The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research has one heck of a marketing/branding team, I have to admit. They have a great cause to support, and the spokesperson/namesake is someone that anyone from the 80s has to have at least a little twinge in their heart for -- Alex P. Keaton with Parkinson's Disease? Unimaginable.
One thing I can say about my mother, is that she never really discouraged me from doing anything just because I was a girl (except going into the Air Force, but that was probably a good decision regardless). I will always be thankful for that.
I cannot tell you how many people have asked me why I would go to Africa by myself, why I would attempt to climb Mount Kilimanjaro by myself. Why I would pick up and move to Louisville for a contract, and now to Cleveland for a permanent job. (I plan on staying in Cleveland till I retire. Period.)
For me, it took months... close to a year now... for the reality of a Parkinson's diagnosis to set in. Sure, I would fall down, I've always been clumsy... but the tremors spook me, even now. Thankfully, if I take meds on time, they don't show up on the outside. But one thing I've learned about PD is that the shaking? You can often feel it on the inside before it makes it to the outside. And that part? really sucks. It's the freakiest, weirdest feeling you can imagine. It's not pins and needles... it feels like your muscles are shaking on the inside.
Going to Africa, prepping for Africa, climbing as much as 15 hours a day? I feel like I can do anything now. I've signed up for my gym at work, I walk to work (when I was still staying downtown), and now I walk to the rapid station and take the train to work. For anyone that knows me - these are DRASTIC lifestyle changes. I can now easily drink a gallon of water a day (oh, Kili, how you taught me that lesson). Baby steps? Yes. But if my body is going to someday give out on me, I want to be able to be in the best shape I can be, and to be as small as I can be. Nothing motivates like having the realization hit you that you are simply too large for one person to easily pick up without hurting themselves.
I have learned so much. I feel like I *know* how far my body can be pushed. Why not keep pushing it, while I still can? Who knows IF I will reach a point where I can't do whatever I want, whenever I want, but -- I am not about to slow down.