Living With Parkinson’s Disease

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These, the ransomed of the Lord, will go home . . . , singing the songs of everlasting joy. For them all sorrow and sighing will be gone forever; only joy and gladness will be there. —Isaiah 35:10, TLB

During a very stressful period running our family-owned business in 2006, we noticed Leon’s tremors. No worries, I thought. Once things become more stabilized, he will be OK. But then he became disoriented when exiting the main highway, unsure of whether to go north or south. This was a dramatic shift for someone who could easily exit any international airport and drive with perfect ease—even on the opposite side of the road.

Medical intervention brought the unfortunate news, “Leon has Parkinson’s disease.” The neurologist could not say what impact this diagnosis would have on our lives. We knew it was a debilitating disease that progresses at different speeds for everyone and can take many different routes. We also knew Leon’s neurological functions would be negatively impacted as the disease advanced. We adopted a wait-and-see position while educating ourselves on the disease. I could not have imagined how much life would change for us over the next fifteen years. I watched in distress as my husband’s motor skills gradually diminished.

His tremors are now constant. His feet freeze when he tries to walk.

Yes, I have lost my long-distance chauffeur, my assistant chef, and my assistant gardener, and quite frankly, I have lost “the wind beneath my sails.” However, I have gained a deeper appreciation of God’s blessings in ways that keep us smiling.

Leon’s voice remains strong, and most importantly, his memory is better than mine. During our daily devotions, we literally count our blessings and try to name each one.

We thank God for our children, Omar and Karimah, our family, and friends, who continue to support us. My friend, whatever journey you are on today, I pray God will intervene in your circumstances and pour out abundant blessings in unimaginable ways.

May your heart sing with joy. When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed, When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost, Count your many blessings, name them one by one, And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done.

Avis Mae Rodney

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