THE BLOG

Life's Cruel Jokes

01/05/2014 12:54 BST | Updated 30/06/2014 10:59 BST

We all like to pride ourselves on being aware and paying attention, but until a particular situation occurs, even with the best will in the world, we may be surprisingly ignorant or uninformed on certain issues. Life can play cruel jokes on us at times. Perhaps a woman yearning to become pregnant, everywhere she goes, sees an abundance of pregnant ladies, all a glow, hand gently resting on their bulging tummies? When choosing a new car, no matter where you are, suddenly you spot the identical model, as if everyone had the same idea and beat you to it. Your child pleads desperately wanting a dog, telling you all their friends have one. Suddenly you notice in every park children joyfully walking sweet puppies, enough to melt any heart sending you on a swift guilt trip, despite knowing who will eventually look after a cute bundle of fur, that won't stay small and adorable for long. I'm quite sure everyone has experienced this strange phenomena in some way. So I have found it to be with Parkinson's, for no matter where I am, I quickly notice the unmistakable symptoms, and suddenly fellow sufferers seem to be everywhere. Were there so many Parkinson's patients before? Or was I simply unaware and not able to recognise the visible signs until diagnosed? Now living with Parkinson's for several years, Parkies (as we affectionately call ourselves) are absolutely everywhere!

An auction is one place you don't want to be under any circumstances with Parkinson's. If you have Parkinson's and suffer dyskinesia, attending an auction is definitely asking for trouble and can end up costing you a small fortune. You may unknowingly bid for things you'd no intention of buying, with an involuntary nod of the head, a twitch or jerk of one's hand. This is a place you want to avoid like the plague!

Having Parkinson's is a little like taking a crash course in survival or a bizarre initiative test. Always expect the unexpected, be prepared for changes, and go with the flow. I've learnt to deal with various symptoms, taking new medications and experienced some very strange side effects. Given no choice, I'm resolved to live with Parkinson's, and intend making the most out of my life. I have a recipe which I strive to adhere to; exercising and eating a healthy diet, remaining calm, a sense of humour is vital, having the ability to laugh at myself, staying super organised life runs a little smoother, enjoying each moment, counting my blessings and being genuinely happy.

I've been asked on occasion "How do you get Parkinson's?" Believe me, I wish I knew the answer to that million dollar question. I'm sure I wasn't the only child who was told "never sit on a public toilet seat" for fear of catching something nasty, the advice of which I took most earnestly when young. We all know you can't "catch" Parkinson's - it just doesn't work like that. Is it simply bad luck, perhaps Murphy's Law, or did Mother Nature decide in her wisdom there weren't enough diseases, and added one more for good measure to shake things up?

Mother Nature likes to have her fun, and plays the cruellest of jokes teaming up with gravity, for as we grow older, certain parts of our body seem to be in a race to reach the floor. She even steps in and plays a mean joke on young mothers after giving birth. A woman's body automatically responds to the necessity of feeding a new born baby, and often breasts enlarge to mammoth proportions (Pamela Anderson eat your heart out - for these "girls" are the real McCoy), and hence milk begins to flow as nature intended. This wondrous natural process has the unexpected effect of inspiring great interest from most new fathers, making any woman feel suddenly very well-endowed and buxom. The cruel part comes, when the period of breastfeeding ceases, and those curvaceous gifts that were bountifully given, suddenly retreat, shrinking back almost to their former size. OK Pamela maybe you have me beat on this one!

Living with two chronic diseases, the passing years have not been kind to me. I was once vivacious, the life and soul of a party, a master of multi-tasking and super quick at everything. These qualities have been stripped from me, now I only have one speed, which is "slow". As in the children's tale, no longer the hare, instead I'm the tortoise who might be slow but always gets there in the end. Life may continue to play its cruel jokes, but it'll take more than Gaucher, Parkinson's or even a hare to beat me!

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