The sky was a perfect shade of gold ahead of me. Driving up Rieth Ridge on I-84 west out of Pendleton I knew what I was in for. Twelve years of commuting to work had taught me about the beauty and challenges of driving into sunrises and sunsets. Arriving at the top of the ridge the gold reflection of that sun would hit my bug smattered windshield. It was going to be more challenging to see.
But I did see. I looked at the huge golden sun as it dipped into the horizon There, those dark mounds, my mountains, the volcanoes of the Cascade Range. Far left was Mt Hood, its triangular summit reaching towards the heavens.And directly ahead I saw the first mountain I climbed. Mt Adams. Loved it so much I had to do it again. Slightly North I saw Mt Rainier and recalled one of the coldest and most magnificent nights I ever spent out doors, our tent dug into the snow at 10,000 feet, glaciers glowing white in the full moon.
Today was a golden day. Some time spent with friends. A day when I drove my car by myself with music blaring. Driving on familiar mountain roads that in times past had lead me to skiing, hiking and work locations The hillsides were green, the greenest richest green that breathes of new life. The sky was an indescribable hue of blue The snow covered Wallowa Mountains in the Eagle Cap Wilderness were still white capped, as their descriptive name.
My friend and cycling buddy Mike Fahning often signs off his Facebook posts in gratitude “I am a lucky man”.
And I feel now, more than I have felt in the last 10 years, that I am a Golden Girl.
This Golden Girl has incredible fortune in for which she expresses immeasurable gratitude. I left the Golden Girl behind while I worked on accepting this diagnosis of Parkinson Disease.
And now, I feel the Golden Girl return. Its starts in small ways. A fingers moving on guitar strings, smiling and laughing and gesturing, speech with volume and vocal inflection to tell a story, jogging down the long hallway in our house, driving my car for 4 hours and not needing a nap…And grows larger, saying hard things with a heart full of love rather than anger, fear and anxiety, staring into the face of truths past and future, sobbing desperate tears, turned into screaming then talking and then laughing with God who has been waiting awhile for that Carol who had those emotions so strong, but so ok, to share them.
My first programming session:
Dr Hiller asked me “What symptom do you want most to get rid of?”
Can you imagine that? Being able to choose a malady that has been with you for 8 -10 years and have it be gone in the blink of an eye!
What medication do you no longer want to take? uh, no brainer….the one that causes obsessive compulsive behavior and addictions to gambling, sex, drugs and alcohol. Ropinerole Doc. Ropinerole, its awful.
I return in 5 days to face these questions. Adjustments will be made and different amounts of current will be sent to the active probes and maybe even more activated. And again, I will leave Portland a different person, changed from who I have been for these past long years.
I am a Golden Girl.. I am incredibly fortunate. I am so grateful.
I may never climb those peaks again, or sleep in a tent dug into a snowy mountainside. And if I never drive that road again with the music blaring, It doesn’t matter. I have this wonderful glorious magnificent opportunity to return to some level of “normalcy”.
I am a Golden Girl.