The JF&CS Parkinson's Community Quilt
Written by: Stepheny Riemer

Stepheny Reimer Quilt SquareThe morning cruise began with a sunny, clear sky and balmy warm wind on my boat. My compass course was set and each waypoint was charted to mark the way to my ultimate destination. Receiving a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease threw me off course like a sudden and unforeseen ominous storm with impending darkness consumed by fog, rain, and ten-foot seas.

The initial sight of the darkening sky above, along with the distant view through the radar indicated an impending and unpredictable storm with certain turbulence and uncertain outcome.

I was determined to get through the storm without pounding into rocks, without sinking the ship, or going aground. But to hedge my bet, I put on my life jacket so in case the boat began to sink; I would have the buoyancy for a chance to survive the plunge.

I changed my compass course and attempted to steer the boat to a smoother direction, constantly checking the radar for distant options. With perseverance I would endure the burden of the uncontrollable weather and "the diagnosis." I must take action.

I sensed that persistence, research, fighting for myself to temper the anxiety and the anguish was imperative. Hope, self-efficacy, affirmation, and being alert to my choices became the watchwords on this abrupt severe storm. Do not give up the ship! Tailor-make a plan that works to get through this degenerative disease. I can visualize a time when the seas are calm again and the sky is light.

Keep up the motivation to push through the fatigue and churning seas. The goal is to ascertain what is important: to maintain a sense of humor; to hope for peacefulness, serenity, and meaningfulness. I continue to generate an environment of creativity and love in my life together with those special people around me.

Read other blog posts about the JF&CS Parkinson's Community Quilt.

The JF&CS Parkinson's Community Quilt is an initiative of the JF&CS Parkinson's Family Support program.