But as the months went by, during my daily workouts at the gym, I noticed the left side of my body, my nondominant side, starting to get stronger while my right side was getting weaker. I started tripping because I was dragging my right foot. And then, my right arm started to tremble.
It took about 15 minutes of research on the Internet to put the pieces together. I was overwhelmed. I didn't even know anybody who had Parkinson's, except for the mother of a close friend -- and she was much older than I am -- and actor Michael J. Fox.
I prayed that it would be something else. Some nerves that were pinched or some problem with one of my vertebrae or a bulging disk. But deep in my heart of hearts, I knew what my doctor was going to tell me. And on that October day, my life was changed.
Parkinson's disease is not exactly what I had planned for the rest of my life, but I suppose God has other plans. I know He travels this road with me, so I cling to that. I will have bad days and good days, and my prayer is that as the years pass, my disease will progress slowly, and that I will have many more good days than bad and many more good memories to treasure. I know things could be much worse.
I also know that while this road will have its share of potholes, it is lined with a support network that I am thankful to have. My patient, loving husband, Mike, is right with me, as are my family and friends who pray for me and will be there to help me navigate this obstacle course and set me straight.
As my sister Jean said, "On those days when your body fails you, and you feel like you're falling, always remember that I am right behind you, ready to catch you." Invincible love. That's all we can ask for.
Debbie Grubb lives in South Charleston. She may be emailed at debg1...@aol.com.