I had another neurology appointment on Monday. As it stands right now, my neurologist is not sure exactly how to classify my disorder, but thinks we should start considering Parkinson’s Disease (PD) or diseases in the Parkinson’s-Plus family. In it’s early stages, PD is difficult to distinguish from other neurological disorders. This is even more true if one has early onset Parkinson’s (EOPD) because, in EOPD, 50% of the patients never develop the tell-tale Parkinson’s tremor. The good news, is that EOPD progresses at a far slower rate than if a person developed the disorder after 55, as is typically the case. So, as of right now, my neurologist wants to send me a specialist for a second opinion. This particular doctor specializes in Parkinson’s and Parkinson’s-Plus diseases. My neurologist also mentioned the possibility of a disease called Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) which is a Parkinson’s-Plus disease. However, she said that, while it is possible, she considers the odds very slim. She didn’t want to worry me (MSA is an ugly one) but she did want me to know that she was going to ask the specialist to consider it. She did say that we should not consider this a diagnosis because many neurological conditions don’t “settle in” to a point of being diagnosable for a while… sometimes up to a couple of years.
Our divine brother in suffering. . .
I have been reading the Psalms of Lament. These are especially meaningful to me when I wake up in the morning and feel the residual pain from the night’s muscle cramps and spasms.
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my help and my God!
On my lunch, I’ve been spending time in Isaiah. I have also come to appreciate the picture of Christ as the God who identifies with us in our suffering:
Surely he has borne our infirmities
and carried our diseases;
yet we accounted him stricken,
struck down by God, and afflicted.
Then, I think of the story of the Passion. I think of Christ’s prayer in the garden and His tears of blood in anticipation of bearing our infirmities and carrying our diseases
Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not my will be done, but your will.
and most of all, I spellbound by Christ’s death cry on the cross
My God! My God! Why hast thou forsaken me?!!
It is here where I come to see Christ as my divine brother in distress (to quote Moltmann). It is here, at His death cry that I know for certain that this is a God who understands me and who knows what it is to suffer.
It is also here, in Christ’s death cry, that I find the hope that I need to sustain myself. This is the Christ who carries the sick and the afflicted with Him to resurrection! This is the Christ who, during his life on earth, sought out the disabled and the wretched and healed them- not as a act of power, but as an act of mercy. My Jesus, my divine brother in my distress, is the only God who not only offers eternal life, but also offers a resurrected body! Even more, He does not offer eternal life in some incorporeal heaven, but offers eternal life on this earth in this body with these people whom I love so dearly!
Who is this God who works on behalf of those who wait on Him (Isaiah 64.4)? He is Christ my Lord- the God who does not view our suffering from afar, but rather, condescends Himself to take on human form and participates in our suffering. The God who suffers- our divine brother in distress. Our only hope of resurrection and the only chance we will ever get at immortality. This is my God and I will worship Him!
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