Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Coming Out

Sometimes you get a diagnosis that doesn’t particularly please you. Often you have to live with it for a while before you can begin talking about it with others outside of your immediate circle. Until you have to come to fully accept the inevitable, you are “in the closet” with your disease. Eventually, however, you have to come out and share the news with others such as extended family, co-workers, friends, etc.

About two and a half years ago I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. I didn’t tell anyone but my wife for most of that time. Why? I assume it was because I had to come to grips with this disability before I could be comfortable talking about it. I was also afraid that people would stare, looking for tremors and other signs of the disease.

The good news is that this disease came later in life, it’s still early stage, and the symptoms can be controlled with relatively small doses of medicine for now. Also it is affecting only one side of my body, and it’s not affecting my dominant side. It could be a lot worse.

This Sunday I “came out” to my congregation and shared my diagnosis. I feel better now, not because it was some deep, dark secret to be ashamed of, but because now I have many more people supporting me through prayer and emotional support. I should have revealed my malady sooner, but I just wasn’t ready.

I would appreciate your prayers, and also please support those who have a disease that isn’t going away, such as Parkinson’s, MS, spina bifida, Tourette’s, ALS, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and some forms of cancer, to name a few. Many of these diseases mean lifestyle changes, limitations, and other symptoms you’d rather not have to deal with. I now have a new appreciation regarding what people with disabilities have to live with. But I know with God’s help I, and other like me, will be able to cope. The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:11b, 13: For I have learned to be content with whatever I have... I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (NRSV) Do you believe you can do all things thru him who strengthens you?

God, through the Apostle Paul also wrote in Philippians 4:4-7: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (NRSV) Do you have the peace that surpasses all understanding?

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