Thursday, August 26, 2010

When a Baby Smiles

Despite the anguish, the baby slipped silently into the world.

No announcement. No fanfare. No cheering. Suddenly aware of the light exposing its naked vulnerability, the baby shivered. It was not from the cold or from fear, although the newborn child would have gladly reentered the quiet warmth and safety of the womb, were that possible. The constant, uncontrollable shuddering was part of its personality, buried deep in its DNA. But despite its unfamiliar surroundings and uncertain future, the baby smiled. It felt good to smile, to know that despite the circumstances leading up to its birth it could smile. It chose to smile. And as others noticed that smile, they smiled too. And that made the baby smile all the more.

Such was the birth of this blog one year ago. It was a baby born in some dopamine-deprived moment. Like any other child, there have been moments of laughter, embarrassment and pain. Perhaps because of that, others have provided companionship, reassurance and comfort along the way. Most of all, the baby, and its author, have both kept their smile.

The first person I met with Parkinson's disease reached out her shaky hand and made an astonishing introductory statement. "It is great that you can still smile", she said. To a newly diagnosed person with Parkinson's, that statement sent me reeling. I knew about the Parkinson's mask, but somehow could not imagine losing my smile and all the expressiveness that went with it. At that moment I knew that my job was to maintain my smile as best I could under any circumstances, and in doing so promote a positive attitude to living with Parkinson's disease.

When I started my blog, positivelyparkinsons, I knew that my primary purpose would be to encourage others facing the common foe, sharing my journey in hopes that it would be easier for others to share their journey. I knew writing on a regular basis would provide a creative and cathartic outlet, which it has. But that alone would have been easily accomplished without "going public". The blog provided a commitment to keep, a discipline to maintain.

People who know me know that I enjoy recognizing birthdays, except my own. These annual occasions provide an opportunity to be thankful for the year gone by, celebrate life as it is, and look forward to whatever adventure lay ahead. So in this birthday blog I am reevaluating, looking for constructive feedback, positive or negative. I am certain that this blog can be much better in achieving its purpose. But without constructive criticism I am left to self-evaluation (which is usually of limited assistance, usually being too soft or hard to be reliable).

So, while I am not sure who make up most of the readers of this blog, I am soliciting your response. Do not be afraid of hurting my feelings. I am a lawyer remember. Specifically, I want to know how you think I could improve this blog, help it to better achieve its purpose of communicating encouragement. Tell me what has worked and what has not worked for you. What was your favorite posting? What was your least favorite? What questions do you want answered? Would it be preferable to have more or fewer postings? Would it be better to have postings on an exact schedule (say, every Wednesday and Sunday) rather than just randomly about twice a week? Should there be text and no pictures? Should the postings be shorter or longer?

My baby is one year old. To help it grow, mature and make a difference for some, it will need guidance. To do so you may leave a comment below, or send an e-mail to Thanks.


  1. Happy Birthday to you and the baby (blog)! No criticism or critique because you are raising a beautiful and great child.

    I am so glad that you found my blog because it has led me to yours. You are definitely my kind of person. The glass isn't just half full, it's spilling a little over the edge. We are going to need that little bit extra to see this thing through to a cure.

    We didn't need to have PD, but PD needed to have us. I always felt that I was called into a fight because there were a lot of good people that needed help. Like you, I intend to do my part through blogging, keeping people positive, and keeping them moving.

    I've added your blog to my list of blogs that I follow and look forward to your future postings.


  2. Patrick,

    Thanks for your encouragement. I must admit that today was one of those days I needed it. Keep fighting and keep in touch.


  3. I like your blog, love the pictures, and think ou should do what you want with it.

    I was boring everyone to tears about my mom and her dementia. I finally decided I didn't want people to run when they saw me coming, so I announced on facebook that I was going to keep a journal to get my feelings out without boring my friends. My kind of son (lived with us 10 years) from Korea suggested I blog, so if there was someone out there interested, they could read it and even those friends who weren't bored out of their gord, could read it and see what's going on. So he set it up for me and i started writing. First I wrote my mother's life history and about my visits with her. After I started researching I added a daily section about something I'd read. I found very soon that people from all over the world were reading it. Countries I didn't even know existed are reading it. I still write when I want to and some days change the sequence, but I mostly write for my own therapy.

    Do what you do best, write, but do it your way, the way you want, and remember what others think is not important. This is your life, your blog about your life, and you should do with it as you will.

    I hope to paint some of the pictures you put in on your journey through Northern USA. So beautiful were the pictures. Keep up the good work.