The second problem I encountered in my patients as well as in my family was a sense of duty and responsibility to ease the fears, anxiety, and shame the patient may feel as he or she is losing independence and unwillingness to appear weak in front of a stranger. this was my dad’s problem who refused outside help because ‘no one would take better care of him than my mom and I.”

Here are a few tips to help spouses, care-partners, and caregivers recognize and accept outside assistance by helping them work out their fears and ambivalence.

First, we must convey to them that the perspective is much different and broader with a myriad of options when standing at the top of the lighthouse with a clear view of everything than when in the seashore in the dark and feeling alone.

The temptation to strike out on our own is always present and stronger especially in those of us who are used to taking care of everything and everyone. Initially, more so if the person is very adept, like a ship that disregards the lighthouse warnings, will continue to progress and maybe even be successful in the day to day care of their loved one for a time. Ultimately, causing not just one’s one destruction or demise but that of our loved one whom we are trying to protect; because if you are not well then neither will your loved one who then might have a quicker descent.

Therefore, learn to swim parallel to the riptides heeding the following warnings from the lighthouses in your life to a happier more successful outcome for both you and your partner.

Recognize the warning signs:

  1. Irritability– if you find yourself often frustrated at the person whom you are supposed to care for, including neglect or abuse ( verbal, emotional, physical) -NEED HELP ASAP!
  2. Depressed– you are experiencing symptoms of depression yourself lasting more than 2 weeks- especially if wanting to die, harm yourself or worse harm the person whom you care for, this includes wishing they were dead or would die soon.
  3. Others are worried or concerned about your coping– friends, family are noticing changes in your mood or behavior.

If you find yourself in this group:

  • Allow yourself to feel guilt followed by relief- forgive yourself- don’t be so hard on yourself. You CAN NOT DO IT ALL. NO BODY CAN BE ALL THINGS TO ANYBODY!!! ONLY GOD!!
  • Talk to your physician, a counselor, a spiritual leader.
  • Go to a support group
  • Go to a psychologist/psychiatrist
  • Start making plans for yourself again as you redefine your role as caregiver with assistance/new found help.

Resources for Help:

http://www.eldercare.gov

http://www.shipnpr.acl.gov.

http://www.pdf.org

http://www.caregiving.org

http://www.caregiverstress.com

http://www.assited-living-directory.com

http://www.eldercarelink.com

@copyright 2015

all rights reserbved by Maria De LeonMD

Something’s Missing: By Maria De Leon

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“Let God’s love touch you like an ocean breeze…”

A boat without a sail, …an empty bird’s nest, a lighthouse without light…we can walk past these common objects a hundred times without paying much attention or allowing our minds to focus on the missing parts. Yet, when something happens in our lives out of the ordinary, like getting a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease (PD), we suddenly stop and begin to take notice of the missing components that rightfully belonged with those things we never paid much mind to. We ourselves begin to feel that something within us, once an integral part of our beings is no longer there.

Can you relate to this feeling?

The longing for the old self can be devastating initially. No one else can comfort us no matter how well intended they are. Perhaps, friends are encouraging us to look beyond the illness directing our thoughts towards the blessings in our lives such as family, friends, and loved ones. But despite the good intentions, the initial optimism from everyone else can reinforce feelings of negativity within us, or heighten our grief and depression making us feel like somehow we are the ones not strong enough! Ultimately, this does not fix the desire of the newly diagnosed PD person to revert to the old life, to wish it was all a dream, or to prevent the mourning of something lost.

However, I say to you my esteemed reader that if you have a loved one, a friend, or a spouse now feeling this way, the best remedy is a tender hug and a listening ear for as long as it takes without commentary.

To you who have just been diagnosed with PD, I say courage. It takes lots of it to let go especially in such a deep personal level when the future seems uncertain and frightening. It may require you to change the focus of your life, as well as the direction of your sails, and begin expanding your energy on new horizons but it is a step that must be undertaken at some point. The grief and tears MUST cease and the windows of our hearts once again opened wide open if we are to again enjoy life despite PD and have peace in our hearts.

In time, you will discover that part of you is not missing at all it has simply transformed itself giving birth to something more beautiful like a caterpillar which has morphed into a majestic blue butterfly.

Go ahead spread your wings & be free!

blue@copyright 2016

all right reserved by Maria De Leon MD

Getting ready for the fall- the PD diva way: by Maria De Leon

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Summer is almost over but another one is just around the corner.” unknown

Labor Day Weekend always marks the end of the summer for me as for most as kids return to their studies. Although, officially we still have a couple of weeks left to enjoy the extended daylight, the carefree days of summer seem to abruptly come to an end once this holiday arrives.  Although, I secretly anticipate the return of summer, I have learned to embrace each season for their own beauty. As I begin pulling out all the decorations for the fall, I feel an excitement mounting once more for new opportunity to display the wonderful array of colors that fall has to offer from its deepest red to its darkest yellows. I realize that just as in life we must embrace every opportunity as it comes – just as a year unfolds so do our lives. We have seasons of rest, pruning, and times of great productivity. But within each season of our life there is beauty to behold; no period is less important or beautiful than any other.

The arrival of autumn is more satisfying to me with each passing year as it mimics my  life with PD. Autumn like Parkinson’s has the ability to draw from a wide spectrum of brilliant colors painting the panorama with an impressive display of colors which summer will never see. As I near the end of summer in my own life, living with PD I am discovering a new range of talents never once displayed along with a burst of creativity I never knew I possessed until it was ready to be harvested.

Despite the fact that it takes me longer and requires more effort on my part, at least a lot more dopamine plus a few chocolates here and there, just to be able to take things out from storage and begin preparing the home for its seasonal-fall make over, I would not change a thing. there’s nothing like the aroma of cinnamon pumpkin, sweet candy apple, and candy corn intermingled to liven my spirit…crisp apple soaps to awaken the senses of even the sleepiest of us all. I absolutely love the lingering aroma of fresh citrus fruits on my hands all day especially since I constantly wash my hands.

This is the season, I particularly look forward to visiting my favorite store – Bath & Body works! I enjoy walking into the store to find new novelties and even though my smell is not what it used to be the combination of aromas always stimulates my olfactory nerves so that I feel almost normal.

Its no wonder that my daughter’s friends as well as my family love visiting my home..as one of my daughter’s friends put it so clearly..” I just love the smell of your house especially your soaps!”

This comment of course swelled up my chest with a great sense of pride since as you know we all have good days and bad days and sometimes domestic diva goes on vacation for a day or three! Nice to know that my home is still inviting despite my shortcomings. The candles and soaps provide wonderful soothing aroma therapy to help relax anyone but especially us Parkinson’s patients and relieve anxiety due to stress.

The best thing of the season, however, is the glee in my daughters eyes when I get done with all the decorating..a lot of which came from my favorite store in the form of unique little Halloween houses, Pumpkin soaps, and owl night lights.

Plus, you can choose from a wide range of seasonal easy to carry hand sanitizers which aside from smelling terrific are fun, a good conversation piece, great little gifts, and a must have for any woman especially for those of us who are already predisposed to other illnesses and experience worsening of our PD symptoms with any cold or flu. Prevention is still the key to a healthier living as the season gets rolling and flu season draws near. But with one stop shop you can relax, distress, improve your senses and prevent spreading of viruses! Wow, you are now on your way to embracing the fall season the PD Diva way!

10 Tips for a Divalicious Easily Accesible Kitchen for Every Parkinson’s Person: By Maria De Leon

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I kiss better than I cook.”~ Suzy Toronto

In my recently published book “Parkinson’s Diva: A woman’s Guide to Parkinson’s Disease,” I outline some strategies to make life easier while working in the kitchen for those of us who have chronic illnesses like PD.

We all experience ‘good days and bad days’ as my patients used to tell me. However, things can get down right tricky if you are the one not feeling well and everyone is looking at you for nourishment. There you are listless, barely able to control your tremors, dystonia, dyskenisias, tears, or whatever else Parkinson’s has in store for you that day. Now, you are supposed to do what? COOK! But, You can’t even bend down to get the right utensils or make it to the kitchen area.

So here are 10 strategies to make your life easier while making your kitchen functional and accessible without losing its charm.

  • First, get rid of breakable dishes. Get plastic or durable-non-breakable dishes

You do not have to sacrifice style for practicality. Make sure that these dishes are both microwavable safe and dish washer safe. I have nearly replaced all my day to day dishware and cooking sets because got tired of flinging things around and spending more time cleaning then cooking!

  • Second, make sure every one has special devices or gadgets to open jars, cans, and bottles as well as easily grip things. Get both that help with grip and also give you leverage to make turning easier. There are many grippers you can purchase cheaply. QVC had some nice practical ones that where also whimsical and came in variety of colors. Mine is polka doted blue! You might even want to mount one on the wall that allows for single hand use- However, have to consider position. Must be at waist level and near the edge of a wall so you can reach easily especially if using a wheelchair, scooter, or walker.Kuhn-Rikon Polka Dot Ultimate Auto-Attach Can Opener - K34857

Kuhn Rikon Polka Dot 5-1 Jar Opener - K38502

  •  Third, think about  de-cluttering your kitchen space. Remove any non essential materials from counter tops as well as removing any furniture that is obstructing easy passage to and from kitchen area as well as around the kitchen to make maneuvering easier especially if using walking assisting devices or wheelchairs. Get rid of carpets which might cause you to trip. If possible get tile floors that have a little bit of shine for easy gliding but do not make them too sleek because I don’t want you falling. Also, make a design in the pathway to kitchen and around your work area that will visually stimulate your gait and avoid freezing. Do stripes, or checkers, or color gradation, and mark door ways with a clear transition by placing strips of different color and/ or material to prevent freezing as you transition from one room to another. I personally love natural wood floors.you can make beautiful designs with these as well. plus they are easier to traffic with walkers and canes. same can be done with other type of stones. You don’t have to break the bank in making these changes to your home and kitchen since there are now use expensive  many less expensive materials to choose from like natural wood imitations that are just as beautiful. these alternatives could prove not just better for our pockets but easier to maintain. By using simple techniques or making small changes  you dont only have a more functional, disease friendly space but also give your living space an air of elegance, sophistication and spaciousness. But, remember to keep your paths goal oriented as the one in the picture below leading to television, bathroom, bedroom ( use in most trafficked areas to avoid falls and other gait impediments).

 

  •  Fourth, once you have removed unwanted and unused objects from around the kitchen floors, cabinets and counter tops your newly decluttered  kitchen area is guaranteed to make your life simpler. However, because all of us who have Parkinson’s disease and other physical disabilities have trouble bending and climbing due to the vertigo, dizziness, unsteadiness, along with stiffness caused by our disease we must be able to easily access our non-breakable cooking dishes, our condiments and other essentials for cooking. Therefore, we need to organize our working space as well as our cabinets so that everything we need is at eye and waist level; thus avoiding getting stuck on the ground or falling of a step stool. (I have all my condiments in a pull out drawer next to my stove). Also consider replacing all or a big portion of your cabinets with pull out shelves with dividers. This way you can see what you have and can store everything easily. I much prefer this to rotating shelves because those tend to get stuck plus are usually very small which reduces your storing capacity but also may make getting things out harder due to our loss of dexterity and fine motor control. On the other hand, the pull out shelves can be customized for what you need. they come in many sizes or shapes prefabricated or a good carpenter can install and customize further to your needs and specifications. I had this type of shelving installed in my office due to my chronic back problems. But, as my PD has progressed I am now implementing in my own home, since i have found myself storing all my cooking pots and pans along with other bowls and utensils in the middle shelves making it harder to get at without dropping and breaking things.
  • Fifth, once you re make your kitchen floors, install right shelving, get appropriate dishes but cooking is still a challenge because you have a hard time standing to cook due to pain, leg cramps, weakness, and off balance issues. In order to bypass some of these issues consider getting a chair to use while cooking, especially if you are like me and have a stove top on an island (which I highly recommend gives you more room to maneuver). This should be something light that is easily moved and folded to be out of the way. The chair or stool should have arm rest and a back to make sitting and getting up easier. This will help to minimize fatigue while cooking as well as avoid falling especially if using canes and walkers because hard to cook while holding on to these..
  • Sixth, I recommend a refrigerator with two doors. This way you can put things at eye level and not have to bend or simply may need to reorganize the shelving there as well.
  • Seven, I find that I now have a hard time washing dishes- the scrubbing is not always as precise as I would like it to be. Therefore, a dishwasher may come in handy but make sure your dishes are safe to place there and that they FIT! ( as I discovered one Thanksgiving Day that my beautiful hand painted dishes would have to be done by hand because too big to fit into dishwasher). The realization took the glee right out of me of having had the pleasure of serving my guests in this fine china!
  •  Eighth, make sure that your sink has an extension hose making it easier to access the water and rinse dishes etc. especially if you have limited mobility and use walker, motorized vehicle and the like.
  •  Ninth, get a nice food processor and/ or blender to expedite things in the kitchen and help you chop, grate, and liquefy foods without causing injury to yourself. they also make boards which have a way of tethering it to the counter top as well as keeping whatever it is your cutting in place to to avoid cutting yourself, spilling things all over the counter and floor due to tremors and dystonia.
  •  Tenth, Don’t sweat the small stuff! Every Diva has to know her limitations. if cooking is NOT your thing or maneuvering around the kitchen proves to be nearly impossible consider alternatives- of course there is ALWAYS take -out! But, this can get tiresome and expensive. You can still prepare a home cooked meal and be the QUEEN of the castle without much work. I highly recommend every woman, person with PD or other chronic illness should own a nice crock pot! Mine of course is red!!!But along with this you must have at least one good cooking recipe book for crock pot. There are many out there. However, I especially love the collection by Debbie Thornton.

Any Blonde Can Cook

Become A Warrior Princess & Conquer PD: By Maria De Leon

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“To find beauty we must carry it with us.”

~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

We live in an era where beauty unfortunately has become a treatment. Today, the most beautiful of women feel the need to be processed via chemical peels, botox, facials, depilatory treatments, exercise regimens all in the name of beauty. Even Queen Esther a beautiful woman, the Bible states, was sent for a make- over before she could meet her King!

In an age where we can find pants that claim to help us lose weight and mold our legs and rid of cellulite just by wearing them, to vitamins, herbs, dietary supplements that claim to rejuvenate our skin, mind and body. No wonder some of us may feel overwhelmed trying to keep up with all the fads and trends. But, at what cost? Should we continue to allow others to pass judgment on whether we meet someone else’s standard of beauty?

it is tough enough being a woman without having to live in another woman’s (person) shadow.

What about inner beauty? Does this not count for something?

I know we all want to be attractive to fit in, to be accepted because unfortunately in society We are often treated as we are perceived. Never is this more apparent that in those of us suffering from chronic Neurodegenerative illnesses like Parkinson’s which gravely affect our outward appearance. Yet, although as a Parkinson’s Diva who believes that dressing well, smiling, and looking good can empower us to fulfill the roles we have been predestined to play- external beauty should NOT ever become our priority.

Fortunately, in Gods realm beauty is neither a treatment nor something we have to spend thousands of dollars trying to achieve.

There are much greater gifts that lie within the beautiful Trojan horse. Don’t be fooled by the exterior. Although, the horse was beautiful it was what lay inside of it that gave it its value and power. Likewise, we as Parkinson’s women find that the real beauty God has granted us comes from within. One’s inner beauty sparkles best when we show compassion, integrity, intelligence, perseverance, patience, love, and kindness towards others. These are the things that make us strong and able to conquer whatever challenges PD throws our way.

“Don’t [ever] let anyone dull your [inner] SPARKLE!”….. S. Toronto

No matter what you lose in life or PD takes away, it can never strip your inner beauty – this is the real army laying dormant inside waiting to charge at a moments notice when the crucial time arises.

Even though beauty can start off as skin deep,it can serve to let us in the gates of the enemy- the walls surrounding PD which many times keep us isolated from others; it also serves to empower us to unlock the true beauty which flows from deep inside our souls and become PD warrior princesses!

BE YOUR OWN KIND OF BEAUTIFUL …After all ” we are fearfully and wonderfully made! ” Psalm 139:14

10 Things Every PD Woman Should Have: By Maria De Leon

Comments 4 Standard

“Something perfect to wear if the man of your dreams wants to see you in an hour.”

1) A nice silk night gown or pajamas to help you feel feminine, cool and also make sliding and moving in bed a lot easier when you wear off or get rigid.

2) A nice pair of red flats or any peep toed flats of your favorite color that can be worn at fancy occasions or any season to provide a pop of color which can be dressed up or down. Easy to put on when stiff or dyskinetic. But, make sure soles are slippery if have tendency to freeze to avoid falling. Payge Peep-Toe Flats

3) A little black dress/ black well fitted suit – this will be your to go outfit when going out on the town with the love of your life or when facing congress trying to change the world.

4) A Statement necklace- long of course so won’t have to fiddle with clasps- could be a set of pearls or bold gold necklace -something to make a statement and make you feel feminine. Add a touch of class to any occasion and is season- less.

5) A favorite lipstick -one that you can always go to that will make you feel confident and feminine. One that by itself can give you strength to conquer the world. 

6) A print copy of your favorite book by your night stand. One that will always inspire you to continue the journey even when the days seem gloomy.

7)  A favorite scent that is uniquely yours! When I was in medical school I wore “passion”  all the time. It is funny how a scent can define or identify a person. One day in class when studying the brain, we touched upon the olfactory nerve (one that helps us smell) while the Professor flashed a picture of a bottle of PASSION on the screen, to my amusement and amazement in unison most of the class shouted ” Maria!” Upon seeing the picture up on the overhead.We all had a big laugh. It was there that I discovered the power a fragrance can have even subconsciously. I like one that not only smells good and brings your best attributes but the name itself is empowering – it helps if it is visually beautiful or appealing as well! But, that’ s just me!

8) A Hand sanitizer in your purse- it helps protect you from all the germs around and helps prevent spread of germs as well. I like bath and body brands not only do they have great fragrances but come in stylish bottles for every occasion.

9) A sturdy piece of luggage to pack your medications and essentials at a moments notice should the opportunity arises to get away for a weekend or longer.

10) Most important, every woman should always have an idea of who she wants to be and accomplish along with a plan B just in case this PD throws another curve ball…

@copy right 2015

all rights reserved by Maria De Leon