When the World Parkinson Congress in Portland closed back in September, I was excited about the wonderful experiences I had, the great people I had met, and some potential new projects. However, I was also in need of a break from focusing on Parkinson’s Disease. Fortunately, an increased medication dose and a near void of any significant workplace stressors eliminated most of Parkinson’s impact on my life. So, with minimal symptoms and no major responsibilities or expectations – I fell off the Parkinson’s promotion grid and tried to spend my time on family needs and my non-PD related hobbies.
One of my endeavors was to start playing soccer again. Over the past decade, since “retiring” from coaching my daughters’ youth teams, my soccer experiences have been limited to occasional parking lot kick-arounds as Eagleman.
With an abundance of organized soccer in Portland, including an over-50 league, I was excited to return to the pitch. My club choice was obvious. Old Growth FC is affiliated with the Portland Timber’s supporter’s group and a true underdog, without a single win over the last few seasons. After a couple months of physical therapy to rehab the knee that had kept me from running for over a year, I turned out for the season’s last game. Almost immediately, I reinjured the knee and end up on crutches for the next few days. Not to be defeated, two months later I enjoyed an injury-free game as goalkeeper in a US supporter’s club event with the legend, Landon Donovan, as one of my teammates. The next week, I returned to the field for my club. My knee did fine, but ten minutes into the game I ruptured my plantar fascia (ligaments in the arch of the foot) and was back on crutches.
Now, six weeks later I’m finally walking normally, but still a month or so away from any running. Although I’m determined to return to soccer. this latest set-back has allowed me to return to swimming and plan my next travel/exercise adventure. For this year’s World Parkinson’s Day on April 11th, I’ve decided to pursue a short 6 day trip that will allow me to achieve 3 major travel goals:
Explore Taipei - making Taiwan the 124th country I've visited.
Swim a mile in Palau - making it 3rd on my list of 11 “Swim the Pacific” countries.
Tour International Stadium Yokohama, Japan – leaving only 2 more World Cup finals sites to visit.
In the coming weeks, I look forward to sharing my experiences and reengaging with many of the wonderful people in the World Parkinson’s Community!!