When Life Gives You Parkinson's: Becoming 'Disease Guy,' and other things you can't put on your LinkedIn

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I wish I didn’t have Parkinson’s. You wish I didn’t have Parkinson’s. In fact, as far as I can discern, no one is really happy about it.

My Parkinson’s is inconvenient and uncomfortable for everyone involved. That uncomfortableness has led me to apologize for having it. I have moments nearly every day when I try to make people feel better about my diagnosis and symptoms. (Frankly, I always thought it was supposed to be the other way around.)

But, I suppose, I shouldn’t be surprised. We all play roles in each other’s lives. We’re cast. I’m the baby brother, the college buddy, “Smokey the sports radio guy” and more. For each person in my life, I played a particular part. Both the inconvenience and uncomfortableness arise from the reality that no one cast me as “disease guy.” It can be really awkward and depressing to face realities of disease — for everyone.

In August 2017, Parkinson’s hijacked my storyline and recast me in your life story and mine. Now, in addition to high school theatre geek, loving husband and wine lover, I’m Larry with a degenerative brain disease. Unfortunately, I don’t think that’s a skill set I can to add to my LinkedIn profile.

Yes, I wish I didn’t have Parkinson’s. I am, however, grateful that my story continues to be written.

Parkinson’s has given me an opportunity to update my character and made me realize that as people change, our narratives about them need to be rewritten too. In a rather healthy way, disease actually jumpstarts that process and forces people to see others in a new and different light.

In this episode of “When Life Gives You Parkinson’s,” my Mom, my wife Rebecca, my co-host Niki and I examine the roles we’ve accepted in each other’s lives, how we feel about those roles changing and what we can do to keep moving forward in life.

For more info: 10 steps to help you cope with a Parkinson’s diagnosis 

Follow Larry Gifford 

Twitter: @ParkinsonsPod

Facebook: Facebook.com/ParkinsonsPod

Instagram: @parkinsonspod

Follow Co-host and Producer Niki Reitmeyer

Twitter: @Niki_Reitmayer

For more info on our partner Parkinson Canada head to http://www.parkinson.ca/

Or follow them on Twitter

Parkinson Canada            @ParkinsonCanada

Parkinson Society BC      @ParkinsonsBC

Thank you Courtney Doherty, registered clinical Counselor at Parkinson’s Society.

Thank you as always to my wife Rebecca Gifford and my mom Marty Gifford

Thank you to @SickboyPodcast – check them out here http://sickboypodcast.com/

Follow them on Twitter

Brian Stever                     @SteverBrian

Taylor MacGillvary           @Taymacgillivary

Jeremie Saunders           @JeremieSaunders

Credits

Dila Velazquez – Story Producer

Rob Johnston – Senior Audio Producer

 

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  • Click the name of an episode from the list below to listen.

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