Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A New Battle Against Parkinson's Disease

Well…I promised myself I’d do better at blogging as part of my New Year’s Resolutions with everything that has gone on …..Well, here it is January 28th and I’m just now doing a new blog entry…I hope better late than never.  I have so many reasons to keep this blog going, and I want to do better at it.  I’ve found every excuse in the book to stop typing on many days once the words started to become difficult to type.
Truth be told, I’ve started the blog post a few times…got past the first sentence and had too many tears in my eyes to want to continue the typing.  I realize everything is going to be a process…but it’s a “process” I don’t want to accept.  I ran across this Michael J Fox quote yesterday, “Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and there’s got to be a way through it  I’d ran across that quote before during the struggle of dad’s fight with Parkinson’s…accepting the diagnoses and finding a way through it…. Now the struggle is accepting the passing of my father and finding a way through it.  For those of you whom may not know, my father passed away losing his battle to Parkinson’s Disease on November 30th. 

That’s the day I wanted to scream, punch, yell, and kick a lot of people for no apparent reason (well a few can cross my mind can be for apparent reasons).  I suppose years of frustration was releasing itself at the question of “why”….why do bad things happen to good people, and so many bad people are “fine”.   I’m not turning it into a judgment statement, I’m just purely expressing my frustration at this god awful disease that took the life of my father entirely too early.  I still had so many things I wanted to share with him, to show him, to do for him, and get through this battle together.  There had been moments of being scared before for example, when dad got phenomena and we just “weren’t sure” he would be able to push through, and I just kept thinking…this is one of those moments, it isn’t real….he’s fought this too long, there can’t be an end!  I felt like a zombie ….it just didn’t seem “real”.  To be honest it still doesn’t seem “real”.  The outpour of support was more helpful than I could ever express.  Knowing how many people you are surrounded by during a difficult time helps with the “process” as it’s referred to.  Just knowing dad touched so many lives, influenced so many people, and hearing all the stories helps make the awful days easier.  Everything does happen for a reason, and I’m blessed to know those reasons have led me exactly where I am now.
At dad’s services I just kept feeling like everything was “OK”, different, but “OK”…it was a celebration of dad no longer suffering but giving a chance for so many to come together.  Many I hadn’t seen in years.  Everyone was telling stories, funny things, hilarious moments, laughs, (stories I probably wasn’t allowed to know as a kid have now surfaced to share a few good adult laughs) and so forth that it was ok to be happy he was no longer suffering.  God knows I missed him being there, but it was “OK”….

We had asked people (mom’s idea) to wear a shirt that may have been related to a memory they had with dad, shared in common with dad, etc.  It turned out better than we had expected, and a fun idea!  Many were in “Team Spangler” shirts, a shirt we created a few years back when we started to be very active in Team Fox and the activities we do raising money for Parkinson’s Disease Research fighting for dad.  Many wore their Sunday FunDay 5K shirts from this past year’s first 5K we hosted raising money for Parkinson’s Research. Dad coached many sports teams, different sports, different schools, different areas, teams, you name it, he probably tried it out at some point.  The cutest thing was a friend wore a Pennsboro High School jersey his dad wore when he played for my dad.  We got a good laugh now with curiosity how his dad could fit in it, but it was so neat to see.  One of dad’s former runners wore a shirt dad had wrote his “motivation” on for her, that she still had.  Many of dad’s friends from high school/college wore their Sherman Tide Pride and Glenville State pride.  It was so nice to see all of them there, and to meet several I’d never gotten to meet before.  But I assured them I had some good stories on them. 

I never want to feel “needy”…nor will I ever probably admit I need anything.  I am so fortunate to have surrounded myself in my life with the people I have.  I have friends I know I can count on without even having to ask (that’s a good thing, because I’m not good at asking).  Some were there all along helping pull together details to make dad’s Celebration of Life perfect. I had folks from my new job come, high school friends, and so many others that I know traveled a good ways, and gave up time in their day to stop, send notes, sends messages, cards, food, supplies and I just can’t express how much that means..  I was surrounded with surprises from New Jersey and Pittsburgh (might I add, It truly got a smile out of me that the baby wore the camo outfit I got as a joke for the “city” baby, in case he ever needed to come to WV) J to be there for me, and one who is horrible at keeping secrets and pulled a surprise coming from Dayton even wearing WV gear.  I am surrounded by an extended family thanks to Brock that has always been there and supported me through this journey.  Best of all I get to stand next to the best guy a girl could ask for.  Given, there are moments I am sure he’s clueless how to deal with me, I am too independent sometimes to a point I’m not good at allowing myself to need anyone, and he knows how to cross that boundary through my stubbornness and be everything I need him to be.  He has had some pretty high standards set to live up to as an example set by my dad, and I laugh at many moments at how much he reminds me of him, especially the food………ok..a lot with food. J
I have been in debate at what I want to do this year to honor my dad, and continue the fight against Parkinson’s Disease.  My dad has created a legacy and it is up to us to carry it on, influence others, motivate others, and continue to do amazing things.  I have really really really really (do you get the idea?) been debating doing the Rim to Rim challenge with Team Fox at the Grand Canyon…it has just really been on my mind.  My dad always wanted to go to the Grand Canyon and it just seems fitting.  I’m just debating if all my dreams and “to dos” are a little “irresponsible” financially with everything else I have planned to do this year. (Not to burst another blog entry sometime, but a wedding will be happening this year)  Mom and I will be making another trip to NYC this year for the Team Fox MVP dinner and get to spend an awesome weekend with our Team Fox Family after a difficult year; I think it’s important to surround ourselves with a reminder of what we are all about.  I’m still going to let myself debate it out a little bit, but maybe the Grand Canyon is still an option.  We will definitely be hosting our “2nd” annual Sunday Fun Day event this year again for Team Fox and hoping to make it 100 times bigger than last year.  We also will be joining in on The Fox Trot to be held in March Here in Charleston again that has been a huge asset to Team Fox thanks to another Parkinson’s friend.
I promise to keep better with the blogging, this was probably just the hardest one I Needed to get out there….I will often reflect on this more I’m sure….but “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”…and sometimes the first step is the toughest.
Thanks for all your support….we are going to make 2014 an amazing year! 


  1. What a beautiful post! Missy you're such a wonderful woman and you have such a big heart. I know how proud your dad must have been....and still is of you. Now you have one more angel to look over you on a daily basis. I think it is wonderful that you continue to honor your father year after year with marathon running, 5k events, and so much more. Keep up the awesome work! Oh yea, and don't be afraid to ask for help!!!

  2. We have not met, but I wanted to note how beautiful I found your blog. I started working with Team Fox after my diagnosis this past fall. As I began to network with other Team Fox members, i was struck by how so many amazing Team Fox members consider themselves just as much members of Team Spangler as Team Fox. It is clear that you and your family have had an amazing impact on the effort to cure PD and are the "heart and soul" of Team Fox. Thank you for your efforts. I hope we get to meet someday so I can thank you in person.

    1. Thank you for posting that. It really means so much and Team Fox is definety full of amazing people and if anyone can make big things happen it is all of us together on Team Fox :). Please let me know if there is anything I can ever do for you and I really hope we get to meet one day! :)