High Days and Holidays; Birthdays and Boycott Days

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(c) 2016 Edward C Lunnon: Physical: Adv CBD / Mental: Adv CBD

My blog site has been quiet for a long time now. That means that all is not well in the State of France! Nor in the State of South Africa and Not in the United States. Nor in the state of Ed!

We are all familiar with the terrorist attacks in France and Je Suis Charlie and all the subsequent terrorist attacks. In South Africa, we are currently dealing with student boycotts, fees must fall, university closures and police brutality and racism. In the USA, it’s all about Hilary and Donald – another Clinton and who holds the Trump?

I tore a tendon in my ring finger some four months ago. Two months of care has followed, an operation and a further two months of rehabilitation.

Despite celebrating my 60th birthday in September, and having my family and some friends with us, I am battling the physical and mental demons of my illness.

Ten years into my illness, I have lost so much. My job, my holiday house, my company, my self-esteem, my bank balance, my driver’s licence and now my car and my independence!

The biggest loss, psychologically, has been my car. Being in the car business, Sean sold off my X-Trail. It has gone to St Francis Bay and I hope it accumulates many happy kilometers there. But with it has gone the remnants of my self, and, I must admit, I am struggling with this one. Thank God for Uber taxis!

I am struggling with the physical deterioration of my body and the many pills that I have to take daily, just to make me “look so good !”for all of you. My memory is nowhere and my mood swings become greater. I’m shaking like a tree in the Caribbean  Hurricane Matthew. Every day is a High Day!

My eyesight has become problematic, and my reading ability becomes more and more difficult. To crown it all, that which I do see, I see in double and triple vision. Please God, just one good image and not three poor ones will suffice! We take so much for granted when we are healthy.

My sister battles her own health demons and we take strength from the courage, fortitude and determination that she displays each and every day. We pray for her and all others who battle cancer and disease.

Holidays are no longer what they used to be and the disintegration of the “nest” has happened to us too now. The High Days are only the high days now!

I am struggling to control my brain. I know there is so much for which to be grateful, but tell my brain that …

I am struggling.

In the words of the student protesters, “The Struggle Continues”!

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Muhammad  Ali

Last night, I watched Ali’s funeral in Louisville, Kentucky, USA. – his place of birth.

I guess it was an extraordinary thing to do on a Friday night, but then Ali was an extraordinary man. As I listened to eulogy after eulogy, speech after speech, more compliments after more compliments, Presidents after actors, family after friends, I became aware of a man about whom I actually knew very little.

I knew he was a boxer.

I knew he changed his name from Cassius Clay to Muhammed Ali.

I knew he had converted to Islam.

I knew he had Parkinson’s Disease.

I did not know so much of this extra-ordinary man.

I learned so much last night. I hope you don’t mind me sharing …

~ Ali’s long struggle with Parkinson’s Disease

Muhammad Ali is being remembered not just for his legendary boxing career and his inspiring public persona, but also for the dignity and grace with which he battled Parkinson’s disease over the last three decades of his life.

He was first diagnosed with the degenerative disease in the 1984, three years after he retired from boxing.

Repeated blows to the head during his time in the ring are believed to have led to his later health problems. Ali’s physician, Dr. Dennis Cope, spoke about his condition in a “60 Minutes” interview in 1996.

“[Ali] has had a development of what’s called Parkinson’s syndrome. And from our testing on him, our conclusion has been that that has been due to pugilistic brain syndrome resulting from boxing,” Cope told CBS News’ Ed Bradley.

“All of our testing has indicated that his cognitive function, his ability to think clearly, to understand what’s going on, to really analyze situations hasn’t deteriorated at all,” Cope added. “His mind is fine.”

Muhammad Ali lights the Olympic flame

Muhammad Ali lights the Olympic flame during the 1996 Summer Olympic Games opening ceremony in Atlanta, July 19, 1996. AP PHOTO

But the disease took a visible toll on his body. Ali developed a tremor and speech became increasingly difficult.

When he lit the Olympic flame at the start of the 1996 summer games in Atlanta, his hand shook as he held the torch high.

Ali looked increasingly frail in recent public appearances, such as the event in October 2015 when he was honored by Sports Illustrated at The Muhammad Ali Center in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky, along with former opponents Larry Holmes and George Foreman.

Sports Illustrated Tribute To Muhammad Ali At The Muhammad Ali Center

LOUISVILLE, KY – OCTOBER 01: Larry Holmes, Muhammad Ali, and George Foreman attends the Sports Illustrated Tribute to Muhammad Ali at The Muhammad Ali Center on October 1, 2015 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Stephen Cohen/Getty Images for Sports Illustrated)

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Left to right: Larry Holmes, Muhammad Ali, and George Foreman attend the Sports Illustrated Tribute to Muhammad Ali at The Muhammad Ali Center on October 1, 2015 in Louisville, Kentucky. STEPHEN COHEN, GETTY IMAGES FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED

But despite the illness, his wife Lonnie Ali said the three-time world heavyweight champ never felt sorry for himself.

“He’s not one who says ‘why me?’ He’s a real champion,” she told CBS Phoenix affiliate KPHO last month. “I learn every day from this man: the courage, the strength and the grace that he lives with his illness. For most people, it would put them in bed and put covers over them. They would give up. He does not stop. He continues to live life and that’s very important.”

Before his death on Friday, Ali was hospitalized with respiratory problems, his condition complicated by advanced Parkinson’s.

Here are some questions and answers about Parkinson’s disease:

Q: What is Parkinson’s?

A: Parkinson’s is a neurologic disease that robs people of control over their movements. It typically starts with tremors, and is characterized by slow movement, a shuffling gait, stiff limbs, balance problems and slurred speech.

Q: Who gets it?

A: About 1 million Americans are living with Parkinson’s, and an estimated 4 million to 5 million people worldwide, according to the National Parkinson Foundation. It usually appears after age 60, although sometimes it can develop before age 40.

Ali was 42 when he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 1984. The actor Michael J. Fox was diagnosed when he was just 37.

Q: What causes it?

A: The exact cause isn’t known but Parkinson’s develops when cells that produce one of the brain’s chemical messengers, called dopamine, begin to deteriorate and die. Dopamine transports signals to parts of the brain that control movement. Parkinson’s symptoms appear after enough dopamine-producing cells die that there’s too little of this neurotransmitter in the brain.

Q: Is there a cure?

A: There is no cure but there are a range of treatments, from medications that affect dopamine levels to a surgically implanted tremor-blocking device. Patients also can benefit from physical and occupational therapy.

Q: What’s the prognosis?

A: Symptoms worsen over time, usually slowly. The severity of symptoms, and how quickly they progress, varies widely between patients. In advanced cases, people may be unable to walk or care for themselves. They also can suffer non-motor symptoms, including depression and memory and other cognitive dysfunction.

While Parkinson’s itself isn’t considered fatal, people can die from complications of the disease.

Q: What complications are of most concern?

A: Lung problems are a risk as muscle weakness impedes the ability to cough and to swallow. While any kind of pneumonia can occur, what’s called aspiration pneumonia — when bits of food or liquid land in the lungs instead of being swallowed properly — is the leading cause of death among Parkinson’s patients, said National Parkinson Foundation medical director Dr. Michael S. Okun.

CBS/AP

PS ! 

CBD, which is the illness with which I have been diagnosed, is also an extra-pyramidal Parkinsonism syndrome. It is normally a faster moving life-limiting illness with death resulting from pneumonia within three to five years.

I have now been ill for nine years and nine months since I first became aware of the Parkinsonism symptoms.

I Cried a Tear

(c) 2015 Edward C Lunnon
8 years 8 months ill …
Physical: Advantage CBD / Mental: Deuce

The best of times … the worst of times!

It’s been a difficult few weeks: Earthquakes in Nepal, Murders in Port Elizabeth, Xenophobic attacks around South Africa, load-shedding in the country, pain in my leg and bum, my last radio talk with Lance on AlgoaFm, … the list continues.

It has been a difficult time for me – both physically and emotionally. I promised myself that I would not allow myself to become emotional on air last week, but I did! I cried that tear!

The CBD not only takes your body away from you – it also robs you of your ability to work and hence your job, your livelihood, your assets, your friends, your social life, your personality, your memory, your driver’s licence, your being … the list continues!

Hidden away among the hype, the “skinder” and the rallies of the Port Elizabeth Jade murder last week, has been the ground-breaking court case in Pretoria related to assisted death (euthanasia) for people who suffer from life-limiting illnesses.

It is an emotive subject. One that will divide the population.

Thou shalt not kill!

Is it OK to call for the death penalty in the case of murder, but not assisted suicide in the case of severe illness and pain?

I must admit – I have cried a few tears this week.

It’s time to face the world again.

Cry Freedom!

8 years 8 months ill …

(c) 2015 edward c lunnon

imagine the scene last monday

freedom day in sa

on the hill … overlooking algoa bay

gathered on the donkin a crowd

all come to shout it out loud

it’s all such a pity

please heal our city

enough is enough

we want our freedom

and vincent swanepoel sang 

the most spine-chilling rendition of

no longer slaves

listen here

https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=XxkNj5hcy5E

ED is in wED (finale) – 29 April 2015

(c) 2015 Edward C Lunnon

8 years 8 months ill …

Physical: Advantage CBD / Mental: Advantage Ed

  

It was the worst of times. It was the best of times.

It was round about March of 2010. I had been ill for 3 years.

Lance and I met at the Mugg and Bean at Greenacres and discussed the possibility of  doing a radio interview regarding my illness. I had been told that in 2010, three years into my illness, I could expect to become severely incapacitated and that, in all probability, I would die within the next two years.

So, we had our first interview on Wednesday 31 March 2010. The rest, so they say, is history.

Fast forward the clock. 260 interviews later.

I am not yet dead – nor am I severely incapacitated.

Algoa Country, the broadcast area, has got bigger to include the southern Cape and places like Plettenberg Bay,Knysna, George and Mossel  Bay. Together with the Border, the Eastern Cape, the Karoo … the listeners have increased across the country, on the air and online. The number of readers of my blogsite, which I commenced at the same time as our interviews, has increased from zero to just short of 200 000 hits.

I have in a small way been able to raise awareness about my illness, in particular,but in general about living life with whatever the hand is that is dealt to one. ED is in humblED by the reaction of the public and the support and assistance that he has received over these years. 

ED is in wED, yes, for one last time this coming week, but ED is also in blessED.

I am thankful and grateful to Lance du Plessis who believed in me from that first meeting, and who  has supported me and kept me talking behind that microphone during these last five years.

Thank you to AlgoaFM for allowing me those ten minutes every week. Judging by the response that I have received over the years, you cannot imagine how many lives have been touched across Algoa Country.

To the AlgoaFM colleagues who have met me in the passage, chatted to me and encouraged me, thank you for your support and encouragement. I shall miss you all. To Tove, Briony and KayCee, who have also at times interviewed me, thank you for your time and encouragement, too. Daphne, at the front door, always with a smile and a good word –  I shall miss that friendliness ever Wednesday morning!

Yes, it will be quite a change when from next week, I will wake up on a Wednesday and not have to think about the radio or the listeners. As my niece and nephew, Sebastian and Michelle, refer to me, the “radio man” is in retirED!

Thank you to all of you who have listened to me talking to you from the studio, my bed, London, Dublin, Phuket’s massage beds and the length and breadth of our beautiful country. It was only on one occassion, in the Western Cape’s Cederberg, that we were totally prevented from having our talk due to lack of reception!

You, the listeners, have listened in our homes, your offices, your cars, your favourite picnic stops, your forecourts, wherever … thank you for listening!

Thank you for listening, for sharing, and for caring!

We have seen and experienced and discussed numerous events over the last five years. We have seen the best of times and the worst of times. We have seen the best in people and the worst in people.

May I continue to encourage you to  Live Life each and every day. I invite you to continue accompanying me on my journey, however long or short that may still be, by reading my blogs on this site, http://www.edlunnon.wordpress.com or http://www.edlunnon.co.za.

I thank you for allowing me into your homes and into your lives.

Nkosi Sikelel’ iAfrika!

Don’t call me … I’ll call you

  

http://youtu.be/xERJ6TneF10

(C) 2015 Edward C Lunnon

8 years 7 months ill …

Physical: Deuce / Mental: Ed

ED is in wED for just three more weeks. Then, to quote the late Nelson Mandela, “I will be retiring from retirement”!

My weekly talks each Wednesday at 10h30 with Lance du Plessis on AlgoaFM will cease on 29 April, five years and 1 month after our first talk at the end of March 2010. I will have been interviewed 260 times.

The purpose of our initial discussion was to raise awareness about neurological illnesses. I retire in the knowledge that we have achieved that, but only too aware that it is but the first stepping stone in a lengthy pathway littered with many obstacles.

As long as my illness allows me, I will continue to write … And I hope that you and many others will continue to read!

Green Green Grass

(c) 2015 Edward C Lunnon
8 years 4 months ill …
Physical: Advantage CBD / Mental : Deuce

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Physically, this week has seen the most dramatic and quickest changes in my health. There have been short jabs of pain in my gluts, weak legs, shallow breathing, muscle spasms in my left calf muscle and the crossing over to my right hand of the telltale signs of the ever-increasing paralysis in the extremities of my limbs. On a few occasions I have had to grab on to a bed or piece of furniture or the wall to prevent myself from slipping to the floor.

It comes in a week when Stilnox is on everyone’s mind … Pun intended! It is a sleeping tablet and was featured last week on MNET’S Carte Blanche as a Lazarus Pill! It has also been used in a number of cases of neurological illnesses and brain damaged patients with miraculous effects.

There are also continuing discussions on the efficacy of the use of grass (marijuana) in cases of neurological illnesses.

The question of course now is have you or have you not, and will you or will you not?

Stilnox also comes in a week when a number of our friends are receiving chemotherapy and radiation and whatever other treatments are required by Cancer patients. It is the first time that I have experienced Cancer in people who are so close to me and the closest the disease has got to me. I remain in awe as to the aggressiveness and ugliness of the disease and to the braveness and positivity of the people who have to face this scourge and do battle against it.

It’s like pouring poison into the body to kill of the Cancer cells and is so different to the neurological illnesses that I and many others have to face.

It reminds me of our lawn and trying to keep it healthy and well nourished and green and weed-free!

Let me explain:

In our cases of neurological illnesses, the weeds appear in the lawn as do the faults in our brain. There is no poison, no weed killer, no nothing that can be sprayed on or applied to kill the weeds (Maybe Stilnox?). The lawn is just left! Eventually, sometimes quickly and sometimes slowly,the weeds take over and kill the grass.

With cancer, various weed killers are applied to the weeds. For some, the lucky ones, the weeds are killed permanently and the grass flourishes once again.

For others, not all the weeds are killed, and it becomes a continuous and on-going battle to keep the weeds under control. The weeds keep re-appearing and the poison is sprayed over and over again.

And for a few, the weeds are killed off only to reappear sometime in the future and the whole process has to be applied once again!

My thoughts and prayers and good wishes go to all our friends, acquaintances and readers and listeners who battle to tend their gardens at this time!

Sleep in Heavenly Peace

(C) 2014 Edward C Lunnon
8 years 4 months ill …
Physical: Advantage CBD / Mental: Deuce

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I started blogging some four years ago, primarily in order to reduce my workload in answering individual notes to me enquiring about my health and what I was doing to occupy my time.

It also became a vehicle to raise awareness about my illness, corticalbasal degeneration.

Little did I know then the amount of work that I was creating for myself!

But I am so grateful for the opportunities that have arisen from my writing, the friends that I have encountered, the new acquaintances that have been made, the speeches that I have delivered, the radio ramblings that Lance and I have been involved in and the awareness that has been created.

I am humbled that as we go into 2015, this blogsite is heading towards 200 000 hits.

Yet, as the figure goes up, I am also too aware of how much lonelier the path I walk becomes.

I was originally told, way back in 2007, that I would most probably depart this earth round and about 2012!

The interim years remind me of the frenetic pace that accompanies the preparation for undertaking international travel. And I have been extremely fortunate in doing so much of that!

In terms of travel, it’s the tickets, the passports, the visas, the currency, the bookings, the packing., and so on! Everything has to be just in place with no room for error.

In terms of facing death, it’s the policies, the insurance, the bank, the will, the house, the legal stuff, the funeral, the doctors, the family, the finances, the personal matters of the heart and soul, and so on! Everything, too, has to be just in place.

And, you know the feeling, when you arrive at the airport, rush through the check-in counter, then through passport control and into the waiting area of the departure and transit lounges. You sink into a chair, your luggage has been taken from you, a weight is lifted from your shoulders, not a care in the world, you hope like hell that everything has been taken care of, and if not, so what?

You watch, and wager and wait. Watch the crowds mill past, watch the wares on display in the various stores, wager your last few coins of local currency, and wait for your flight to be called.

You can’t go back from whence you have come and you can only think about the place you are going to!

If you are traveling alone, it’s a long and lonely wait. Despite being surrounded by a crowd of milling people, you are there by yourself and it becomes a lengthy wait!

And I have been waiting now for eight years and four months. The eight years have been a breeze that I have been blessed to experience.

My blogs document much of this period of my life. Thank you for allowing me to share this time with you.

The last four months have been increasingly more difficult. I am trying as much as possible to continue sharing these days with you, too. Unfortunately, my thoughts don’t always make it to my fingers and my fingers don’t make it to the keys! But thank you, too, for the words of encouragement and the acts of support in assisting me to share my time with you.

This is my ninth Christmas in the transit lounge. My body is growing tired of waiting, and I hope you will understand when I say that I am increasingly looking forward to that time when , at last, my flight will be called. My destination becomes increasingly more attractive. I long for the waiting to be over.

My wish to all of you this Christmas time – before you get to the transit lounge – is that you may discover your route in this life and know where your destination is, that you will continue to enjoy the trip and make the most of the hours given to you, and that you will sleep in Heavenly Peace.

“We regret to announce that Flight 777 to Heaven has been delayed yet again. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may have caused.”