There is a lot about this day that I will cherish and others that I would sooner forget.
We started this day with a cement-gray sky that looked ready to pop. That was how I felt. I had
spent just long enough at home with Lori, my family and my boys to be comfortable, but not long
enough to be settled. I felt rushed as I hurried to Mississauga with Lori. We are met there with
friends of ours and of Tamara’s and Laura’s – two of the principles of Passion For Parkinsons.
Even seeing these bright faces didn’t immediately cheer me up. I was sad to be leaving home.
To add to this, some long-simmering personal frustration between teammates was poised to
surface, adding dread to ennui.
The route today was familiar, having ridden it many times before. Our contingent begins to
shed as we near the centre of Toronto, leaving just Li, who we escort to Union Station, and
Eugene, who remains with us to the East edge of Toronto. Once alone, we take some time to
talk as a group. The discussion is productive and necessary, though it does leave welts. This is
certainly just the start of a process, not the end. But a spirit of kindness and recovery pervades.
This is a good time to mention something obvious that still surprises me and others –
Parkinson’s changes your brain chemistry, and with it, aspects of your personality. Dopamine
and my medications seem to have a hand in so many brain functions – focus and attention,
sense of reward and joy, and emotions of every stripe. It makes you feel like a kid again, but in
the cruel sense – a rush of strange impulses, exaggerated emotions or lethargy that ebbs and
flows without notice. It can be hard to fit this into my day, and act like everything is normal. In
truth, there is no more normal.
We had a long ride today – 150 km. Sometimes you can feel pushed along by support from
others, sometimes pulled by anticipation. Today is the latter. I long to see my old friends Peter
and Louise, two exceptional people that I see too infrequently. When we finally crawl up their
long driveway – weary from the ride and the challenges of the day – and I feel their warm
embrace, I am happy again. Deeply happy.
Count for this day: friends 1/ Parkinson’s zero.