A question that many of us have when we first hear news that we were not expecting. "Where do we go from here?" is often the first thing out of our mouths. We want a plan. Something concrete to schedule our days ahead. The beauty of living is that God knows what is going to happen. We don't. So what do we do?

First, we must pray. When Jean and I do, we thank God for giving us this life, even a life including Parkinson's. We don't know what lies ahead, so as we thank God, we ask for the tools that we need to make it through each day.

Second, take what is given to you. Many times people think that they are trying to be helpful when they tell us the stories of how they know somebody who has/had Parkinson's and what they did. While it is hard to listen, we know that there is some bit of information in "their" story that will help us. Not necessarily in getting better, but it might be a word of hope, encouragement, or even something to be aware of in our fight.

Third, Parkinson's is different for everyone. No two people will ever have the exact same thing. For some, it might be disfigurement. Others, the loss of voice, Many may lose the ability to walk normally. Who knows what it is going to do. Parkinson's is not logical; it cannot read a road map or take directions.

Finally, live, and that is what we heard in our visit with our Parkinson team this past week.

This is what we are battling. Not only is Parkinson present, but so is essential tremor. I was first diagnosed in 2002 with Essential Tremor (ET). You might see me with tremors in my arms, neck, and sometimes in the legs. This is ET. Meanwhile, my hands might be clenched, or a digit (usually my forefinger) in my hand uncontrollably moving. I have difficulty in my gait, where my ability to walk is compromised. I get slow as I fatigue, you will notice that my stride has gotten shorter, I have hesitations as I walk, and I have poor balance. This is Parkinson's.

As a result of meeting with my Physical Therapist, I am now receiving therapy to help my balance issues and increase my stride. With my Occupational Therapist, I'll soon be learning strategies that will help me improve my day-to-day living such as how to get in and out of bed easier. The Speech Therapist has provided exercises in helping my speech and swallow, while the Music Therapist has provided me strategies to help me relax and sleep.

Finally, my doctor has provided me with this team to help me in my disease management. My prescriptions have changed to ensure that I am getting what is needed each day for my body. We'll have a follow-up visit this summer.

Day-by-day, I'll work out. I'll follow the directions that my team provided me. I'll strive to get better. There is no magic to getting better. It will take hard work and more energy, but I want to live life. I am thankful to God for all this.

Above all, we now have a plan.