Not too long ago my husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and Lewy Body Dementia.
I am sure my story is not unique – and my hope in sharing this very private time in my life is to let you know you are not alone in these feelings and emotions.
The most important thing we can do right now is enjoying every minute with those we love. Appreciate the things we should – and know what is important in life. I know that if we live long enough, we all have our crosses to bear – but being kicked in the gut is not easy.
Not too long ago, my husband was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and Lewy Body Dementia. Having just lost both parents in the last year, it sent me into a tailspin.
I decided to take the bull by the horns and do some research – what can be done, and how can we suppress the progression of the disease. The things I found out scared me more than ever.
I came to the realization that the most important thing I can do is keep an optimistic outlook and make sure we have a good doctor. With Parkinson’s, there is a decrease of dopamine in the brain – it causes depression in its victim; this, in turn, snowballs, because being depressed or having anxiety, can cause the progression to speed up.
As an energetic, dynamic go-getter, my husband could set the world on fire and sleigh dragons – the world was his oyster, and there was no such thing as “It can’t be done.” That is the man, I married 20 years ago, even though we had a significant age difference (18 years) at 51, he was youthful and energetic – he looked 15 years younger than his age.
He is still a handsome man who looks 15 years younger – but he is a bit slower, and has lost his fire. His hands have small tremors, and when we go to parties, he keeps them in his pockets. My heart goes out to my husband, a man who has never felt inferior, losing confidence, and feeling embarrassed.
Recently, I noticed his speech is slower, and his comprehension of complicated issues has diminished. I am feeling him slipping away – I would never tell him that in a million years, but it is true.
Every night – and every day, I let him know how much I love him and try to be patient even when his hard-headed stubbornness rears its ugly head. I am not always successful and do show bouts of frustration and anger, but I am trying because, in the end, the only thing that matters is relationships and the love that is shared between family and friends.
Our relationship even in its rockiest fiery times – the fights and differences mean nothing to me anymore when I think of what the future could bring and the reality of the journey we are about to go down – I feel nothing but love for this man.
In my life and I am sure I am not unique – there have been devastations and heartbreak. Having no control to make things better – or to change things, I learned the hard way the reality that we have to feel the pain and go to the other side. It doesn’t take away the pain or make it much easier, but knowing this, I can hang on knowing I will get through these life experiences. I have found there is always a lesson to be learned, insights that come through the fog of surrender. Epiphany’s appear, and if we are lucky, we will get them sooner, not later.
My dad always talked about accepting life on life’s terms…, and that is what I have learned to do no matter how hard.