Despite my Parkinson’s I can still think and learn and be challenged by ideas. By attending the class I am on a cognitive incline. I gain great pleasure in learning and questioning my preconceptions and expanding my mind.
It is possible (i.e. not certain) that my Parkinson’s will cause cognitive problems. Even if this happens in the future, I still have my cognitive abilities now and I’m determined to use them now.
If I do suffer cognitive problems I think it is emotionally unhelpful to describe it as a decline. Just as my art class is causing me to climb towards an answer, the same will happen if I have cognitive problems; I will have to climb up a cognitive incline to get to an answer.
A lot of focus in Parkinson’s is on what is taken away by the disease because this has the greater emotional impact. But little attention is paid as the disease progresses to what remains in place. There is disability within Parkinson’s but little talk of ability within Parkinson’s; this is important to acknowledge because our remaining ability can be used to help us develop ways to alleviate the disability.