The following article is featured in the August issue of the Liahona. To read the full article, CLICK HERE.
My wife, Alice Mae, and I were serving as senior missionaries in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. We were in the next-to-last month of our mission when the degradation of my motor skills became too much to ignore. Following the advice of the mission doctor and nurse, I went to a local hospital.
I had an EKG and a CT scan. Then a neurologist met with me. She asked more questions and did more tests. Finally, to my surprise, she said, “Mr. Lemon, you have Parkinson’s disease.” It was not a diagnosis I expected, and it was certainly not a diagnosis that I wanted. But what could I do?
That was two years ago, and it started a process I have since grouped into four phases. I share them here hoping they may be helpful to others who are dealing with an unwelcome diagnosis. Here are some of the things I have learned.
1. Learn about the disease.
I searched online. I bought some books. I met with another neurologist. I wanted to know what impact Parkinson’s disease (PD) might have on my life span and ability to function. As I gathered information, I also prayed for guidance. I knew that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ would help me to get the information and medical help I needed. I learned that PD doesn’t typically affect how long you live, but it does affect what you can do. It progresses differently from individual to individual. It gets worse over time. It is not curable.
2. Adapt and reset expectations.
Once the shock of the initial diagnosis passed, I gradually began to realize the disease was not going to go away. My wife and I talked about our future and what it would mean if I were to lose some of my mobility. What would happen if I couldn’t drive or walk? In one tender moment when I posed those questions to my dear wife, she answered simply and without hesitation, “Then I will take care of you.”
To read the full article, CLICK HERE.