Margaret F. Moylan
I consider myself a creative person. I have always been interested in the arts, especially the performing arts.
In my former life - pre-PD - I was happiest when on stage, whether it was singing a solo in church or taking the lead in a play at our Little Theater.
I enjoyed these creative outlets, but once Parkinson's moved in on me, these outlets were blocked and sealed off. PD attacks the muscles that allow the vocal cords to function properly. The voice tends to get lower in volume and poor in clarity.
As PD gained the upper hand, he took over more and more of my life, eventually claiming my final outlet for creativity, my career as a high school English teacher.
I was forty years old and retired on disability. I began writing, scribbling things down in a blank journal that someone had given me and discovered fairly soon that it helped me to cope. Seeing my fears set down in black and white helped me to see them for what they were - just words - not big scary monsters in the night.
At some point poems started popping up in the journal. After I had submitted them to a few places and had some published, I felt a great sense of accomplishment - and a new avenue for creativity.
As I continued the poetry, I found myself writing a lot of poems of encouragement for people with chronic illness and poems about coping. When I received a phone call from a woman with MS who had read one of my poems and called to tell me it was exactly the way she felt, I realized my poem had made somebody feel better! What a great feeling! What a sense of the power of the written word!