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Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway

Posted Dec 12 2008 3:42pm

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Photo of Kate Kelsall
Photo: Copyright © 2007, Deborah Fryer,

I was musically blocked.

A couple of weeks ago, I received a phone call from Janet, my accordion buddy. “Katie Sue, how are you?” was her familiar greeting.

Janet continued: “The Silver Notes are playing their accordions for a Parkinson’s support group on February 20, and we wondered if you would like to join us. We’re playing love songs.”

Initially, I hesitated. However, when Janet said that “you will inspire them by playing your accordion with Parkinson’s,” I melted.

I’ve haven’t seriously played my accordion since Deep Brain Stimulation surgery in May 2005. But now it was time. I hadn’t opened the accordion case for so long, I was afraid to look inside.

I had a lot of other fears when I contemplated playing the accordion with Parkinson’s:

• Fear of playing with dyskinesia (it’s like hitting a moving target)

• Fear of playing with bradykinesia (the opposite of dyskinesia with slow moving fingers)

• Fear of my brain’s slow processing of the music, which would result in a polka sounding like a waltz

• Fear of making a fool of myself

• Fear that if I could entertain with the accordion in public, then what other possibilities might be open for me.

At our rehearsal today, Janet wheeled my accordion inside and carefully took it out of the case. I had forgotten how heavy it was when I carefully put the straps on my shoulders. I played only with my right hand and let the other group members play the basses with their left hands.

And I became more determined than ever to follow Susan Jeffers' advice, and “feel the fear and do it anyway.”

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