PARKINSON’S

PARKINSONS

–By Sophia Solano

Michael J. Fox and Muhammed Ali have become the faces of Parkinson’s Disease since their diagnoses. Yet approximately one million Americans suffer from PD, and this number is expected to double in the next fifteen years. Like Fox and Ali, all people suffering with this horrific disease have a story filled with their own triumphs and tribulations, but without a celebrity platform, their stories remain unheard.

Parkinson’s Disease is is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects predominately dopamine-producing neurons in an area of the brain called the substantia nigra. By attacking motor skills, PD affects nearly every area of daily life, from basic tasks like writing and cooking to relationships with friends and family members.

Receiving a Parkinson’s diagnosis does not only change the life of the patient – it molds a new perspective for every person who loves that patient. PD certainly can strain relationships, but in spite (or maybe because) of the trials it brings, many children of parents diagnosed with the disease feel their parental relationships have improved.

“If it’s possible, we are closer. I am closer with my mom, and I am closer with my dad,” said the daughter of a mother with PD. “We fight together. We help each other through the obstacles and hurdles that are thrown to my mom. But this is her battle. We are her supporters!”

Children of people with Parkinson’s face personal battles alongside their parents –  different battles, but certainly not less complicated ones.

A father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s when his daughter was seven years old. “Back when he drove, my dad would drive me to school,” she said. “I remember the other kids made fun of the way he walked and shook. They would call him names.He often forgot where he was and who people were. I remember listening to him scream at night and shake all the time.”

“At first I was scared and upset,” said a man whose mother is a “Parkinson’s warrior”. “It seemed like one of the strongest people I knew was ‘sick’.  I didn’t know how to address it, or if to address it.”

Many children have noted that their first step in handling their parents’ disease was research. “After I digested the diagnosis, I read a lot to find out as much as I could. I know my mom; she was doing the same thing. Knowledge is power.”

Another important step to acceptance (for family members, friends, and people with PD themselves) is finding a venue in which honest and helpful discussions are held. There are now two Parkinson’s support groups in the area: Milford area Parkinson’s support group in Port Jervis, NY and Good Shepherd-Wayne Memorial Inpatient Rehabilitation Center in Honesdale, PA. There are also countless online support groups on the Web sites of the national Parkinson’s disease organizations, as well as state and local support group sites.

There are many treatment options for symptoms of Parkinson’s, ranging from dance classes to the most common medication, levodopa. There is, however, not currently a cure for Parkinson’s. As a community, one of the best ways to aid the fight against Parkinson’s is to donate to research organizations.

The 4th Annual Pocono FoxTrot 5K for Parkinson’s Research will be held on Saturday, June 16, 2018, at Ann Street Park in downtown Milford, PA. This year’s goal is to raise $50,000 for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. Immediately after the run, there will be an after-party with free food, music, and a gift basket raffle. Visit the resource fair and learn about local resources for Parkinson’s patients and caregivers.  Register for the run/walk, donate online, or send checks payable to Pocono FoxTrot 5K, Box 2776, Gold Key Lakes, Milford, PA 18337.

If you or a family member suffers from Parkinson’s Disease, remember you are not alone in your fight. As more people are diagnosed, the larger the PD community grows, and the closer we are to a cure.  And the best advice from the child of a mother with Parkinson’s Disease? “Make jokes. Keep it light. Learn as much as you can. Make Jell-O. Don’t let them take the photos.”

4th Annual Pocono FoxTrot 5K

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Ann Street Park, Milford, PA.

ADDICTION IS LIKE AN AMUSEMENT PARK

AmusementRideJune18

By Kyle Dubensky

T he kids went to the amusement park because someone told them about it. The suggestion came from a friend’s older brother, or sister, or neighbor, or their own parent.  They all gave it great reviews and how the kids would love it.

Once there, inside the amusement park, the ride closest to the entrance looked mild  and fun. Simple. Usually free of charge. The kids loitered about in indecision, thinking  the whole thing over. They had heard that somewhere in this place was the dragon  rollercoaster, but that it is way in the back someplace far off.

The kids get on the ride. It’s a small ride, but some of them end up sick, and a few of

them leave the park. The others have such a laugh that they do it again. When they are  on the ride, they don’t think much of anything. “It feels good to spin around and feel  alive,” they say. The ride operator reminds them they can leave at any time. The kids  say, “We’re having such a good time. Any other fun rides here?” The ride operator smiles and sizes them up one by one. He tells one to check out the gun blast game, one to check out the dancing lady show, and one to try the next ride.

The kids go their way. They are a bit nervous and a bit excited.

They go deeper into the park. They can leave at any time, but now they don’t want to.  They stay all night. One ride after another. One show after another. One game after another. They meet for some cotton candy and swap stories. They boast and belittle  each another’s feelings. Then more rides. Different rides. They stick together now  because they have heard stories about this place. Bad stories. But those bad things  only happen in the very back of the park, usually on the dragon rollercoaster.

“We will only go so far as we can still see the exit gates of the park,” they vow to one another.

They do the biggest ride they can find while still remaining in sight of the exit. The ride proves frightening. They decide to leave.  As they get closer to the exit, they find the gates are locked.

“Well, no matter. We’ll hang out on the first ride like we used to until the gates open,” one of them says.

And so they spin on the ride, but it’s just not as fun anymore.

They ask the ride operator, “Is this all the ride can do?”

The ride operator says, “Yes, but the rides in the back are where the real fun is at.”

“Isn’t that where the dragon rollercoaster is?” they ask.

“Yes,” replies the ride operator. “But you kids are probably too young and yellow-bellied for that.”

“No, we’re not,” the kids reply. “And besides, if we don’t like it we can always leave.”

The ride operator smiles.

Morning has come and the gates to the amusement park are now open. However, the kids are now thinking about the rides in the back.

“Let’s stay awhile longer and try the remaining rides. We might as well do them all before we leave,” says one of the kids.

“All except the dragon rollercoaster for me,” says another.

“I’m going home,” says the third. And he does. But as he walks away through the exit, he hears over his shoulder the ride operator say, “You’ll be back. They all come back.”

A few years pass. The kid who left the amusement park grew up. He had gone to school and had saved money by working an honest job.

One day, he received a call. It was one of his old friends.

The old friend said, “Remember the three of us, long ago, having fun at the amusement

park?”

“Yes,” he replied.

“I wish we would have left with you that day,” said the old friend.

“I wish we never went there in the first place,” he replied.

“Remember our other friend?”

“Yes.”

“He’s dead. He wouldn’t get off the dragon rollercoaster, and now he’s dead.”

“And you? How are you? Did you ever make it out?”

“Sort of. I am a ride operator now, but I don’t go on the rides. There are always new

rides coming out and lots of new kids in line for them.”

“You should tell them to go home to their parents and do school and work.”

“I never tell them anything. I let them do as they please.”

“But kids don’t know what’s best for themselves. We didn’t. We thought we did, but we didn’t and now one of us is dead.”

“Are you ever coming back?”

“No.”

“Not even for a visit? Just one ride?”

“No. I live a good life today and it started the day I left the amusement park.”