Throughout the course of life my physical and mental well-being were left for granted and seemed to be better than most.
Graduation with honors from high school, college, and professional school. Served with distinction in the military including the Middle East. Many personal and professional adventures seemed to follow me, and life was very fulfilling and seemed to be enriched in this manner. I could achieve what I wanted both physically and emotionally and the family and professional circumstances of my life both worked and was what most would say was well above the norm.
Then one day I met challenges which I was not prepared to handle. I believed I could handle anything thrown at me by life, disease, finance, and business because frankly I had proven that to be the case. Performing in my roles as husband, doctor, helper, son, father was second nature to me.
I had invested in me. I trained to do and understand all of these roles and had the assurance and insurance that problems which afflicted people would not cause me or my universe problems.
Then over a three-week span, I saw three people near and dear to me be overwhelmed by illness, disease, and behavioral issues which shook the rock-solid view of my life. Each were involved and invaded by mental and physical problems which most would call unbelievable if confronted alone.
But I had three at once. Together.
No problem, Doc. Write up a plan of care and follow it. Learned that in school. Went to graduate business school to see what and how businesspeople handled situations like this. I have four university degrees, four professional certifications. These will allow me to fix this.
One of those three died in a heroic attempt to prolong their life. Then the second ended their life. The third is still with me and that story goes on and makes me smile.
I thought I was going to be OK. I really did.
Then, in a gym, during the time of their and my trials and the horrors of illness, dementia, and addiction, I injured my shoulder. And my right hand began to shake.
And would not stop shaking.
I went to several doctors, attempting to find an answer. I eventually ended up in Cleveland, near where my father was an oral surgery resident in the early 1950’s. I was told about my condition, what could be done, and the risks involved in the fixing of it at a place called the Cleveland Clinic. Many trips, scans, visits, appointments, and lots of people to meet. And yet, I was ready to act from the first visit as Parkinson’s Disease is a progressive degenerative disease. And I was in the same current of life as millions of others who are so afflicted.
Using a cranial incision shorter than I use to take out twelve teeth, the team at Cleveland Clinic inserted an electrode into my brain and a battery under my left clavicle. And one day it was all connected, and as it was turned on, I felt my center of my body move back to where it should be. And the shaking stopped.
A famous person said once that what does not destroy us makes us stronger. I work now, manage people’s health problems, insert implants, and restore teeth as before. I am not what I was when I was 42, yet I know the truth, the value, and the meaning of friendships like never before.
The photo of me in bed with my family was taken by someone I hold very dear, she was responsible for me getting to Cleveland. To have my kids there meant more than I can tell you all. This summer my son and I got to go to Yellowstone National Park and bike, hike, and kayak as we did before in Glacier National Park and Yosemite.
Thanks to Sandy, David, Lucie, Tammy, Laura, and Matt for being there. Learning how important each of them is in my life is my next lesson and the fuel for the next adventure. We can overcome the obstacles life throws at us. It can be difficult and require change and work in directions none of us thought we would ever have to confront.
I always said that I would start to expire once I stopped learning. I hope my story helps all who read it and gives them strength and the ability to move on.