Hope

Niko says to me recently, “I thought parents are supposed to be able to fix every situation.” I could have taken this like a kick in the guts, because he was literally saying that I can’t always handle things, and that I frequently fall to pieces when the volume levels get high. But he was actually saying it in a moment of his own personal growth – he was feeling good because he had success helping me and Maia get through a tantrum (Maia was expressing her feelings, and I was pulling my hair out). I needed help and he could provide it. It was a positive moment for him. I’m going to take this as a win, because I need my kids to learn that a family operates where everyone, kids included, have a role to play. That Mum isn’t an Uber Human who can do everything, and that we all support each other. This is important to me – that the kids gain these skills, and develop confidence in themselves as problem solvers.

Its not easy having a parent with Parkinson’s (or any other kind of chronic illness). It can be difficult to handle the dopamine-deprived Mum, who is far more anxious and prone to stressed out tearful meltdowns. How I am from day to day can swing dramatically, depending on how successful I am at getting the right amount of dopamine. Its a tricky art, somewhat akin to being in a cage with a lion, buying little bits of time by periodically chucking treats at it from a dwindling supply. Any second now it could inhale all the goodies, just as you run out. Or, replete, it falls asleep in the corner and you escape only to discover you are also dependent on the lion for survival.

But somehow you continue. Niko and I have just done another karate grading, achieving our blue belt. I couldn’t be more proud, mostly of me to be honest. Niko seems to cruise through, and all my gains are the result of pure, hard graft. Although, I’ll be even more honest and say I beamed when he got his blue, clapped like a crazy person, and don’t want to do karate without him. (So maybe I totally lie when I say I’m more proud of me). I’ve also recruited Luka now (my personal trainer), much to his horror. I’m planning on devoting more life and time to karate pursuits from here on. Maia is busting a gut to join in (shows everyone her karate kick without being asked) and so I told her she has to be older. So now she is going around insisting to everyone that she is five. Watch out world!

I achieved my new belt with a well planned medication regime that worked a treat. And I watched another adult go through an intensely hard grading to achieve the highest brown belt grade (just under black). I watched him, and for the first time I thought “I think I could do that” (after I’ve done an immense amount of training of course). But I will need maybe a few more years of the drugs working well, and working for long periods of time, to be able to do it. Also for the first time I began to think – the future is in getting rid of this thing, we gotta cure the bastard. Maybe working to do something to help that would in turn help me, build my hope (and generate some home-grown dopamine!).

I mean if this strawberry can survive all the birds in my garden, anything is possible!

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