When I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s nearly nine years ago, I had no idea what my future would look like. I consider myself lucky to have access to brilliant NHS services for Parkinson’s and also great support from friends and family. Without both of these, my Parkinson’s journey would have been a much more difficult one. That’s not to say it has been easy – far from it – but I do think it’s important to focus on the positives.
Over the last year, it feels like life has been throwing me one challenge after another, without a break for me to catch my breath, before the next challenge arrives. I’m sure I am not the only one who feels this way. It seems everyone I know is always dealing with some kind of crisis.
I must admit, I have spent much of the last year feeling overwhelmed. However, one thing I do know, and am very grateful for – even if I do have to keep reminding myself of it – is that I was really lucky to have undergone successful Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery last year. The thing is, life doesn’t stop throwing challenges at you just because you have Parkinson’s (or any long term condition for that matter). So, you just learn to live with it, and to cope somehow. My DBS surgery has definitely made it easier for me to cope.
DBS has improved my quality of life immensely – giving me much better control over my symptoms and reducing my daily cocktail of medications. However, I do still have Parkinson’s and a few of my symptoms are worse following my DBS – namely my speech and balance. And as with all conditions, symptoms are aggravated by stress and anxiety. So, the more I can do to reduce my anxiety, whatever challenges I may face, the better I will feel.
I recently visited my lovely friend Jen and her husband, giving me a much needed weekend away and change of scenery, and time to relax with friends to reflect, and catch my breath. I really needed this time and space to remind myself of all the things I have to be grateful for.
Thank you so much …
… to all of my friends and family who have been there for me through the ups and downs. Thank you also to all of the NHS staff who have supported me in my Parkinson’s journey so far, including Mr Low, Dr Misbahuddin and the DBS team at Queen’s Hospital, and my Parkinson’s Nurse, Kirsten and speech therapists Katherine and Claire. I am very grateful to all of you.