Michael J Fox, Billy Connolly and Jonathan Stevens have acquired the addition to their name of, "...who has Parkinson's disease". What does this mean? How much does Parkinson's redefine who we are?
It is easy for those on the outside looking in to view us as a disease and dress us in Parkinson's clothes. For those on the inside looking out, being defined either by others or indeed ourselves in relation only to Parkinson's is shifting the true centre of who we are. It's like taking a picture of us and noticing only the random person who happened to walk into the frame when the picture was taken.
Something of us stays the same with this disease; Michael, Billy and Jonathan are each still the person they were before diagnosis. Of course there are physical and emotional changes but being defined by these changes is substituting the whole for only a part of who we are.