Positively unshakable

How to live an amazing life with Parkinson’s (or whatever life deals you)

I have Parkinson’s disease; it does not have me.

These are not just words. They are my life’s mission.

I will continue to do all the things I have always done as well as I can, for as long as I can and, along the way, help as many people as possible.

Some set a goal to live well with Parkinson’s. I say don’t settle for just living well.

Instead, choose to live an amazing life with Parkinson’s or, for that matter, any other life-changing condition that any of us may experience during our lives.

How is that possible? It means doing whatever it takes to slow this disease or any other, including:

  • Putting only healthy things into your body
  • Exercising every day beyond your comfort zone
  • Maintaining a positive attitude and being “engaged” in your life

These things are not always easy to do. In fact, they often are very hard, but you have to do them. This is your new job — it’s not one that you applied for or sought out, but it’s one that you obtained just the same. This life is not a dress rehearsal. It is the live production. Each of us has the power and strength within us, if we dig deep enough. Dig deep.

First, educate yourself about what foods you are putting into your body. Then schedule what you will be eating and when for each day of the week.

Second, schedule your exercise plan for the week. Perform daily exercises that include stretching, sweating and strengthening beyond your comfort zone. I recommend hot yoga, deep tissue massage and strength training.

Third, be positive. Spend time with positive people, read inspirational information and watch uplifting programs. I have focused on the “silver lining” and not the dark cloud that is Parkinson’s. I have worked through, and am still working through, the emotional rollercoaster of denial, disbelief, shock, embarrassment, anger, sadness, disappointment and depression. I have not just accepted Parkinson’s in my life but have actually embraced it.

Consider being more engaged by volunteering with charitable organizations, joining support groups or finding other ways to help others.

I am a different person than I was before Parkinson’s. Some have said I’m a kinder, gentler John Baumann. I see things that I had never noticed before concerning what really matters in life. I am not as interested in material things. I have a whole new set of friends in the Parkinson’s, yoga and fitness communities that I have bonded with due to our common issues and passions. I feel like I am making a difference. My life has purpose and I am focused on leaving a legacy.

In addition, I am more physically fit than I have ever been in my life. I have lost those 40 pounds that I knew I needed to lose, but never even tried. My bad cholesterol level is down from 180 (very high) to 105 (normal). You would not know it by looking at me (at least most of the time) that I have this degenerative, progressive, irreversible, incurable neurological disease.

Finally, and most important, during my journey with Parkinson’s I met and married my love, my chef, my workout partner, my friend, my sidekick, my wife, my Bernadette. I truly am living an amazing life with Parkinson’s. So can you.


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