70. 7-10 million. 1 in 20.
These numbers represent me and my life…
This is my 70th blog about living with Parkinson’s. I am one of the estimated 7-10 million people worldwide with Parkinson’s. I am also one of the 1 in 20 people with Parkinson’s who was diagnosed under the age of 40. This means that I have Young Onset Parkinson’s.
1 in 20. That’s me. A number. But I’m more than just a number. Behind each of us 1 in 20, there’s a real life story of diagnosis and of living with Young Onset Parkinson’s every day.
Here’s another number. Five.
Next month it will be five years since I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. Five years! Where did that time go? Time has a habit of sneaking up on us. I have lots of memories of my life before my life-changing diagnosis, but I can’t actually remember what it was like to not have Parkinson’s. I know I used to be able to write easily, but I can’t remember the feeling of writing with ease. I can’t remember my life before my three hourly medication cycle. It’s funny how the brain works. Especially when you have Parkinson’s and your brain lacks that all important chemical dopamine. I don’t think I even knew what dopamine was five years ago, let alone how important it is or how much a lack of it would affect me.
I can’t go back in time – and to be honest, I wouldn’t want to. Through living with Parkinson’s, I’ve learned (and am still learning) so many life lessons. I’m now happier in myself, more at peace and more resilient.
Of course, given a choice I wouldn’t choose to have Parkinson’s – who would choose to have this progressive neurological condition? I don’t have this choice. However, I do sometimes find myself wishing and hoping for things. One thing I hope for is better treatments – that stop progression – and one day a cure for Parkinson’s. For me, and for of all the other 7-10 million people with Parkinson’s – and for our loved ones – who live with this condition day after day, year after year. A future without Parkinson’s. That’s not impossible, is it? Never say never…
That would have been a good place to end, except that I can’t end my 70th blog without saying how grateful I am to everyone who has supported me with my blogs. To my official blog advisors – you’re the best! I’m so very grateful to have you in my life. To all those who have inspired me and to everyone who has taken the time to comment on my blogs, feedback, liked or shared my blogs on Facebook or Twitter – thank you – I really appreciate your support.
Finally (nearly there I promise), thank you to the NHS – which celebrated its 70th birthday earlier this year – and to all those organisations and people worldwide working for better treatments and a cure for Parkinson’s.