The importance of ‘seeing the field’ in life with Parkinson’s disease

25 April 2024

An illustration depicting a black hole, comets, and the Milky Way.

I was watching my youngest daughter’s high school lacrosse game the other night and commented to my wife, “She’s seeing the field really well right now.” We talked a bit about how it’s obvious, from a spectator’s perspective, when our kids are bringing their A-game and are engaged and anticipating the action. It’s fun to watch. Even better, it’s fun to be with our daughter after the game when she knows that she competed and made smart plays — especially on nights when she had great field vision and a special level of awareness of the game and the players.

Meanwhile, over the past week or so, I’ve been thinking about the unpredictability of Parkinson’s disease and trying to negotiate my next steps. As I work on finding the right attitude with which to approach my condition, I realize my calling is to “see the field” of my life with Parkinson’s.

Too often, we as people live in the field of our imagination. How many limiting beliefs are we carrying that prevent us from seeing what’s right in front of us? How would our lives be different if we could see those fields? If we could be a better teammate?

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Considering the broader perspective

Living with Parkinson’s disease often feels like navigating through a constantly shifting landscape. Each day brings its own set of challenges with motor symptoms, including tremors and stiffness, and nonmotor symptoms, such as cognitive changes and mood fluctuations. The condition requires adaptability and resilience, much like a player on the field adjusting to the game’s ebb and flow.

Managing Parkinson’s has taught me the importance of seeing beyond the immediate obstacles and envisioning a broader perspective. Just as lacrosse players must anticipate the movements of their teammates and opponents to make strategic plays, I must anticipate how my symptoms may fluctuate throughout the day and plan accordingly. This heightened awareness allows me to manage my condition better and maintain a sense of control over my life.

But seeing the field goes beyond daily survival; it’s about finding meaning and purpose in adversity. Parkinson’s has forced me to confront my own limitations and reevaluate what truly matters to me. It has pushed me to explore new passions and pursue opportunities for personal growth. By embracing the uncertainty of the future, I’ve discovered a bigger sense of purpose and a deeper appreciation for the moments of joy and connection that enrich my life.

Of course, living with Parkinson’s also means grappling with fear. There are days when the future feels daunting, and I wonder how my condition will progress over time. But even amid these challenges, I try to remember how resilient I can be. Just as a team rallies together in the face of adversity, I’m lifted up by the support of my loved ones and the camaraderie of fellow patients who understand the challenges I face.

When I worry about the speed of development of new therapies, I try to remember that the most profound progress comes from within — the resilience and determination to compete and love the game, no matter the opponent.

As I think about the end game, I’m reminded of the words of author and Parkinson’s advocate Michael J. Fox, who said that while Parkinson’s is his toughest opponent, he wasn’t giving it any ground. Like Fox, I’m determined to face each day with courage and resilience, to see the field with clarity and purpose.

In the end, living with Parkinson’s isn’t just about managing symptoms or navigating the complexities of treatment. It’s about embracing life in all its unpredictability and finding meaning in the moments that matter most. It’s about seeing the field — not just as a challenge to overcome, but as a canvas for endless possibilities.


Note: Parkinson’s News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Parkinson’s News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Parkinson’s disease.

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