What does it mean to endure?

Dr. Osborne's journey with Parkinson's disease.
Aug 01, 2010

The theme of this month's Diagnote is endurance. How would you define the word endurance? What is encompassed by this term?

The Greek noun translated as endurance (hypomone) usually conveys courageous, steadfast or patient persistence that does not lose hope in the face of obstacles, adverse trials or persecution. It is the virtue that can transmute the hardest trial into victory because beyond the distress it sees the desired goal. The good book states it this way: "You have need of endurance" (Hebrews 10:36).

It is likely that all who read DVM Newsmagazine have faced, or are presently facing, obstacles that require a measure of endurance. Some of these obstacles can be readily resolved with the expenditure of comparably little effort. Other obstacles are persistent; despite an enormous amount of physical and mental effort, they cannot be resolved. They require sustained endurance.

What is Parkinson's disease?

Some of you may recall that I wrote about Parkinson's disease approximately three years ago. As I mentioned then, I learned in 1995 that I had Parkinson's disease, a progressive movement disorder. Please let me emphasize an important point. I have had Parkinson's disease for at least 15 years, but during that time, Parkinson's disease has not, does not and will not have me.

You may recall that Parkinson's disease is a slowly progressive neurodegenerative illness typically characterized by tremors, stiffness (rigidity), slowness of movement (bradykinesia) and difficulty with balance (postural instability). As in my case, not all people with Parkinson's disease develop involuntary muscle tremors. Symptoms of Parkinson's disease appear when there is insufficient dopamine in parts of the brain (e.g., substantia nigra). Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that allows neurons to transmit messages between each other and then to muscles, which, in turn, allows normal movement to take place. For reasons not yet completely understood, many of these cells die in people with Parkinson's disease. The remaining cells do not produce enough dopamine to permit normal muscle function.