Living with Parkinson’s Disease!

Living with Parkinson’s Disease!

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Welcome to Parking Suns – A Life with Parkinson’s Disease!

My name is Bruce Ballard.  I am 64 years old and a Professional Development Specialist at the Bronx Charter School for Better Learning.  I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD) in 2012, although I’d been living with the symptoms for a few years before that.

I started this blog after reading an article on the Michael J. Fox Foundation’s Facebook page.  The Fox web article (which, coincidentally, was published on Feb. 6, my birthday) included this sentence:  “Research suggests that writing, and editing, our own stories may help reduce stress and boost health.”

After I started this blog, I became enthusiastic about the positive role that “enriched environment” can play in the lives of people with PD.  So my blog aims to provide just that, focusing to a great extent on writing (including poetry), physical exercise, nutrition, art, music, humor, and research.

So click around and let me know what you think!  You can leave a message in the comments section below, or at the bottom of any blog post or other page.

A little more about me:

Although I was born in New York City, much of my life has been international.  May I check off the countries?

  • Mexico:  attended high school for three years in Mexico City.  ¡Olé!
  • The Netherlands:  worked in Amsterdam as a summer intern while in college.
  • Kenya:  served two months as a volunteer on a village project to build a maternity ward.  Best coffee ever.
  • South Korea:  taught English and trained teachers for five years, three of them as a Peace Corps Volunteer.
  • Japan:  directed a university Intensive English Program for three years in Japan’s snow country.
  • Canada:  competed in the 1990 Gay Games.  Didn’t win any races but came home with some swell T-shirts.
  • Mongolia:  directed a Peace Corps pre-service training program for four months.
  • The Marshall Islands:  same as Mongolia, only warmer weather.
  • Singapore, Thailand, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, Brazil, France:  took many business trips to these countries to teach corporate writing courses, train teachers, and teach languages.
  • Tanzania:  climbed to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro shortly after my 50th birthday.
  • Spain, the Philippines, Macau, Costa Rica, Australia, England, Indonesia:  strictly vacations.

I’ve devoted most of my professional life to studying and practicing the pedagogy known as “The Subordination of Teaching to Learning,” developed by an Egyptian mathematician named Caleb Gattegno (1911-1988).  Gattegno invented astounding techniques and materials for teaching math, second languages, and first language literacy.  I first met his approach as a Peace Corps Volunteer in South Korea, then I worked for Gattegno when I moved to New York.  My charter school was set up by some of his other colleagues to further his work.  To learn more about our school, click here.  I’ve also written posts on this blog about my school, which you can read by clicking here.

Two more items:  I’m married.  And my husband and I have two cats.

 

  1. EVELYN FOLEY
    Reply

    Praying for you Bruce!!!! Sending Archangel Raphael to help you;)

    1. bruce.ballard2010@gmail.com
      Reply

      Thanks, Evelyn, for the kind thought. Hope all’s well with you. – Bruce

  2. Paula Page
    Reply

    thanks for sharing Bruce

    1. bruce.ballard2010@gmail.com
      Reply

      Thanks for visiting my website, Paula. It’s always a pleasure to see/hear from you. – Bruce

  3. Henry
    Reply

    Thanks, Bruce. I look forward to reading the posts

    1. bruce.ballard2010@gmail.com
      Reply

      Hey Henry – Thanks for dropping by. It’s great to have your support. Hope to see you again here or on FB! – Bruce

  4. Arthur B. Powell
    Reply

    This is indeed a wonderful idea. I’ll check in from time to time to know what going on for you. You have my best wishes and support.

    ~ Arthur

    1. bruce.ballard2010@gmail.com
      Reply

      Hi Arthur – Looking forward to seeing you here and at school. Thanks for dropping by. – Bruce

  5. Barb Spedale Hungerford
    Reply

    Prayers! Chronic illness is such a bummer! I have a daughter with Lupus (systemic and skin) which also accompanies other tag a long illnesses (sjorgrens, chronic fatigue, joint pains etc etc) and my granddaughter was recently diagnosed with dermatomyositis (she is 10 years old and a very active competitive dancer)…BUT the key is “LIVING” with any illness…we all must make the best of the cards that were dealt…

    1. bruce.ballard2010@gmail.com
      Reply

      Thanks for writing, Barb. Yes – “living” is the word! Best wishes, Bruce

  6. Dan Holt
    Reply

    Thanks for all the ups and downs. I am on the ride with you.

    1. bruce.ballard2010@gmail.com
      Reply

      Thanks, Dan! It’s always a pleasure to hear from you. – Bruce

  7. Phyllis Wickman
    Reply

    Looking forward to reading this!

  8. Jim
    Reply

    We’re pullin’ for ya, Bruce. And quite the impressive site. Chal hesumnida!

    1. bruce.ballard2010@gmail.com
      Reply

      Kamsahamnida, Gov. See you again! – Bruce

  9. Samantha Valerio
    Reply

    This is fantastic, Bruce! I look forward to reading your posts.

    1. bruce.ballard2010@gmail.com
      Reply

      Thanks for visiting, Sam, and for the kind words. – Bruce

  10. Reply

    Nice job. Please check out my personal blog at pedalagainstparkinsons.com

    1. bruce.ballard2010@gmail.com
      Reply

      Hi CRaig! I visited your site. It’s very impressive – you touch on so many topics. Hope to see you again – Bruce

  11. Sherry Slutz
    Reply

    I was diagnosed with PD at 51 years old. I am by profession a Registered Nurse specializing in Oncology/Bone Marrow Transplant. At the age of 55 I had to go out oh disability giving up a career I loved.
    Thank you for starting this blog. Best wishes.

    1. bruce.ballard2010@gmail.com
      Reply

      Thanks for visiting, Sherry, and for the comment. I hope you are still enjoying life, even though you had to stop working. Please come back again. It’s nice having you on board.

      – Bruce

  12. James Morgan
    Reply

    Hi Bruce, Congratulations on the blog! We can all learn together. I look forward to reading your posts.

    1. bruce.ballard2010@gmail.com
      Reply

      Thanks for visiting, James! Let’s get together. – Bruce

  13. Beth Cypser
    Reply

    Dear Bruce – And here I thought that crepuscular (and twilight as well) only referred to that dim period in the evening after the sun sets. Little did I suspect that it also applied to that dim period before the sun rises in the morning. I also didn’t know that my cat had purpose….. just thought that she was randomly annoying when I wanted to sleep!!!

    My father has Parkinsons. I’m a big fan of physical therapy, having had it help me with some range of movement issues. After many years of dealing with his PD (he’s now 92), he finally went for his first session with a physical therapist just last week and — lo and behold, much to his surprise — the professionals had something beneficial to offer him. He’s quite please with the advice and exercises they recommended. He’s also doing Chi-Gong at home (with my mother who is 87) and says that it helps him with the Parkinsons. (Chi-Gong and Tai Chi are recommended by the National Parkinson Foundation.)

  14. Nan
    Reply

    Bruce- What a wonderful idea. I look forward to reading about your thoughts and experiences. You have always been a person with great communication (and people) skills. Buena suerte, mi amigo.

  15. Reply

    please take the time to check out my website

  16. Kris
    Reply

    How long did it take you to put together this site? I want one, too.

  17. Jennifer Schwarz
    Reply

    Hi Bruce – Your blog is wonderful! Thank you for this glimpse into your world! I really enjoyed myself looking around and will definitely be stopping by again!
    – Jen 🙂

  18. Beverly Tredray
    Reply

    Hi Bruce
    Having a fairly recent diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease (Sept. 2014), I am still coming to grips with its impact on my life now and in the future. I sincerely appreciate the positive and encouraging tone of your blog, as the first comment I saw on the page of another “support” group was “This group is a bunch of whiners!” I quickly logged off and have cautiously been looking for positive people to follow on this new path. Thanks!!

    1. bruce.ballard2010@gmail.com
      Reply

      Hi Beverly,
      Thanks for the nice note and the kind words. The thing with Parkinson’s disease is that (1) everyone travels a different path. Some people are hardly inconvenienced while others progress more quickly to where the difficulties are severe; and (2) the future is not so bad if you’re recently diagnosed, because there are so many treatment options. If you look around you can find many affirmative role models – Parkies who still run marathons, dance, write novels, etc. They’re the ones whom I seek out.
      Thanks again for your comments! Please visit often!
      Best wishes, Bruce

  19. patty oliver
    Reply

    Bruce, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog. I have had PD for approx 12 years. Continue your great work. It does help others and that is what it is all about. Take care!!

    1. bruce.ballard2010@gmail.com
      Reply

      Thanks for the support, Patty! It’s great to hear from you!

  20. jeanne
    Reply

    Can I receive your blog via email?

  21. Ines Figueiredo
    Reply

    My husband’s PD keeps me company and makes me look around and travel the internet. That’s how I learned about your book . I’m going to read it soon. This blog is wonderful. Congratulations!

  22. Reply

    Great Daily Writing Prompt: “Painting is poetry that is seen post, in a similar regard please read this article I came across today parkingsuns.com or Adrian . Thank you for sharing. [poetry writing websites]

  23. Reply

    Hey, fellow PD advocate and blogger here,

    Below is a link to my latest blog entry about the future of PD therapies, thought you might be interested in taking a look.

    https://tmrwedition.com/2017/03/23/the-future-of-parkinsons-disease-therapies/

    I have recently started collaborating with a number of research labs that are working towards bringing to practice some of the therapies mentioned in that article with the goal of one day bringing an end to this disease.

    I hope that my article might inspire people to keep fighting knowing that there are so many new and exciting therapies coming soon. Feel free to share that information with anyone who you think might benefit from it.

    Looking forward to what the future has in store,
    Benjamin Stecher
    tmrwedition.com

  24. Reply

    Hi Bruce,
    Just wanted to comment on what an awesome career you’ve had in service to others around the world. Congratulations and thank you for all you’ve contributed. I’m 62 and have been dealing with PD for 10 years. I’ve found that writing is the best way for me to stay positive and exercise the brain (and heart). Also, like you, physical exercise, nutrition, art, music, humor, and research are my medicines. Cheers, Catherine

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