10 November 2020

Miracles Happen

One of my readers recently sent me one of the most beautiful articles I've read in a while with information that might be helpful to those suffering from Parkinson's. Who would have ever thought Piecework Magazine might mention Parkinson's?!?

Knitting has long been known to help develop skills such as planning, risk-taking, patience and coping with mistakes that can carry into other aspects of life. Researchers now are finding that repetitive motion can help trigger production of dopamine, which would tremendously help those suffering from neurological disorders including Parkinson's.

When Lizard was first diagnosed with Parkinson's a little more than two years ago, I got him started coloring adult relaxation books (with tiny, exquisite drawings) with colored pencils. He said he could feel the activity making a difference in the way he felt. I had taught him to quilt a few years earlier, not realizing then some of the tasks he found tedious may have been hampered by undiagnosed Parkinson's. Many years prior, I had tried to teach him to crochet... on my 50th birthday! I had asked him to crochet for me for my birthday. He tried. He really tried. But he just could not manipulate the hook with his fingers. Now we know it may have been due to the undiagnosed Parkinson's.

Lizard became unable to color even simple drawings sometime last spring, and I've been trying to get him started, without success, again since his back surgery in August. He just didn't feel well enough, and he said he didn't have the patience.

One of my closest and most longtime friends was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time last month. Lizard pulled out his coloring pencils, and he asked if I had a coloring greeting card he could fill in with the pink pencils. I went through my stash and found one with a flamingo. Perfect!

It took him 10 days, but he finished it, and he said he felt better each time he colored, even though he couldn't sit still for long periods of time while coloring. This opened the door for me to try persuading him him once again to try coloring on a regular basis, as well as taking up quilting again, and perhaps even knitting, weaving or Spirograph...

Last week, Lizard asked if I will teach him to quilt again. My spirit is soaring!

We knew going into both December's knee surgery and August's back surgery that the trauma of surgery might cause the Parkinson's to get worse. That is exactly what has happened. Lizard is beginning to move around a bit more, and he's not in the unfathomable pain he endured for so many months. Learning anything new or picking up an old hobby is going to be a challenge, but goals are good, and enthusiasm blossoms when pleasurable activities are undertaken.

All that, plus this Piecework article, have made me wonder if perhaps one of the reasons I've had trouble with emotional resiliency this year might be because I lost my crochet time. I crocheted (or read or edited photos on my phone or just chilled) on every train commute. Working from home, I don't have a commute anymore. My commute time was devoted to my garden until our October 25 snowstorm. And now I'm realizing being home 24 hours a day is giving me more time for cooking and baking.

I love cooking and baking, too. I love making homemade, healthy meals for us. But it just doesn't provide the same calming warm fuzzies of crochet. (Or quilting. Or sewing. Or playing with photos in Photoshop...)

So, not only am I going to try to build some kind of crafting into Lizard's daily routine (and try to help him cheerfully stick with it even when he doesn't feel so great), but I've decided I'm going to try to set aside some crochet time each day. Even if only 15 minutes. I need to rebuild the habit, and I bet it will help me get through the difficult times.


  1. Getting some time to do what you want is a win, just gotta swing it. That is great that it can help him feel better by doing repetitive, enjoyable tasks.

  2. Hey, I recognize that photo! Oh for the happy days of 2013....

    Crochet is soothing for me too. I hope you can carve out that yarn time for yourself.

    And go Lizard! Here's to more coloring, drawing, and quilting for him.

  3. Oh man - I feel that this post just kinda hit the nail on the head!! out schedules have changed so much - you kinda forget that some part of it was relaxing and good for us. i Love that Lizard colored the card for your friend - what a keep sake!!! Hugs!! and here's to 15 minutes a day!


Dusty words lying under carpets,
seldom heard, well must you keep your secrets
locked inside, hidden deep from view?
You can talk to me... (Stevie Nicks)

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