Joy In The Journey

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Yesterday, Saturday, November 24, 2018 in Las Vegas it was a beautiful day, clear blue skies with moderate temperatures, about 56 degrees when Cidney and I began our weekly ride on our tandem.  It was about 7:30am when we set out with a group of friends.  As a care partner to a PWP (Person with Parkinson’s) I know that forced exercise, or even exercise in general, is an experience that brings respite to the symptoms of PD (Parkinson’s Disease).  I sometimes wish that I could be speeding up the highway with the others at a respectful pace, however, I also know that the person on the back of the tandem wishes she was able to ride her single bike and keep up, not have to worry about medication or coming “off”.  She would love to not have to deal with stiffness, shaking, and dyskinesia.  Her internal symptoms not seen and the external that are seen are for the moment not an issue, while we ride. 

 And so, we ride looking at the sky, the mountains and interacting with a group of understanding friends that enjoy their ride and take a break for us to catch up.  In full disclosure, there are times that I forget that I am on a tandem and will take off on the downhill and flats reaching speeds that bring with it taps on my shoulder a sure signal to slow down.  On this day I rode with purpose, with understanding and gratefulness that I am able to contribute as a committed care partner.  It takes a commitment something that does not happen overnight, it is a process that we work on continually.  As we are about to move into uncharted territory for us with Cid’s upcoming DBS (Deep Brain Stimulation) surgery in less than two weeks from now.  We don’t know what her new normal will be like.  Based on the track record of this procedure the outcome is very promising.  We are excited, nervous and very optimistic.  So, looking up at the blue skies and mountains I am reminded of an experience that a person that has had influence in our lives once told.  We call it “Finding Joy in the Journey” it went like this;

 “My wife, and I love riding our bicycles. It is wonderful to get out and enjoy the beauties of nature. We have certain routes we like to bike, but we don’t pay too much attention to how far we go or how fast we travel in comparison with other riders. However, occasionally I think we should be a bit more competitive. I even think we could get a better time or ride at a higher speed if only we pushed ourselves a little more. And then sometimes I even make the big mistake of mentioning this idea to my wonderful wife. Her typical reaction to my suggestions of this nature is always very kind, very clear, and very direct. She smiles and says, “It’s not a race; it’s a journey. Enjoy the moment.” How right she is!  Sometimes in life we become so focused on the finish line that we fail to find joy in the journey. I don’t go cycling with my wife because I’m excited about finishing. I go because the experience of being with her is sweet and enjoyable. Doesn’t it seem foolish to spoil sweet and joyful experiences because we are constantly anticipating the moment when they will end?”

As we rode on Saturday on our way back home as we came to a top of a hill we stopped to have a drink and take a pill. I looked at our friend riding with us and said, “This is finding joy in the journey” no rush, just enjoying the moment. 

Finding joy in the journey as we navigate our Parkinson’s experience as partners brought a close to our weekly ride with our thoughts going towards the future and being grateful for a great day!

-written by Pat Donahoo

Parkinson's Place