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  • Writer's pictureEllen Bookman

A dream came true and saved me from myself.

Well, I did what I said I wouldn't do. I got caught up in my life and stopped writing. Each time someone asked me when my next blog post was coming out, I would cringe. I felt almost guilty -- people seemed to enjoy my posts. That kinda freaks me out. So, I am back and think a look back at 2019 is in order.

The year was very interesting. I continued to adapt to having Parkinson's - at times struggling and at times accepting that my life was changed forever. I never imagined that I could actually find happiness especially with the shit show that I assumed my life would now be that I was "sick." As the year progressed. I got my medication regulated. I boxed. I worked. I traveled. I started riding Charlie, my friend Sandy's horse, at her farm that we jokingly call "the She Shack." I fell in love with Charlie. She had my heart.

Then, one day Sandy told me that she adopted two rescues, Jackson and Lucille. I wasn't all that interested because I had Charlie. All that changed when Charlie went to train away from the farm. I felt really sad. Was this just another one of life's disappointments?

Immediately after Charlie left, Sandy started working with Jackson. He had a mohawk. He had a big stomach and fluffy fur. We had no idea how he was under saddle or how he was to ride. From the first time he was saddled, we knew he was something special. He seemed sweet, calm and good natured. He is at times stubborn and maybe even a little lazy but always ready to nuzzle my shoulder.

Little by little, Sandy began working with him. Almost immediately, she lunged him, got him saddled and told me to get on for my first lesson. I cried a couple of times. I couldn't get him to move out of the corner or even move forward during several lessons. One day, he just stood in the middle of the field. I cried again. Slowly but surely we started to make progress. Sandy had us doing drills. Some days were good. Some not so good. I kept going. I learned how to saddle, groom and feed him. I began to really get to know him.

I started to recognize that riding, like boxing, was reshaping me as the person I always wanted to be throughout my lifetime. The Parkinson's diagnosis threw me for a loop. It took my breath away, and, for a time, made me feel like giving up. Many times in life I gave up when I should have kept going. I hate to be cliche, but the truth is that the diagnosis gave me a new lease on life. It kicked me into gear. For the first time in my life, I felt in control.

So, now, I need to get back into the boxing routine. I have to learn how to be a better time manager. I need to be more organized -- a symptom of Parkinson's that is one of the hardest for me to accept.

The good news....there is life after the diagnosis. Find your passion. Make yourself pursue it. Get up when you fall down and every other cliche you can think of using. Cry when you need to. Stay in bed if you're feeling tired. But, for your sanity, get up. Do something you love. And, don't feel sorry for yourself -- or at least not every day!


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