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Friday, March 28, 2014

My Perspective

Michael J. Fox, a long time Parkinson's patient, actor, and founder of the Michael J. Fox Foundation that funds research on Parkinson's Disease, notes how important a positive attitude is in dealing with this disease.

So What Is My Attitude?

It has developed in the nearly a year since I heard the words from my doctor's mouth, "There is a high likelihood you have Parkinson's," before he refered me to a neurologist for confirmation. By that point I knew something was wrong with me, but I didn't have a name for it until then. I promptly went home and started researching what I was up against. I knew a little about it, but not much.

I'll explain what it is in a bit, but the main points I learned was in most cases, they don't know what causes it, they don't have a cure for it, it is a progressive disease--which means it will get worse and worse--and all they do is treat the symptoms. I also learned that it is a very individual disease. Different people deal with different symptoms that progress at various rates. IOW, I could be in a wheel chair in 5 years, or playing tennis in 20.

Which leaves one with a lot of uncertainty. For all I know, they could announce a cure this month. Or maybe not in my lifetime. A new treatment could be on the horizon that would more effectively deal with symptoms. Or Sinemet could remain the most effective route for years to come. Who knows?

Being a Christian, I've asked God for healing. However, I'm not in the "if you don't get healed it is because you don't have enough faith" camp. Rather, I'm in the Meshack, Shadrack, and Abendego faith camp. I know God can "save" me from this disease, but even if he doesn't, I'll still love and serve Him. If He doesn't take this "thorn" from me, it is for my benefit, so His grace and glory will be revealed in my weakness.

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
(Rom 8:26-27 KJV)

Faith isn't a tool to get what you want. It is a trust in God that what He wants for me is also what I want, even when I wouldn't have chosen that path for myself. Faith is an attitude and orientation on life. For me, it is having a positive attitude that . . .

All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
(Rom 8:28 KJV)

A Little About Me

I've been pretty healthy all my life. To date I've never been admitted to a hospital. I've rarely needed to go to a doctor. Until last year, I rarely took many pills save for vitamins and a few other such pills.

Born in 1960 (making me at the point of writing this, nearing 54 years old). Raised as a Southern Baptist PK, my family stopped going to church all together around 1967-68. Returned to church myself in 1976, getting saved in a Nazarene vacation Bible school. I graduated high school in Austin, TX in 1979. Went to what was then called Bethany Nazarene College (now Southern Nazarene University) in 1979 to major in religion. Found myself a wife while there. Married in May of 1982. Graduated college in 1984.

My first child was born in 1985. Then another in 1988. Finally went to seminary in 1989, and attended part time for three years before they raised the rates so high it was impractical for me to continue. Took my first pastorate in 1992. Ordained in 1994, but not before having our third child that same year. I also left to pastor my second church that year.

1996 was a major shift for me and my family. Due to my convictions, I resigned my pastorate and moved back to Austin in order to "convert" to the Orthodox Church. In 2000 we moved to our current house. I supported my family for over 15 years doing bookkeeping while my wife earned extra cleaning houses.

I could list a lot of things that's happened since then, but the following two are key in understanding me. In 2005, I "accidentally" wrote my first novel of 94K words in the month of October. That experience convinced me I wanted to be a writer. I've been working hard at it ever since. Currently have six fantasy/science fiction books published, an anthology of my short stories and flash fiction, and two non-fiction books. That makes a total of 9 books on sale at Amazon and other retailers. You can find out more about that at my author website,

The other major event that has totally changed my life is my wife's affair in 2011. Because of that, we've both made major changes in how we interact with each other and have grown personally through that difficult time. The rebuilding of our marriage and relationship has proven so successful, that I did what any writer would do. I wrote a book about it, with my wife's approval. You can find it under the title Healing Infidelity. I also keep up a blog on the topic where I post weekly.

It was the following year, 2012, that I first started noticing the symptoms of what I would later learn to be Parkinson's.

What is Parkinson's Disease?

A good brief definition is found at

In the normal brain, some nerve cells produce the chemical dopamine, which transmits signals within the brain to produce smooth movement of muscles. In Parkinson's patients, 80 percent or more of these dopamine-producing cells are damaged, dead, or otherwise degenerated. This causes the nerve cells to fire wildly, leaving patients unable to control their movements. Symptoms usually show up in one or more of four ways:
  • tremor, or trembling in hands, arms, legs, jaw, and face
  • rigidity, or stiffness of limbs and trunk
  • bradykinesia, or slowness of movement
  • postural instability or impaired balance and coordination.

 Of course, much more could be said about it all. Visit that site for more information than I can provide here. In the following blog posts, I'll be relating what symptoms I've had so far and what steps I've taken to deal with it.

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