April 20, 2015: Diagnosis Confirmed

~by Louis Templeman

Yesterday, I went with my wife to see my neurologist, first time since my MRI. She showed me the scan of my brain on her computer screen. I have seen such images on TV. But this was mine, a bit unnerving! I admire the many, many genius human minds that developed various creations combined to make so many good works possible. I remember my Dad once saying, when marveling over some new technological wonder, “If everyone were like me we’d still be in caves.” I often remember his joke, and have many opportunities to take it personally.

The doctor gave me a virtual tour of my brain. She found evidence that I smoked in my previous life and also indicators of my history of high blood pressure. Other than that she said I had a healthy brain. First time I ever had someone compliment my brain’s good looks. That conclusion led to confirm her diagnosis. If nothing else is presenting itself as the cause of my tremors then the only diagnosis left is Parkinson’s disease.

This makes me the first person I have ever met with this condition. There must not be too many of us out there, except of course for medical waiting rooms. I was told I will be introduced to someone, a docent of the world of tremors, who gives tours through this new world so we can learn what to expect and what changes, if any, need to be made to home or lifestyle. Also, there will be a support group I can join.

Looks like a new world. I am really not looking forward to any of it, especially the progress of the disease. I am fearful. It is already hard to touch and swipe my phone screen without giving it false signals. Typing on my PC keyboard is more challenging now than it was six months ago. Weirdly enough my guitar playing hasn’t been impacted too badly. But neither has it made it better.

Barbara Brown Taylor, in her comments on Job’s suffering, said, This is how (Job’s) faith looks . . a blunt refusal to stop speaking into the divine silence. Suffering does not supply answers. In some way it provides a spiritual direction. Our feral response is fear, anger and crying out against the injustice of it all.

The grief you cry out from

Draws you toward union

~Rumi~

The ancient Jewish compilers of the Tanakh and the Torah included Job among the holy books, as did the early fathers of the Christian Church. With that in mind Taylor offers, Apparently they too recognized that an uncensored account of the depth of human pain and suffering is more to be valued that any correct doctrinal answer to it.

Perhaps wondering the why about suffering and pain is as pedestrian a question as asking the why of grass or clouds or sun or storms. I, too, have had my times of screaming my uncensored diatribes to the heavens and would not be surprised to fall into anger again. However, when it comes down to it I rejoice that I am alive (Well, maybe there are times I am only OK with it) and so I choose to live and be as happy as I can and be as helpful to others as I can.

For you, O God, have tested us,

You have tried us as silver is tried.

You led us, O God, into a snare

You laid a heavy burden on our backs

. . . we went through fire and through water

But then you brought us relief.

~Psalm 66: 16-1~

I am entitled to neither pleasure nor problems. I was dealt a hand when I was born. It is just life. Mine is one common life. It is a privilege; I will play it out. It is a gift, even though I have disappointments. I am happy that I can breathe. I can pray. I can love. Thank God for life. Gratitude cannot be limited to portions of life that were enjoyable or profitable. Gratitude must cover the whole of our lives. The “relief” the psalmist speaks of must have been worth being tested like silver, falling into a snare, the heavy burden, the fire and the water. Gratitude helps us through the struggle. It cannot co-exist with self-pity and complaint.

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Louis writes from Jacksonville, Florida where he lives with his old friend and wonderful bride, Joy. They transformed their friendship into the sacrament of marriage on August 30, 2012. They share their home with two self-absorbed, playful, twin cats (Flo and Jet) and one very allusive and arrogant cat named D. Louis has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and is fighting the good fight. Much of what he writes these days he is sharing his journey with us. Please keep Louis and his wife Joy in your prayers.

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