THE BLOG

Dating With Disease

Note: This is my final piece in a series specifically meant to raise awareness of Young Onset Parkinson's Disease. April is Parkinson's Awareness Month. I encourage you to read this piece, laugh and share!

Match, eHarmony, Tinder, Christian Mingle, Plenty of Fish, Famers Only... Ahhh! Dating today is not for the weak. I've been stood up, threatened, wined, dined and all out lied to.

When I was in my 20s I went on a blind double date. The other couple both knew me, yet Mr. Goodlooking/Rocks for Brains never thought to ask one of them my name. So, I was called, "Honey," "Baby," "Sugarpie," "Sugarlips" and anything else he could think of, because he couldn't, "Say my name, say my name," like Destiny's Child sang about in the late '90s.

Then, there was a guy who played on his phone the entire date. So, to end the awkwardness I said, "I've probably talked your ear off, so I'm just going to go." Several days later, I had a 20-minute conversation with him that went like this: "You ended the date by saying you probably talked my ear off. If you know you talk too much, isn't that something you want to work on?!" In the nicest way possible, I explained to the egomaniac that shutting up was not on my to do list, and this relationship would not work out.

I've always hated dating, so when I was thrown into singledom, this time with a vulnerable child, I was apprehensive at best. Then, two months after the worse type of rejection, my divorce, I was diagnosed with a progressive, non-curable disease, Parkinson's.

This is how my first dates usually go. "Picture it, Sicily, 1925" (a Golden Girls reference)... err Houston, 2015... "Hi! I'm Allison." "Oh you do/don't have kids. That's nice." "You have/haven't been married? Great!" Oh, now it's time to listen to all your baggage, what you will/will not tolerate in a woman. Awesome! You actually want to hear my story? Okay, you asked for it! "Well, I was married for seven and a half years. We co-parent a beautiful little girl, whom I have primary custody. She's polite and respectful. I also am the proud parent to two rambunctious senior yorkies named after department stores, Saks and Macy. Yes, I went through an Elle Woods (Legally Blonde movies) phase!" Laughter ensues. Oh, that all sounds great? "Well, I think you should know, I have Parkinson's Disease." "Oh, you're not sure what it is, exactly?/Your grandfather had it?" "Well, it's a non-curable neurodegenerative disease that effects movement. So, I shake when I'm nervous or coming off my meds. But, on the upside, I'm on a medication called Mirapex, known on the street as Mirasex, as it can make you a sex addict." "Oh, I had you at Mirasex?!"

And that is my new reality of dating.

I try to conceal my symptoms the best way I can, sitting on my hand or taking a dose sooner than normal. But, then there are side-effects the meds give you like Levodopa, the standard PD med. It can cause dyskinesia, a twisting movement, right now in my left hand. I will probably soon begin taking Amantadine to combat the dyskinesia. Amantadine can cause purple legs. Purple legs are not hot! Purple legs do not get you asked out for date number two!

If you thought dating in your late 30s and beyond was difficult before, try dating with a disease!

Truth be told, for the first half of last year, I didn't believe anyone would be willing to spend the rest of their life knowing I had a degenerative disease. I mean, if I didn't already have enough baggage before, I thought certainly, no one would want me now.

Before, I receive lectures for comments, let me clear the air. I no longer have that philosophy. Since becoming physically stronger than I've ever been, I've gained mental clarity and a realization that even the most seemingly perfect of individuals have some sort of disease infecting them. Long before I had PD, I was infected with "fix-itis." If you were wounded I could fix you, or so I used to think. There are narcissists, commitmentphobes, and avoiders, gamblers, alcoholics and convicts. Then, there are the incurable, all out douchebags. Each of these afflictions are diseases. No one walks through life disease free. And while I eventually will die, possibly from complications due to Parkinson's, you may die tomorrow in your car with perfect physical health. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but no one is getting out of this life alive. So, the question really isn't why would somebody want me with a non-curable disease? Instead, we all should ask what diseases we're willing to overlook?

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