My left leg became limp in 1997. I gradually walked unsteadily. Soon I was diagnosed with PD.
It took me a long time to recover from the feeling of sadness. In 2002 I found a website called "Chinese Home for PD." I was deeply moved by this lovely space.
I began posting prose and poems, translating researches and news, telling stories of PD heroes, answering questions of other patients on this web. Soon I became the webmaster of the forum named "Heart to Heart."
I setup the Beijing PD club with doctors and my PD friends, which was the first one in China. We arranged activities and started a publication called 'PD Review' since 2003. In 2004, I called on and curate a PD art exhibition and composed a catalogue of the artworks.
Through art activities such as taking photographs, writing prose and poems, doing Tai Chi and swords, which make my acting more graceful and my steps balanced, I describe my inner self freely through creative work.
My confidence has been regained. I began paying attention to my looks and hairstyle, becoming interested in fashions, meeting former classmates, making new friends. Creative work makes me happy, and it makes both my body and my mind strong. I have never felt so confident. I even had a feeling that I became more intelligent than I was before. It is surprising but it's true.
The only explanation is that the creativity heals my depression. I enjoy all the fantastic surroundings and procedures of art work. When I put myself into work I feel peaceful with my soul, perfect harmony in my spirit, and I become even-tempered and good-humored. How wonderful and splendid life is! I almost forget all about my PD.
There are always problems. I can never play violin and accordion again because of my stiff and numb left fingers. They used to be my favorites.
I enjoyed roller-skating, ice-skating and traveling around in a car but now I do not. They do not suit me anymore. Not only because of stiffness, trembling, numbing, imbalance, weak and slow motion, but also involuntary movement, vomiting, low blood pressure and other side effects of meds.
Whenever I am in car for a few minutes I just feel awful. I have no choice with my status. It is decided by my medications. The effect can be quite different from time to time. When I was dancing with a group of people, I suddenly became slow and weak and lost my balance. Here comes my "off" time! I had to step aside and watch others. It might be because of bad weather, who knows. I could do nothing but wait for the on-time.
On the other hand, PD has greatly changed my values. I began focusing most of my camera lens on the disabled, laboring workers, patients, and old people. I realize how difficult their lives are. People sometimes stare at us strangely, as if we are ET.
I have many PD friends, some patients I know are very poor, they live with very little money, and some patients have no medical insurance, nor do they enjoy public health service and medical care, they cannot afford medications which are mostly very expensive. I deeply worry about them.
I concern myself and try to represent their difficult living conditions through my work, hoping to attract the public's attention to help and care about them. This was the reason why I made the exhibition themed "Life and Arts of People with PD" on April 11, 2004 in Beijing.
Briefing of work:
Since I got PD, my activities have been narrowed into very limited areas. This group of photographs reflects common people and the life around me. They are my close neighbors, manual laborers outside my windows, passers-by, retired people, students in a band, Tai Chi masters, sword-dancers, daily life on campus, and happenings downstairs, which I observe every day. They are just by my side. I am familiar with them.