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Monday, October 12, 2015

YumaBev's Big Summer Adventure

I made big plans for the Summer of 2015. I had a few months off from our local Parkinson's Disease Support Group meetings. I had told a few neighbors that I may not be around to check on their places. I looked at maps, checked out cruises and train excursions, checked hotel prices, got the tires rotated on my car and the oil changed. I was all set.

Then I got an email inviting me to attend a special Support Group Leader conference: in Phoenix, Arizona, in the beginning of July. So, the plans got put on hold and instead I read a book. 

It was Most of Me by a Parky friend Robyn Michele Levy. She and I had traded books a few years ago, but I had never read hers. It's about her own journey with both Parkinson's and Breast Cancer and I just couldn't bring myself to read it any sooner. Robyn has a bawdy sense of humor, and I laughed quite a bit as I read it. I loved it!

Right after the Group Leader conference, my step-daughter and Grandson came to visit and we had a wonderful time. After they left, I got out my maps again. We were just getting ready to head over to the beach when wildfires broke out in California, right along our route. So, once again, I cancelled our plans and read a book.

It was Both Sides Now, by Alice Lazzarini, PhD. Alice was a research scientist, working on finding a causative gene for Parkinson's, when she got Parkinson's herself. Talk about a bizarre twist of fate. It's an excellent book, more about the workings of a researcher and I learned quite a bit. I contacted Alice and sent her a copy of my Parkinson's Humor book. 

After finishing Alice's book, I once again dug out my maps. This time, I thought we'd head up to Alaska to see friends who had invited us to come visit. Then our phone rang. It was our Alaska friends, saying "Don't come, the smoke from the wildfires is terrible. We can't even go outside." So, I read another book. 

The next book I read was Parkinson's Diva by Maria De Léon, MD. I've known Dr. Maria for several years, though we've never met in person. She was the person I called when I woke up after breast cancer surgery and couldn't move my arm. 

Her book is specifically geared for Women with Parkinson's. Besides being a Movement Disorder Specialist herself, she also has Young Onset Parkinson's. Another bizarre twist of fate. 

Her book details many of the female gender related sides of Parkinson's and I think it should be required reading for every medical school student! She also has helpful hints for us Parky gals who still want to be, in her words, Diva-licious! It was a wonderful book and one I will cherish.

It was now mid-August, so it was either go now or give up and stay home. I planned a trip to Montana. We have Winter neighbors who have a Summer home there. We were planning to leave when the phone rang. It was Montana. There were wildfires all around them, too. The heat was awful, the smoke was choking them and they were headed back to Yuma early. So, I tossed the maps in the trash and read another book. 

The last book I read was In This Together by Ann Romney. Yes, that Ann Romney, the wife of the Presidential Candidate. This book is about how she and her family handled her diagnosis with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). As we Parkies are well aware, neurological illnesses affect the entire family and it's even harder when Mom is the one who becomes ill. 

I didn't know anything about MS prior to reading it, but the similarities with Parkinson's are interesting. I learned a lot from her book, and the timing was perfect, because I was asked to speak about how "Humor is Good Medicine" at a MS conference here in Yuma. 

All these books had something in common, they were all about how Women deal with chronic illness. They all realized, just as I did, that you need the three H's; Hope, Humor and plenty of Hugs. 

So my big Summer adventure turned out to be a READING adventure! And that's just fine. I got to sleep in my own bed with the temperature set just right. It gets hot in Yuma, but there were no wildfires. Who knows, maybe next Summer, I'll forget about traveling and just read. I've pretty much been everywhere anyways, so why bother to go see it again. 

Anyone want to trade books? 

PS All these books are available from

Clicking on the colored words will open a new window and take you to a different story. 


  1. Love your spirit! Never change!!! 💕💓💗think pink and think BIg and LOUD -aka summon your inner diva and show PD and breast cancer who's boss!!!!

  2. Reading is always a good thing!

  3. Thanks for the reading ideas! Being newly diagnosed young onset, I'm going to order a couple!

  4. thanks Bev - you did it again! inspired me, encouraged me and educated me! HUGS HUGS HUGS!!!