Love & Parkinson’s Disease (PD)

This reflection is about my reaction to my wife’s diagnosis of PD. PD has revealed something about me I dislike and needs to be changed. It has also revealed the healing power of love.

My wife, Sandie, was experiencing mysterious symptoms a year ago. She went to a neurologist who diagnosed her with Essential Tremor. She took medication that did not do anything for her. A friend at church told her about a Chinese neurologist who had a new treatment called TMS (TMS = transcranial magnetic stimulation). This neurologist immediately diagnosed her with Parkinson’s. The Chinese neurologist works with Parkinson’s patients and recognized the symptoms. The new diagnosis caused fear but also relief to get the correct diagnosis.

Parkinson’s has been a test of faith for both of us. Sandie’s struggle with Parkinson’s has revealed my impatience and unkindness. Bible says love is patient and kind, and I have not always been patient and kind with Sandie’s struggles. This reveals my selfishness. Sandie will often ask me to help her to do something, like cooking, open a bottle for her, or help her dress. I get impatient because she asks me when I am doing “my own thing”. She texted me at work one day to tell me she made a big mess trying to make a smoothy in a blender. She was making the smoothy with a lot of calories to gain weight. She requested my help to make a smoothy for her when I got home. When I worked with her to make the smoothy I became impatient and showed it. At first, I supervised her as she tried to add ingredients to the smoothy and spilled. I became impatient teaching her to do it an easier way. I said, “Why can’t you see there is an easier way to do this? You can’t see there’s an easier way. How is that related to Parkinson’s?” Sandie went to the bedroom and cried. She cried because of her inability, loss of coordination, and I was a selfish impatient jerk. Her Parkinson’s has revealed that I can be a selfish impatient jerk.

One the other hand, it has also deepened our love for each other. When I make her cry because I am an impatient jerk, I apologize and hold her and say, “I’m sorry. I was impatient. It’s not your fault. You can’t help it. I love you.” She says, “I’m so thankful for you. I love you.” That touches me and makes me cry. So, we cry together and reaffirm our love for each other.

I will write more about the healing power of love in future posts.

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