Past posts:

Previous blog posts from last year can be found.... HERE.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

My New Normal

By David R. Slone

I’m out of the closet. What a relief it is. Yes, I’ve told the world my dirty little secret. I have Parkinson Disease. Bob Preston made me feel good I did. Forget trying to hide my symptoms, sticking my quivering left hand in my pocket, behind my back, or crossing my arms. Or growing a goatee so that my Niagra-sized flow of drool is partially hidden in facial hair. Let it shake; let it flow.

Bob Preston was referred to me by several friends we have in common. I tried evasive action for a few days, but Bob saw through my cover. If nothing else, Bob is persistent. We met out on my deck. It had been the first meaningful time I’ve spent with someone who has PD in my seven years since diagnosis. No support groups, no “buddy talks”; hell, I even avoided my mother who has PD. I guess I was still in denial – still trying to play the “maybe they won’t notice card”.

We met a half-dozen times. Each time I learned a little more about him. He took me out on his boat to shoot photos of lighthouses on Narragansett Bay. I thought, what is this guy up to, what does he want from me? And, then I thought, what is HE doing? He has enough money to hop in his boat, go where he wants, enjoy his remaining days. He could have forgotten all this other nonsense and no one would have criticized him – but he is not built that way.

 I don’t know what it was:  his honesty; his passion; his transparency; his optimism. He talks about his PD-induced weaknesses and through some kind of linguistic alchemy they become his strengths. Part of it is what he believes:  if you are going to “talk the talk, then you need to “walk the walk”.

In an odd way, he made to feel like I had come home. There is a comfort level when I am among people like me. I don’t feel as though I need to hide anything or to pretend “normalcy”. To my surprise, my symptoms seemed to lessen.

I used to laugh when Michael J. Fox talked about how PD “was the best thing that ever happened to him.” What are you, nuts? I would have paid nearly any price to get my life back to normal.

Then I realized something. I would never have experienced the joy I received in writing my two novels. And, because of my PD, my friendships and my marriage are stronger. Having PD I have learned to be more patient, to persevere, to allow myself to be vulnerable and to be humble.

This summer I published a novel, Rose Beach, in which one of the main characters, 79-year-old Zeke Barton, has Parkinson Disease. Zeke comes back to Plum Breach with his wife to spend their last summer in their beloved cottage, which they intend to sell at summers end and move to Florida. Over the course of the next four days, they reveal secrets about their hidden lives, which neither had been privy to. Will they end up selling? Will their marriage survive the revelations of deceit?

My second book, A Man Left Behind, is in the action/thriller genre. A Vietnam veteran (with PD) tries to resolve the circumstances of the death of all his Ranger teammates in a helicopter crash. My PD was attributed by the VA to Agent Orange exposure when I was in combat in Vietnam. The story of my survival is the essence of this “what if” book.

So I decided to follow Bob’s course and I have dedicated the profits from the sale of my two books till th6e end of 2013 to RIAPDA.  That amount is about 60-70% of the digital eBooks retail price and about 40-50% of the printed version.

Go to and look for Rose Beach and A Man Left Behind. I think you will find them to be good reads and you will be helping yourself and other PD “beneficiaries” as a result.

No comments :

Post a Comment