Today I am sharing a very intimate post written by my mother and Depression Cookies co-author, Angela Silverthorne. It's also a fitting answer to today's NaBloPoMo prompt.
Can you imagine a year seeking medical advice, going from one doctor to another with no answers, only an increase of symptoms? Can you imagine after a series of neurological tests and evaluations being told you have a “chronic and progressive movement disorder, the cause is unknown; there is no cure; and it involves the malfunction and death of vital nerve cells in the brain” better known as Parkinson’s? Can you imagine?A year later, can you imagine dealing with your own life’s uncertainties and then the death of the woman who helped rear you, your grandmother? Or the year after, imagine your husband having a heart attack, pacemaker, stint, and afterwards developing grand mal seizures? And in the middle of all this, your mother who had been sick for a year was told she had pancreatic cancer and only lived seven weeks. Over the next two years, what might seem inconsequential to some, but devastating to me, was the loss of my seventeen and sixteen year old dogs. Can you imagine?
These events occurred between January 2004 and May 2011. If I had read these accounts in the paper or had been told this by someone, my first response would be, “How did they manage?” That’s when the imagination would end. I wouldn’t want to go there. But I did. Can you imagine?In March 2011, I was told a new machine would be coming to Duke University that would help diagnose Parkinson’s. July 2011, the I-123 DaTscan was up and running. And on September 22, 2011, I was their seventh patient to have the test. Ten days later, I was told beyond a shadow of a doubt that I did not have Parkinson’s, any Parkinsonian related diseases, MS or ALS. I’d been on two Parkinsonian drugs for almost seven years. Can you imagine?
Today I am on a mountaintop. Looking back, I realize I made it. I made it through the trials. I laughed, I smiled, I had such intense joy I can’t even describe it—four more beautiful granddaughters and a treasure hold of precious time with my grandmother and mother before they died. God provided it all, not me.During my husband’s medical problems, we sat for hours wondering what would become of us, who would take care of us, and truly began to understand what our “for better or for worse” vows meant. When I slipped into despair even for a moment, I sought God. An early morning sunrise on the river, a gorgeous sunset at the beach, or a granddaughter’s funny face or remark filled my narrow vision. Every day was a trial, yet every day was filled to overflowing with God’s love and grace. The Bible talks about light and dark, salt and sweet; it was all there, every day. And I saw it. Can you imagine?
Beyond my faith, Michael J. Fox has truly been an inspiration. I have treasured his perseverance and determination. His words are a life lesson for all of us, “You know, there’s a rule in acting called ‘Don’t play the result.’ If you have a character who’s going to end up in a certain place, don’t play that until you get there. Play each scene and each beat as it comes. And that’s what you do in your life: you don’t play the result . . . Act as if it’s the way you want it to be, and it’ll eventually morph into that. Life is what you put into it and how much you take out of it. You put in more than is expected, and you take out less than you want.”
Beyond a shadow of a doubt? A new lease on life? What do you do with that? Standing on the mountaintop, I turn to look forward. Yes, the shadow is still there. I don’t know what’s coming. I do know there’ll be another valley, there’ll be more trials, but I’m prepared – you don’t play the result. And, beyond a shadow of a doubt, God will be there. Can you imagine?