Who took the cover photo?

and why its so important!

I don’t know for sure who took this photo. It has to be one of two people. The two women in front of me ( me with the green coat and pink hat) are walking companions from the US. The person next to me appears to be a mystery pilgrim. And the two other walking companions were behind us. One of them took the photo, but each of them think it was her shot.

I did as much detective work as I could. I found the photo is each person’s photo stream. I saw that the photo was taken with a iPhone 5, which both of them were using.

I searched through all the pictures I could find that were taken by any member of this group. I found other pictures of this mystery pilgrim, and none proved her to be without a doubt anyone I knew. I love this picture. I also love both my dear friends who had their iPhone5’s out that day to catch such a marvelous shot. So, not knowing what else to do, they both got the photo credit.

Another friend worked on it to get it up to the parameters of a cover photo. And then I relied on a hired designer to make it look a bit more like a painting than a photo.

What else could I have done to solve this mystery?

The Battery is Dying

The neurostimulator device is where the battery is located.

Medtronic is a leading manufacturer of medical devices.  Their products include pumps and pacemaker type devices, including Deep Brain Stimulation neurostimulators. Other producers of these devices include Boston Scientific, Abbot and St. Jude.

I did not have a choice at the time of my implant.  The Medtronic Activa was placed in my chest, just below my left collar bone five days after the probes were placed in my brain.  The wires were positioned from both sides of my  head, run down the back of my head and side of my neck  and needed to  be pulled into place.  

In about a months time, I returned to the clinic for the device to be turned on, and set.  That was quite the experience. You can read more about that in my book The Ribbon of Road Ahead  to be released in early 2019.

I have had a total of four tune ups which have been successful in limiting my tremors and several other symptoms of Parkinsons Disease.  I was told the battery would last 3-5 years, depending on the strength of the voltage.  It   has been 2 years and 9 months. Mine was rather high on one side.  It has now drained to the warning level.  I hope to have surgery to replace it within the month.

Our Lady of the Journey

Our Lady of the Journey,  wood sculpture, artist unknown  Located at Mission Santa Inez, Solvang CA

Unexpected Encounter

On a recent visit to my sister Beth in California, I discovered that my husband Charlie had visited 16 of the 21 Spanish Missions.  These Missions were founded by Spanish Franciscan  priests between 1769 and 1833 to bring the Native Americans to Christianity and a whole lot of other more political reasons.  I will let you seek out that information in the history books.

I also discovered that 4 of the remaining 5 missions were within a few  hours drive.  We packed water, a few snacks,  my trekking poles and ourselves into the back seat of my sisters sedan.  With her husband as chauffeur and Beth as narrator,  we went to find these missions.

Each mission compound was unique in its location, state of restoration and amount of use.  Some were out in the countryside and had become state parks.  Others were in urban areas and were active parishes.  All were similar in that the  church had a long  narrow nave and an altar rail.  The walls of the more active churches  were brightly painted with flowers and leaves and birds of the area. Different and alike, they all held surprises.

My favorite surprise of all was when I walked into an art exhibit at Mission Santa Inez.  I entered the Madonna room and saw familiar images of our Lady in paintings of various sizes.  I turned and looked to the right and then to the left and admired the artwork.  As I started through the threshold into the next display  I felt pulled  to go back.  I turned around and there she was, standing  behind some glass.  Our Lady!  (now my lady to me because I instantly claimed her).  Our Lady of the Journey.   What Journey?  Who  created her image? Why was she here, unclaimed, a statue of wood, in this room of paintings, all signed and dated by their artists?  I had so many questions about her, and they have remained unanswered despite my research.

In spite of not knowing her, I  invited myself to join her journey. (It  is not unusual for me to invite myself along)  She didn’t say “no”.  She just  stood and looked at me with welcoming eyes.  So it must be ok.  

I am excited to follow Our Lady’s itinerary.  Hmm, I wonder when the journey starts.

Getting Started

start over, then create something better.


Learning something new can be difficult.  Especially if I am a 60 year old woman who has lived well for 10 years with a diagnosis of PD. I am using Parkinson’s as an excuse again.  My  excuse is if I can’ meet the challenge of starting a new blog I can blame the Parkinsons.  PD, I am going  make this work.

And if I don’t make it work?

Then I will blame it on just being 60.


I am getting older

How can I tell?  My skin is dryer and getting wrinkly. I have all the garden variety spots, moles and tags all over my body.  My face shows its age and sun exposure.  I have difficulty getting up out of the chair and cannot get off the floor anymore. My skin sags here and there. And the big one..at all these doctors appointments  I have to write down my birthdate.  Each time I do I am reminded I am 60 years old!

Life gets busy

Months went by when I felt bored.  I sat in the chair and looked out the window at the horses in the pasture. I could have gone outside. I didn’t.  I didn’t do much of anything.

What a waste of time.  It was apathy I am sure.  Parkinson’s disease induced apathy.

Life is busy now.  I have several thing s to do on my book.  I have been appointed to the Davis Phinney ambassadors program, so there are items I need to check off there.  Thursday I fly to Houston to work on the National Women with PD TALK  forum.

Last but not least I need to  get this blog going… and a web page.

I am not bored now!

This is my story and I am sticking to it !








Well friends, its nearing time for me to complete this fundraising effort. Remember the Parkinson’s Center of Oregon is a non for profit entity and your donation is tax deductible. Hope you are able to help me with my goal of $10,000.

HEY…I made it home. I am so pleased to have walked nearly 400 of the 500 miles I planned to complete on foot. I learned alot about dealing with Parkinsons disease during a grueling 32 day walk! But for the most part it was a very good trip.
Thanks to all who have contributed. There have been several off line contributions. We are half way to the GOAL of $10,000. Please donate to the Parkinson;s Center of Oregon!

Thank you for visiting my fundraising page for Parkinson’s research. This page is established as a way for you to donate to research programs at the Parkinson Center of Oregon at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) in Portland, OR.
On June 2, 2012 I will embark on a 500 mile walk on the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain with family members and friends. I have given this group of 10 wandering pilgrims the name “C-TEAM.” This is going to be a very difficult journey for me due to my Parkinson’s as we will walk at least 15 miles a day for over 30 days. Yet, to me it is very worthwhile to raise funds for research into a disease that wants to take my mobility away.
This page provides a very simple way for you to donate to Parkinson’s research in my honor. And when you are done…hit the share button at the top and send my page to all your friends and then follow OHSU Parkinson Center of Oregon on Facebook.
The first day this was posted $1000 was donated! Any amount will make a big difference. It all adds up. I hope to reach $10,000 before I return July 17. Please join me in reaching that goal by donating today.
I will be blogging along the way. Watch for further information on how you can get on that blog and read more of my story.
The Story of my diagnosis
The year I turned the corner on the second half century of my life, I noticed more than the usual middle age-ed-ness creeping in. My balance was off, my right arm did not move as well, I experienced “pings” or tiny spasms in my legs.
My husband gave me the most wonderful 50th birthday gift…a three day women’s kayaking adventure in the San Juan Islands. Being somewhat athletic, and enjoying all things outdoorsey, I eagerly awaited the date of the trip. It was a lovely, beautiful trip and yet I had a very difficult time. My paddling partner pulled my weight and hers and on the final leg of the trip one of the guides paddled me back to the pull-out site. Something was going very very wrong with my body.
My family doctor sent me to a kind neurologist, an older gentleman nearing his retirement. As he administered the exam, I could see I was not completing the tasks easily. My mind seemed to know what it was supposed to do, yet it wasn’t coming out right. He said “Here is a prescription for some pills. I don’t want to give you a diagnosis yet. We will know more when you have taken this medication a few weeks.” He walked me to the door, and putting his hand on my shoulder said “You think you have Parkinson’s Disease don’t you? ” I responded “I’ve done my reading”. He replied “If this medication makes you feel better, we will have some answers”.
I went on with life, a mom of two active boys, a wife to Charlie, a Speech Pathologist, a Director of a Speech and Hearing Department, a hiker, climber, backpacker, horsewoman, skier, fisherwoman, traveler and now a wanna-be sea kayaker. It was a brilliant September Saturday morning and I was up early and zipping around the house doing chores and cleaning with a vengeance when I was stopped in my tracks by the thought “CRAP! I feel really good. The medicine is working. That means….”
The kind neurologist sat down with me again. He said “Now you need to get a second opinion. I am going to write a letter to my friend Dr. Jay Nutt at Oregon Health and Science University. He started a clinic there for people with Parkinson’s and it’s the best around. “
It took forever to drive the 190 miles to my appointment there. When I arrived, I got another complete neurological work up by Dr. Amie Peterson. She listened carefully as I tried to recall all the symptoms, watched intently as she put me through the examination and concurred with the diagnosis…young onset Parkinson’s Disease. She sent me to the Occupational Therapist, the Physical Therapist and I had to laugh when I saw one of my own profession, THE SPEECH THERAPIST! All answered my questions and gave good advice.
AND I asked a billion questions, read books and articles, and saw videos of people in advanced stages of the disease and decided I JUST AM NOT GOING TO GO THERE! I have too much living to do.
I took my medicine, joined a Tai-Chi class, decided to learn to play blue grass music on the guitar, shot baskets on the my lunch break, kept my chin up and kept moving.
This story can go on and on…but the most important thing is that I have a chance to give back to a fantastic institution that has provided wonderful care…and pay it forward by raising some money for research so maybe the next 50 year old woman will hear “Yes, you have Parkinson’s Disease and we now HAVE A CURE”.

Cross training.

How does one prepare your body for the Camino.?

About 20 some years ago Charlie and I were day hiking on a glacier on Mt, Rainier when we met up with a group of 65 plus year olds base camped for a summit attempt that night. I was particularly interested in visiting with a woman in the group about her training. She commented that the best way to train is by ” doing it”. She walked several miles each day near her home. On weekends she hiked steeper and longer trails.

I believe this fits for the Camino. Now that I have experienced my round 1, I am cross training for Camino 2. Primary focus has been tilt the wine glass slowly towards the person pouring and smile longingly for a refill. Secondary focus is clanging a full beer mug in a toast to today’s walk with cheers around the table and not a drop spilled.

Day 1. 4 hours guitar playing. One beer
Day 2. One hour horse riding 1hour stretching. One wine
Day 3. Six miles walking 2 beers
Day 4 10 miles bike ride 2 whines

So, as you can see, if I continue on at this pace I will be a pickled pilgrim by April 26.