Previously on Parkie and the City…..
The Perky Parkie arrives in New York City just in time to shovel hot and delicious pizza into her mouth, while unknowingly giving a peep show in her skivvies from her hotel window. The next day, when the talent arrived, she got her hair and makeup done for a photo shoot that would be used in Medtronic’s new marketing campaign, “Refuse to Surrender to Parkinson’s”. Click here for Episode 1.
Now, Parkie and the City: Parkinson’s Unity Walk in Central Park….
After my photo shoot, I rode back to my hotel in my blacked-out SUV, thinking about how fortunate I was, and the day wasn’t over! Just like Carrie Bradshaw in “Sex and the City”, I had plans for a night out on the town and I was still looking glamified with my amazing hair and makeup. I would be having dinner with my new friends from Medtronic, my celebrity Parkie friend Davis Phinney, and his wife Connie. If you have not heard of Davis, you must be living under a rock. Cliff note version: Olympic cyclist who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, also has Deep Brain Stimulation, the founder of The Davis Phinney Foundation, which is responsible for Parkinson’s Victory Summit’s all over the country, and surrounds himself with people you would be honored to be friends with. In my world, he is the rock star, and I am his groupie! We had dinner at a restaurant on top of a hotel that rotated, showing an amazing view of New York City. It was a night of great conversation, awesome people, and spectacular food….my trip wasn’t turning out too shabby!
The next morning was the Parkinson’s Unity Walk in Central Park and with an expected 10,000 people attending, I was super-duper excited! Even though mornings are hard for me, seeing as my symptoms are at their worst, I woke up that day with a little extra bounce. When I arrive at Central Park, it is 67 degrees, sunny, with a ton of positive energy filling the air. As a Parkie, you spend so much time trying to control your symptoms around other people. Now let me clarify….I do not hide my symptoms, in fact, I will point them out to help educate people. But everyday my body fights to keep control of the abnormal symptoms of Parkinson’s, sometimes this happens unconsciously. So just being at an event where no explanations are needed, I can feel a little bit more relaxed. I was with my Parkie Peeps!
As you may know, Parkinson’s does not just affect the one individual with the diagnosis, it drags everyone into its chaos; mothers, daughters, brothers, sisters, friends, and even the family dog feels the pain. But something beautiful comes through the loss felt from PD….. you gain a deeper meaning of life and that day, that gift was celebrated. In a world that can feel so huge, and make your existence seem so insignificant, it can be easy to feel alone in your pain. As I look around I realize that I am surrounded by thousands of people who got me; no explanation needed. That day, we came together to share our passion to fight and unify against the disease that has impacted so many.
One thing that I know Carrie Bradshaw does not struggle with is fatigue. That little goldilocks is always full of energy and nothing that couldn’t be remedied with a Cosmopolitan Martini will slow her down. Mrs. Perky Parkie on the other hand, needs to have a cat nap in the afternoon or she will be a grouchy kitty. (Yes, I am referring to myself as a feline and in third person………or shall I say, third cat) After the Unity Walk, I decided that I would rest for an hour in my hotel room, and then get up around 4pm, which would leave me enough time to get a ticket to an 8pm Broadway show on my last night in NYC. I turn on the television, crawl into my bed, lay my head on my pillow and gentle close my eyes. When I open them again, my room is dark except the glow of the T.V. as I sit up confused. I thought, “Ummmm, where did the sun go? What time is it?” I glance at my phone, it reads 7:15pm! I have a wave of frustration hit me, but in the back of my mind I knew that my body needed the rest. There is always next year!
The next morning, I got in a cab to go to the airport to fly back home to California. I reviewed the weekend in my head and take moment to acknowledge how blessed I am. I flew across the country to NYC, was the talent for a photo shoot, enjoyed the company of new friends and celebrated life with thousands of people in Central Park. I guess you would say it’s just another time that I can say, “I am grateful that I have Parkinson’s disease”. Carrie Bradshaw has nothing on me!