Tim Hague Sr. was diagnosed with PD at age 46, and now he is a motivational speaker on the topic of this disease. This year, he published Perseverance, a memoir and self-help book based on his experience with PD.
Three years after he was diagnosed with PD he entered and won “The Amazing Race Canada”, with his son Tim Jr., and became an instant celebrity. He compares the challenges he faced in this Amazing Race to the experiences all of us face on a daily basis in fighting Parkinson’s disease. Here is how he defines Perseverance: “To carry on in your course of action, even in the face of difficulty, with little or no evidence of success.” In this race he describes situations where they faced difficulties with no hope of winning, but they persevered and stayed on course, and ultimately won The Amazing Race Canada. Tim breaks down Perseverance into seven skills that “you need to survive, thrive, and accomplish more than you ever imagined:”
1) Accept Limits – “Parkinson’s has brought a certain closure to my past life – But I can experience new growth and new beauty. By accepting limits and by practicing contentment, I can look forward to all that will be as I learn to grow in this new life I have been given.”
2) Cease Striving – “Parkinson’s is profoundly adept at pointing out my limits, and I dare say that this can be a good thing: I can assess what I can and can’t do and concentrate on the former.”
3) Take Every Advantage – “…take advantage of the good fortune that comes our way. It seems obvious, but we don’t always do this. Take the gift and be grateful.”
4) Let Go of the Happiness Myth- “…don’t believe the lie that our lives should be free of pain and hardship. Life just doesn’t happen that way. Think of many grueling, difficult tasks that we have to work hard through and ultimately lead to joy. Suffering, if we allow it, can draw us deeply into an ability to persevere. Hardship can teach us how to stay in the race even when all seems lost.”
5) Understand the Nature of Luck- “…it’s those that stay in the race who so often seem to get lucky. I can guarantee you this: give up and you will never see luck. When we get up and do our best, luck often follows.”
6) Pay Attention – “…when we learn to pay attention to the details in life, we often come away amazed at how things fall into place. Understand your clues.”
7) Find Community – “We need the friendship of individuals who get what we’re going through. Who can not only sympathize with our difficulties but also call us out when we’re slipping into unhealthy places.”
Chapter twelve of this book provides detailed examples of each of these skills.
Here are some of the lessons I took away from the book:
a) “Parkinson’s disease is not a death sentence, but it is a life sentence, but do not let PD dictate your life.”
b) “The Parkinson’s will become your best friend that you hate.”
c) When you have Parkinson’s the exercise is not just an optional activity, it is a mandatory activity.
d) To get the best benefits from your exercise, you need to push yourself to a 110%, even when you do not feel your best.
e) Many studies have shown that the vigorous exercise is the best medicine to fight and manage Parkinson’s and it could also delay the progression of Parkinson’s.
f) Set up a definite schedule for your exercises as part of your daily activities. I have scheduled my exercise activities first thing in the morning, before any other daily activities. This way I make sure I do them. I walk every morning, and I take Rock Steady Boxing classes three times per week.
g) There are many good exercises you can try, and I provide more details about each of them right here in my blog.
h) Find some type of a hobby to keep yourself occupied. Set aside a certain amount of time every day or week on your hobby. Select something that will challenge your mind, and something that you may find connections to the issues you are working on.
i) I started publishing a blog about Parkinson’s and exercises that helps me and hopefully others in managing PD.
j) Join a local Parkinson’s support group or one of the online support groups. I would recommend PatientsLikeMe.com. You can share your experiences, and find answers to your questions about Parkinson’s.
k) Check out some of the articles in my blog, it has a lot of good information about managing Parkinson’s and keeping positive attitude.
l) Never give up in fighting Parkinson’s; practice the seven skills of Perseverance that Tim describes, and you will be amazed what you can achieve.
I would strongly recommend to everyone with Parkinson’s disease, and all caregivers to read this book.
Tim writes, “Our best is good enough if we have the courage to see it through. Don’t ever give up on yourself. I guarantee you’ll be amazed at how far your best will take you.” Perseverance can be learned, just like any other skill.