Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Rabbit and the Cat

There was a flash of fur as the wide-eyed rabbit raced to avoid the claws of the pursuing cat. 'Socks', still a kitten really, was the neighbourhood's white-pawed hunter, and had just scared up the hapless hare from the nearby field as I was leaving to meet my trainer at the gym. For the feline it was not a particularly important pursuit, but for the bunny it was a potentially deadly game, and for a few seconds I thought it was over. But the freaked out rabbit veered between my front tires and Socks wisely chose to avoid the unhealthy course. His prey lived to see another sunrise.

On the remainder of the pre-dawn drive to my dreaded work out I kept replaying that four-legged chase scene that had taken place before my sleep-deprived eyes. Wasn't that a little like me (the rabbit) exercising my less than cooperative body to stay ahead of the pursuing Parkinson's (the cat)? If I don't take the stalking disease seriously now, while it is still mostly a practical inconvenience, how will I be able to win the race when the 'kitten' becomes larger, faster and more aggressive? It's enough to get me motivated to meet Shelley at least once a week so that she can "encourage" me to run longer, lift more weight and stretch farther. You see, I need the constant reminder and accountability she provides. Despite the way it feels sometimes, she is not killing me, but preparing me to compete in a very serious race; one in which I must stay ahead of the pursuer.

Exercise may not be neuroprotective, but it is the one thing I can do to fight back. Drugs may be necessary, but they are hardly the sole weapon, or even the best, with which to fight the battle. Everything I have read about PD tells me exercise is a must. So despite a busy life and the twinge of guilt for arriving a little later at work a couple days a week, I will persevere. If I fall off the wellness wagon I know Shelley will ensure I get back on.

I know not every PD person can have a personal trainer and a gym membership, but we can all do what we can to try and stay out of the clutches of the worst part of the ever more demanding disease we face. Find an exercise buddy. Walk if that is what you can do. But do something. Let's all fight back and maybe we can stay ahead of the cat for a while at least.

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