Today I want to write about my friend Mark, with his permission. Mark is in his late forties and about ten years ago he discovered he had Parkinson’s Disease (PD). The onset was dramatic and almost immediately debilitating.
Over time the symptoms of Mark’s PD gradually became worse. His tremors increased. He often lost coordination of his right side limbs. His speech became more labored and he was afflicted by painful muscle spasms. Medication and meditation have been great helps to him, but as time passed, it became less effective, unable to counteract the symptoms fully.
Through it all, Mark has lived as if nothing is wrong. That’s the truly remarkable piece. He has proven time and again to be loyal and reliable. Despite feeling out of sorts, to my knowledge he has never missed a day of work. Unable to drive, he endured the daily commute using Boston’s often trying subway and bus systems. He’s recently been rediscovering his love and talent for art and has immersed himself in drawing classes. He is a candid and loving man who has never let his PD interfere with his relationships and who never uses it as an excuse for feeling lousy.
Last month Mark underwent surgery for a remarkable wire implant into his brain, connected to a batter pack implanted in his chest. This device is apparently similar to that received by Michael J. Fox, who has done much for PD research. This past week the batteries went live. Immediately Mark noticed that the symptoms of his condition abated. I was amazed when I saw Mark for lunch at how at how relaxed his body had become and how easy it was for him to move and speak, overjoyed that he could once again use his dominant right hand.
Mark is one of my heroes. He is been courageous and truly long-suffering without complaint. He offers hope to other sufferers of Parkinson’s Disease and to all of us, that keeping the right perspective can get us through almost anything. I hope you, dear reader, will draw strength and hope from Mark as well.
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