My first symptoms were: slowness in writing and my writing becoming smaller. I’m right–handed and I began holding my left hand over my right hand to control the mouse & no matter how many times I tried to stop it kept going back.
My movement started to change too. I began to walk a bit funny like I had a limp on my right side. My back also became very stiff in mornings.
I knew the minute I googled my symptoms that I had Parkinson’s Disease, but I couldn’t bear a 14 month wait for NHS diagnosis. So, I paid to be diagnosed privately (or rather my parents did) when we realised the waiting list was so long.
Even though I knew deep inside I had Parkinson’s, it was still a huge shock to be officially diagnosed. My active body now to be invaded and compromised every day. But for any of you that know me, I rarely sit down, and I remain defiant in that I will keep moving, through gritted teeth if I have to!
Being an open person has really helped me with ‘coming out’ with my diagnosis. I actually decided to set up a Birthday Facebook Fundraiser to raise money for Parkinson’s Care and Support UK as a great way to get my story out to all my friends and family! It made it easier for me to tell them my news and much easier to talk about it afterwards. Everyone was super nice, and I raised over £2000 for the charity, which was a bonus!
I live in West Sussex in a lovely village called Cuckfield near Haywards Heath. I’m married with 3 kids, a dog and a 4 day a week job and so life for me is very busy! However, people with Parkinson’s always say ‘exercise and just keep moving’ and this is what I have been doing. Since diagnosis I received a GP referral to my local gym and do 2 gym upper body workouts and one live body balance class a week. Fortunately for me I’m a runner and am keen on exercise and yoga. So, I’m still running until I can’t, walking as much as I can (Tim, our Labrador is happy about this!) and doing yoga. These are all helping me keep moving. Although my back feels like a plank of wood at times and my right side is weakening to the point I find writing difficult now, I actually feel lucky that I wasn’t diagnosed with a terminal illness. I will manage my symptoms as they progress. I have an amazing network of friends, family and people to look after me. There is always someone much worse off and I have so much to be grateful for. So, Parkinson’s Disease can do one, because I don’t sit down easy!