Parkinson’s Disease Is But A Detour On The GPS Of Life

If Parkinson’s disease teaches us anything it is the virtue of patience, the beauty of compassion, and the ever-present outpouring of sympathy for those who are less caring than ourselves. This is not said or thought out of any pretention but of years of strict observance.  Life, if you let it, allows us to become obsessed with trappings and incidentals, losing sight of the big picture. There are those who are too encumbered in their own egos to make the necessary changes in their lives to realize that not everything is about them. To the uninitiated, Parkinson’s disease appears to be but a curse when in reality this illness opens a window that for many of us was never there prior to being ill.

The Parkinson’s patient sees with different eyes, more sensitive eyes.  An enhanced perspective is gained when forced to dissect one’s past and speculate even more so on the future. No future is certain whether the individual is healthy or not. One may succumb to a host of unforeseen and unpredictable encounters that are or may be beyond our control. In reality, there is no true control and the future is but a hopeful myth. The present is what you make it –within reason. Beware of the unexpected roadblocks and pitfalls of our Candy Land childhood. There isn’t always a prize at the bottom of the cereal box but sometimes that just may be the prize itself. Rewards  are a bonus  without a guarantee. When one feels owed there is likely a chance for upheaval and discontent. Often, our expectations  set us up for disappointment thus throwing  our mental and physical balance out of whack. 

More often than not, I hear people diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease express how he or she worked for so many years and had planned out the golden years and now felt cheated out of retirement and the plans that they had made with their spouse, children, or others. Planning and dreaming can be wonderful fun but when reality and the potential and unexpected pitfalls of life step in, detours must be made. This is the reality of flexibility that comes with Parkinson’s and any other major life-changing illness.

  All that any human can truly hope for is to make a positive and lasting impact. Great thinkers and true visionaries have proven that the unconventional manner of thought often leads to innovation, and through innovation ultimately comes change. I don’t know where the innovation will come from and I can’t say when it will come about, but I do know that a greater understanding of those with and without illness need far more leniency, acceptance, and credibility.The road taken by those with illness is a journey far more challenging and sometimes more enlightening than that of the unchallenged life.

About Karl Robb

Karl Robb has had Parkinson’s disease (PD) for over thirty years. With symptoms since he was seventeen years old, Karl was diagnosed at the age of twenty-three. Now fifty-one, he is a Parkinson’s disease advocate, an entrepreneur, an inventor, an author of two books (A Soft Voice in a Noisy World: A Guide to Dealing and Healing with Parkinson’s Disease and Dealing and Healing with Parkinson’s Disease and Other Health Conditions: A Workbook for Body, Mind, and Spirit) with his wife and care partner, Angela Robb. He has blogged for ten years on his website, He is a Community Team Member to and is a contributor to His blog,, has been recognized four years in a row by as one of The Best Parkinson’s Blogs of 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015! also listed the book A Soft Voice in a Noisy World in their list of Best Parkinson’s Disease Books of 2017! has recognized for 2018 and 2017 as a Top 50 Parkinson’s Disease blog. Karl was a blogger for the 2016 World Parkinson Congress in Portland, Oregon. He is a frequent speaker on Parkinson’s disease issues as well as an experienced advocate for Parkinson’s issues throughout the United States. He is also an advisor and consultant on Parkinson’s disease. Karl is a board member of both the Parkinson Voice Project and Parkinson Social Network based in Virginia. He was an active board member (6 years) and an advocate (18 years) with the Parkinson’s Action Network (PAN). In his free time, he is a photographer, constant writer, longtime magician, and a practicing Reiki Jin Kei Do master. Karl received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has been featured by The New York Post, BBC Radio, CBS News, National Public Broadcasting (NPR), in The New Republic magazine and NHK World Television, as well as several Washington, D.C., television stations. You may reach Karl via email at, on Facebook, or contact him via Twitter @asoftvoicepd. I’m available for speaking engagements to share my experience living with Parkinson’s disease. Please contact me at if you are interested in having me speak to your group, conference/symposium, or would like me to write an article for your newsletter or blog. I am not a medical professional and this information is my personal view. I am just sharing my medical journey with you, the reader. I encourage you to seek all avenues that can benefit your condition.

Posted on June 1, 2011, in Education & Support, Health, Parkinson's Disease, Philosophy and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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