One Parkie’s opinion about Linda Ronstadt

Can the newest celebrity Parkie (that’s how we Parkinson’s sufferers identify ourselves) Linda Ronstadt ever sing again?   According to experts, perhaps.

“Twenty years ago, speech therapy didn’t work for Parkinson’s patients. But now we know that voice treatment does work, but it has to be a specific kind,”Samantha Elandary, founder and CEO of the nonprofit therapy group Parkinson Voice Project in Dallas, told AARP.

Another expert quoted by the group’s website,  Dr. Zoltan Mari, interim director of the Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Center at Johns Hopkins University,  pointed out that vocal therapy can be effective though it is not clear if it could help a singer of Ronstadt’s caliber.

Ronstadt owes it to herself and her millions of fans to at least give these therapies a try. The singer, who made many hearts flutter during her heyday in the 1970s, seems to have been in denial about her condition for years.  it’s a shame. One of the reasons why she wrote her memoir “Simple Dreams” is that she’s broke because she can’t earn a living.

The question people with Parkinson’s, or any other chronic medical condition have to ask themselves is whether they will let it define them. Of course, it will to an extent. When people see me they always want to do know how I am feeling.  That’s perfectly natural and I don’t mind telling them that I have my good days and bad days.

But fighting Parinson’s is a battle, a marathon one.  I think myself as a mythic knight  doing battle with a dragon. My battlefield is the kickboxing gym.  Occasionally, it’s the weight room or the roads near my house.  The point is that I try really hard to keep the disease at bay by keeping my body moving.  I probably should exercise even more.

If I could sing like Linda Ronstadt (which I can’t), I would move heaven and earth to try to regain my voice if Parkinson’s took it from me. I hope she can find the strength to fight for what’s important to her.  Even if all she can manage is “Happy Birthday”, it will be worth the effort.



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