I have been a songwriter for about 12 years. My Parkinson’s was diagnosed in Feb of 2009, however, my first symptoms were in Sept/Oct 2006. At that time, my songwriting kicked into a very high gear. Incredible hooks were just there. I began pursuing the craft like I have never done before. Going to Nashville every quarter to pitch my songs, attending every possible local songwriting event in AZ, networking like never before and writing some pretty cool music.
My husband was diagnosed with 4th stage small cell prostate cancer in Jan 2006. I was his 24/7 caregiver along with holding down a full time project manager job. I believe it was the stress I was experiencing at that time in my life that kicked off the Parkinsons. In October 2006, we moved to Columbia, SC to give my husband relief from the heat in AZ. He passed in Feb 2007. Now, here it is, almost Oct 2009. I am in the process of obtaining disability as my speech is very rapid and slurred, and impairs my ability to hold meetings via the phone or in person. There is also some seizures of the hands and there are days when the walking is a shuffle. Anyway, I am going to move back to Nashville, TN and write music full time.
The tremendous ‘push’ I gave to the music back in 2006 has paid off. I have my first cut of a song I co wrote with a Nashville writer. This is a major event for any songwriter. The CD is scheduled to be released in October of this year. I have also continued to slowly climb my way up this very high and steep mountain and am writing with writers that have major cuts. And let me tell you, talk about a fine line between genius and insanity.. these incredibly talented people are there..and damn, I fit in amazingly well..kind of scary really.
I feel so at peace with this decision. The finances will be tight, but hey, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are pretty tasty! I am driving to Nashville next weekend to pick out a rental home. As I pack up from my rental home here in Columbia, SC, I find myself purging so much stuff…the local Goodwill people wave as I drive up and the shredder is working OT. It’s almost like a cleansing of the soul. You know what I mean?
It was meant to be. My influence is my mother (who lives with me and is excited to be going back to Nashville). She was a songwriter, although she did not have a cut, she always made sure we had music in our lives. I learned accordion, self taught myself guitar and piano. In fact, your most recent article on drumming hit home as well. I was a professional drummer for many years! I found myself tapping out the paradiddles after I read your article the other night. It was soothing to the brain.
I find your articles most refreshing in that they hit home. I believe I was always ‘wired internally’ for Parkinson’s. Always needed less sleep than others, always about ’12 degrees off center’, always the ‘weird kid’, always not just thinking outside the box, but on some days ‘destroying the box’! It just found its way to the surface this year.
I continue with my challenges, but hey, it sure as heck beats the alternative.
Thank you for ALL that you do. You are truly an inspiration!!
A Parkie and proud of it!