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🏊‍♀️ Oh So Close 🚣🏻‍♀️

Today is Friday September 4, 2020. Last Sunday, (August 30th) I wrote about my goal of sitting in a straddle stretch (like the old days) and then by bending my upper body forward, I will be able to lay my chest flat on the ground. I guesstimated that I would be there by today, if not before. Although I have stretched every single day since Sunday, I am still not quite there yet. (I am super close! It is just a matter of days and patience and continued stretching on my part). I am so thrilled to be at this point in my return to life! I will continue to stretch everyday! I will let you all know when I reach my goal!

When I think back to the very beginning of my journey with PD, I realize now that my body was trying to get my attention anyway it could, but I chose to continuously ignore the signs. Instead, I just thought that I was super tired, due to undue stress at work. In early July 2015, my sister put on a dance video where you simply followed the dancers directions. After watching the video for about 5 minutes, I decided to join in with everybody and show them how it is done!. Much to my dismay, I couldn't keep up with their movements and I was having trouble following directions. I felt like the announcer was talking way too fast. My focus was definitely off and I was moving rather slowly. I took a break, had a glass of water and tried again. Same results. I found it very strange that it was almost impossible for me to move as fast as everyone else was. Around that same time frame, I noticed my right arm having trouble swinging across my body to apply deodorant under the opposite arm. Those two things should have been an eye opener that something was off, but I blamed the stressful school year for my fatigue and slow movement.

In mid July, my brother and I took a boat ride across the ocean from Ports of Call to Catalina Island. I was fine the entire time until we rented a two person kayak. I sat in the front. My brother sat right behind me. The beauty of a kayak is that we had total control over where we paddled to. Within two minutes of paddling, I was unusually exhausted. My arms were not working correctly. After paddling for another five minutes, I was beyond fatigued and wondering if I should say something to my brother. I decided not to say anything, because I didn't want to ruin his day. We paddled for about an hour and finally found a perfect cove to drop anchor. I jumped into the frigid water first (with a wetsuit on), thinking the cold water on my face would wake me right up. Unfortunately, it did not. We snorkeled for what felt like an eternity (I am thinking it was probably an hour or so). I finally asked my brother if we could got back to shore. I still had not said a word to him about how I was feeling. I told my brother to go on ahead of me because I was going to take a little break. I also said that I would see him on the other side of the rocks soon (which meant I had to swim to get to where he was waiting). Unfortunately for me, there was a pin sized hole in my wetsuit, so frigid water had been filling up my wetsuit for over an hour at this point. When I was ready to swim around the rocks to get to where my brother was, I became very disoriented and scared. I tried yelling for my brother to come back, but unfortunately, I had no voice because I was so exhausted. I remember thinking I just have to go for it. I know how to swim. SO..... that is exactly what I did. The ocean's currents clearly had other plans for me. As I attempted to push myself and start swimming, a current came in out of nowhere and pulled me under. I struggled to stay afloat. By the grace of G*d, another current came in and lifted me back up. But then, just as suddenly, the water slammed me against the jagged rocks. I know it was my adrenaline kicking in that helped me climb up to a rock where I was just above the water's wrath. I fiercely clung on to that rock and as loud as I could, I said "I do not want to die here". At this point, my brother knew that something was wrong, and came back around to get me. Keep in mind that now, my entire body was spent. It was all I could do to hold onto the back of the kayak, because I was too weak to hoist myself back up into the kayak. My brother paddled for both of us. There I was hanging onto the back of our kayak for dear life. I became dizzy and completely disoriented yet again. I was afraid once again that I was going to lose consciousness and drown. I noticed a small boat out in the distance and tried waving at him to come and help. He saw me!! Two minutes later, he came back with his dinghy and pulled me out of the water. I was mortified that someone had to rescue me but at the same time, I was very grateful.

To make a long story short, the paramedics were called in and determined that hypothermia had set in because of the pinhole in my wetsuit. I recovered just fine. Looking back on these memories, I can clearly see that my body was changing because of lack of dopamine to my brain. But who says to themselves "I better get checked out. I might have Parkinson's". Would I go back to Catalina again? Yes! Would I kayak again? Yes! However, next time, I will bring my own wetsuit from home! Did you have signs before your actual diagnosis that you brushed off as well? Feel free to share them here.

Balancing is a slippery slope with PD and must be attended to everyday.

Be patient. You are growing into your best self

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