I think it’s fair to say my life – like many other people’s – is full of challenges. I’m grateful that I’ve had the opportunity to go on a summer holiday. It’s a chance to relax with friends, have a change of scenery, and have a break from some of the challenges life has brought me recently. But the one thing I can’t escape from – not even on holiday – is Parkinson’s.
Last summer, I was very fortunate to meet two amazing ladies – who both just happened to share my name – while on holiday with my best friend Gemma. The four of us got on so well that we decided to go away together this summer.
Gemma and the three Angelas (aka Team Gemangela) was born…
A year later, I found myself on another Greek island as part of Team Gemangela, ready for a new Greek adventure and an escape from reality. However, wherever I go that unwanted extra part known as Parkinson’s always tags along.
Gemma and I have been best friends since we went to school together, so I have always been comfortable sharing with her and asking for help when needed. And Team Gemangela was equally supportive when my Parkinson’s symptoms kicked off. My lowest point came early on during our holiday. It was extremely hot, I was over-tired and we’d been on a seemingly never-ending ferry trip and climbed part-way up a steep path. We’d collectively decided that it was too much to climb to the top, so we stopped for a short rest before starting to go back down. Even without Parkinson’s I would have struggled. Parkinson’s added that extra struggle – I felt unsteady and I had a tiny moment of panic that I wouldn’t be able to make it down again. And of course then my tremor started. It’s hard to describe just quite how upsetting it is when you don’t have control over your shaking hand / legs. However, Gemma, Angela and Angela supported me all the way back down. I felt momentarily bad for having to rely on them, however I knew that they didn’t mind and that I would have done the same had any one of them been in my shoes.
Team Gemangela also got an insight into my three hourly medication cycle whereby the effectiveness of my medication peaks and troughs. I often struggled to cut up my dinner when my meds had worn off. As I am unable to wave my hand during the troughs, when I waved excitedly the rest of Team Gemangela knew my meds were peaking. I could not have asked for more empathic, supportive, encouraging and caring friends. Like all teams, we were there for each other through a few low points, but we also shared a lot of laughter and many happy moments including cocktails, cryptic crosswords and (inflatable) flamingos. Not forgetting our beautiful sunset cruise, an amazing train ride through the mountains and along the coast, Greek dancing and so much more.
Although I can’t escape from the reality of living with Parkinson’s, it didn’t stop me from having a fantastic Greek adventure with my amazing friends. And for that I am very grateful.
Over the last few years, I’ve slowly learned to accept that Parkinson’s is part of my life. That’s just the way it is.
Easy come, easy go…