In the last few weeks, it was made public that Linda Ronstadt has been struggling with a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. She has been so troubled with it that she states that she has lost her ability to sing.
“No one can sing with Parkinson’s disease,” Ronstadt said. “No matter how hard you try.”
When I first read this comment, I had to remind myself of the condition that we are discussing. Parkinson’s disease comes in many different shapes and forms. I have said it before, that every Parkie (Person with Parkinson’s) has their own brand or version of the illness…. we are like snowflakes! No two of us are exactly the same. I don’t have a tremor, but some people struggle everyday with attempting to keep their hands still. While some may have rigidity or slowness of movement, others may not. And let’s not even get started on how each human body is unique on how it metabolizes food or medications. Or how advanced one’s Parkinson’s is and how it impacts the body…. my eyes just crossed…. talk about the Rubik’s cube of life.
That is what makes getting a diagnosis and finding the right path of treatment for each individual snowflake so challenging. We are all in this blizzard together trying to grasp onto any information that might give us answers, or better yet, hope. So when I run across incorrect information that is being put out into the public, it doesn’t make this Parkie feel very perky. Not to mention, when there is a celebrity status attached to it, we misinform a large amount of people.
First let me clarify, I am not saying that Ronstadt is not being truthful about he inability to sing. Just as I pointed out, she could have symptoms of PD that are unique to her, that impact her ability to belt out, my personal favorite, “Don’t know Much”. But to say “no one can sing with Parkinson’s disease” is a bold statement. I know multiple Parkies who sing professionally and you couldn’t even tell that they had a neurological disorder.
When people get misinformed, it can lead to a distortion about what Parkinson’s disease really is. This can be confusing and can impact Parkies and their families. So how do we get our information, my little snowflakes? Find resources from social media, National foundations, ask your Neurologist and start reading books about PD. What’s my favorite? “Parkinson’s disease for Dummies”. It has a wide array of information from diagnosis to later stages in the disease. Bottom line is it is crucial that we get the correct information out in the world and if you are a little snowflake, be sure to do your homework.