It so nice to have a place to go and a mission to accomplish where I can go to just be Donna and not be defined by Ataxia. Crazy Acres in Ipswich, the farm where Denim is from, is one of those places. I volunteer there a couple times a week and when I’m there I am the “laundry-folder”, “supper-dish-preparer”, “dog-dish-washer”, “dog-cuddler”…Granted, I wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for my Ataxia but when I’m there, I don’t FEEL that is the reason I’m there. I’m there because I enjoy it there. I love what they do there and I want to help where I can. I love watching Denim run free in the arena. I love watching her stand up in the backseat of my car, tail wagging when she realizes where we’re going…
This is a video of me goofing off with my kids several years ago. Sometimes we all just take ourselves too seriously. We just need to be able to laugh at ourselves. We were being silly, not foolish. Both kids (my son’s behind the camera) were right there to catch me if I fell.
This post reminded me of this: http://pegoleg.com/2015/01/05/why-i-would-rather-try-to-find-the-funny-than-the-meaning-of-life/. It really made me think. It made me realize that we really can’t control everything that happens to us but that we can control our response. Sometimes we just have to laugh.
Oh yah, I could get all depressed over the fact that I used to be able to play basketball (well gave it a good try anyways) but that’s no fun. Wouldn’t it just be hysterical if a bunch of Ataxians played basketball together? When the Ataxians are laughing, and the non-Ataxians are laughing at the laughter, that’s just a bunch of people laughing and having fun together. All that laughter can bring anyone out of the doldrums of feeling sorry for themselves.
I want this to be a place where members of our support groups can write about our experiences with Ataxia and their family and friends can comment. I want others to get a feel for what we go through and for others dealing with this, to know they are not alone.
I try to give my life with Ataxia a positive spin and hopefully those that read it will come away with a feeling of peace, acceptance and hope. Sometimes I feel that this Ataxia can be so depressing but by writing about my feelings, in public, I force myself to look at the positives. I know I don’t enjoy reading about depressing thoughts and listening to people whine (which is so easy to fall into with this condition) so I wanted to write about something different.
My hope for this blog is that it brings further awareness about what Ataxia is while providing support for those that are dealing with Ataxia.
Hi, my name is Donna Gorzela. I grew up as Donna Bibeau in the city of Lawrence, Mass. I graduated from St. Mary High School in 1981 and then attended the University of Lowell where I received a BS(1985) and MS(1986) in Math. I then went to work for the MITRE Corp. and Dynamics Research. In the spring of 2000, I went out on disability.
In 1998, at the age of 35, I was diagnosed with Ataxia. I then went 13 years being of “unknown” type but now I know I have ARCA – 1.
I am very involved with my church and volunteer a lot of time there. I also spend time working on the Ataxia Group. Additionally, I volunteer at the farm in Ipswich where my service dog, Denim, is from. I am also a member of the Andover Commission on Disability. In my free time, I like to read, cook, take piano lessons and attend a pottery class. I love hand-building with clay as it is so forgiving when your can’t pull off “smooth”. I like going for walks around the neighborhood, hiking and riding my recumbent trike. I’ve also been known to participate in some more “adventurous” activities such as sky diving and zip-lining. I’ve also tinkered in watercolor and origami.
I want this to be a place where we can write about our experiences with Ataxia. I want people to know they are not alone. So I try to give my life with Ataxia a positive spin and hopefully those that read it will come away with a feeling of peace, acceptance and hope. Sometimes I feel that this Ataxia can be so depressing but by writing about my feelings, in public, I force myself to look at the positives. I know I don’t enjoy reading about depressing thoughts and listening to people whine (which is so easy to fall into with this condition) so I wanted to write about something different.
My hope for this blog is that it brings further awareness about what Ataxia is and provides support for those that are dealing with Ataxia.