In the month of December I'm excited to be supporting The Michael J. Fox Foundation. I will donate $0.50 for every comment made on my blog to help their Parkinson's Disease research and treatment efforts.
My mother-in-law is an amazing woman. She is caring, attentive, witty and one of the strongest women I know. I feel so fortunate that I first got to know her fifteen years ago. Our relationship has grown stronger and closer through the years, as I went from her son's girlfriend, to son's fiance, to son's wife, neighbor and friend. Through this time her life has also changed as she was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease 14 years ago.
For the first few years the main symptom she had was that her feet didn't cooperate with her going on her daily run anymore, so she switched to primarily doing yoga, which has been great for her to help with her strength. Then in 2008 she had Deep Brain Stimulator surgery, which is a procedure that implanted a brain pacemaker. The DBS sends electrical impulses to specific parts of the brain to help with movement and other areas affected by Parkinson's. The DBS helped her with quality of life for many years, and still helps some today, but I will admit it's effectiveness has warn off some. I'm not sure if that is because she's had it for almost ten years, or if it is because we are now ten years farther into her Parkinson's, or a combination of both. But none the less, I know the DBS has been a benefit for my mother-in-law.
|One of my all-time favorite photos from our wedding reception|
My Mother-in-Law said her doctor insisted she carry
a champagne bottle with her at all times to help her with her balance 😉
So then we find ourselves at the beginning of November and my mother-in-law became hospitalized with her first major complication from her Parkinson's. She was diagnosed with aspiration pneumonia and had a feeding tube placed to help her have less aspiration of her food and liquids. She is currently in skilled care working on physical, occupational and speech therapies so she come back home.
Through all of this I am still amazed by my mother-in-law's strength. If she wasn't a strong person, she would have given up a long time ago, let alone in this last month. But I truly believe one of the things that keeps her going is the love for her family and her love of God. I talked about how my mother-in-law and I have grown closer through the years and that is partly due to her Parkinson's. I help her get groceries, or run errands, or take her to appointments, which has allowed us to get to know each other better. I feel so fortunate that I am able to help her and that I have gotten to know her on such a personal level.
|My Mother-in-Law and six of her seven grandkids|
(this photo was taken about a month before #7 was born)
I also love seeing the care and affection my children give her. I know my husband (and I) think back and wish what could have been for my mother-in-law as a grandma. And while yes, our kids aren't able to run around or get down on the floor to play with her, but the relationship they have with her is one of a kind. Our oldest Mr K. loves reading her books which is great for him because he's working on his reading skills, and great for her because she is a book lover. Our oldest daughter Miss A is always a big helper for her grandma, always offering to carry her purse and help her out in anyway when we run errands together. Miss L is so warm and tender with her grandma. Every time we see her she gives her a hug and does this soft rub of her hands. It is so precious to see. And finally Miss R; she loves to give her grandma big hugs and big cheesy smiles that then give a smile to my mother-in-law.
Parkinson's is one of the hardest diseases I think anyone can go through. It has always been on my mind obviously for the last fourteen years, but is has pretty much been the only thing I've been able to think about the last month. Simply put, Parkinson's is a sad, debilitating disease, and The Michael J. Fox Foundation isn't just there to help people figure out how to live with the disease, but they are dedicated to finding a cure for it. So this month I am going to be supporting their efforts by donating $0.50 for every comment made on my blog to their foundation. Please help me and my family by commenting all month long!