Our blog is primarily written by Margaret Tuchman, President of The Parkinson Alliance, and her blogging partner, Gloria Hansen. Margaret was diagnosed with Parkinson’s over 30 years ago and continues to be a voice in the Parkinson’s community. Read more about her here.
The Parkinson Alliance Blog
Recently Margaret Tuchman joined an online Parkinson’s community at MyParkinsonsTeam.com, a social network for people living with Parkinson’s. Laura Crawford sent Margaret a welcoming note, some of her original artwork, and also spoke of how The Parkinson Alliance website was a help to her after she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. We are very grateful that Laura agreed to share her story and some of her artwork here.
When people ask me: “What do you do?” I mumble and look puzzled. In my case, a better question would be: “Why do you do what you do”?
You see, in many key aspects, I’m no longer who I was.
I was born in 1962, and for half a century my life ran on what I believed were firm tracks. I loved to read and majored in Literature. For 15 years I did media relations for a telecommunications firm. In 2009 I opened a Design and Communications agency. There I wrote copy while my partner led the graphic side of the business.
Then one day in February 2014 I heard four little words — how can I say this in a way that doesn’t seem melodramatic and yet conveys the massive importance of the moment?— that flipped my life over like an omelette on the range:
“You have Parkinson’s Disease.”
Duh. It was sort of undeniable: I shook; the muscles on one side of my body were scrunched taut; I couldn’t smell a thing (which on occasion was a blessing); I cried for no reason; I fell asleep in front of a client (he was very boring).
With time, though, it became apparent that the truly fundamental changes were occurring in my brain.
Once my life was encased in books; now it is overflowing with markers, pencils, sketchpads and other paraphernalia of the arts. Instead of flipping the pages of a novel, I doodle, draw, and my hands are usually dirty with ink.
I don’t illustrate or draw to please, though that would be nice extra. I do it because I have to, as I free fall into this raw and surprising stage of my life.
Where I was very coherent and (blush) quite eloquent, I now bumble and look for words that sometimes are no longer there.
Yet, even if it were possible, I would not change this final stretch of my life (dopamine-eating monster inside me and all) for the one torn away by those four words.
I have found an undeniable pleasure in graphics and purpose and vibrancy (though that could just be the shakes) in the community of Parkie colleagues and their caregivers.
If you think it through, even if Parkinson’s is a life-sapping monster that disfigures us with time, everyone ends up a corpse at the end.
Given that cheery fact, at least I can say that at this very moment I’m thoroughly enjoying a cup of coffe while writing this. You have what you have, life is what it is… And moreover, I was given the opportunity to march this last bend of the road in the loving loving loving loving company of my husband and my peers.
Just listen to our collective footsteps resound in deep compassion of the human condition that we share.
Thank you Laura! We look forward to sharing more of your artwork in the future!
— Margaret Tuchman and her blogging partner, Gloria Hansen
Michael Norton shares fascinating research on how money can buy happiness — that is, when you don’t spend it on yourself.
“Giving to others gives us pleasure. It makes us happier people which in turn leads us to give more which makes us even happier and… you get the picture.” — says Brady Josephson who wrote “Want to be Happier? Give More. Give Better.” Likewise, in “Want to be Happier? Stop Being So Cheap,” author Jordan Michael Smith discusses the correlation between generosity and happiness. In fact, doing an Internet search on “happiness and donations” resulted in more than 1,200,000 articles that supports the good feeling you get when giving to a worthy cause.
The Parkinson Alliance is a worthy cause and one we both personally support. It is dedicated to raising funds to help finance the most promising research to find the cause and cure for Parkinson’s, and we certainly welcome any donation. Each of us also support other organizations. For example, Margaret loves horses and she regularly supports Habitat for Horses. After watching Norton’s talk, we visited DonorsChoose.org and completely funded a project at a South Carolina school so that special needs children could have a day with therapy horses. Immediately we felt great and agreed, you absolutely can buy happiness!
– Margaret Tuchman & her blogging partner, Gloria Hansen
As we look forward to the New Year, our goal is to share educational and inspirational information with you that will help improve your 2017. Our President, Margaret Tuchman (who has had Parkinson’s for nearly 40 years!) and her blogging partner, will continue writing on topics such as the latest in research, mindfulness, and exercise. We also have several guest bloggers that will be contributing on medical-related topics, such as currently available Parkinson’s medications that you may not be aware of that can help improve the quality of your life. As we go forward into this new year, please know we are always available to help answer your Parkinson’s-related questions.