As one of the first high profile figures to speak publically about living with Parkinson's, Muhammad Ali opened the world's eyes to this devastating condition. He used his platform, his position of power, to give the world an insight into Parkinson's. He not only highlighted the ongoing day to day difficulties of living with the progressive condition but also how it is possible to respond with positivity to a life changing diagnosis. Diagnosed with Parkinson's at just 42, he was clear that facing the daily challenge of the condition had been the other big fight of his of life...
Knowing how important physical exercise is to keep Parkinson's at bay, I have taken to swimming on a regular basis, in the hope this will help retain my mobility for as long as possible. The other morning as I entered the Sports Center, I was practically accosted by a woman who appeared out of nowhere.
Making a good first impression and leaving your mark is important, but sometimes circumstances dictate an outcome different from what you had hoped for. A particular incident that happened to me a number of years ago comes to mind. I don't think I left the desired impression, but I'll let you be the judge of that...
The body takes a beating from constant symptoms, yet most patients I've come across, gallantly fight Parkinson's in silence each day, so it's no wonder our emotions are also affected. We feel bound by a code of honour to put on a brave face, smile when we can, and continue to sound positive to all those around us as this degenerative disease runs its course.
A few weeks ago, a member of my family was taken into hospital for an operation. Although thankfully not life threatening surgery, I desperately wanted to jump in the car there and then, and drive straight to the hospital. Frustratingly in my physical condition this was unrealistic. I couldn't go anywhere, and a few words of comfort over the phone was all I could offer.
Having Parkinson's and making a dinner party, requires military style organisation as many things have to be thought of. I try to choose a menu where most of the dishes can be prepared in advance, sticking to simple delicious fail-proof recipes I've made before which require little work and few ingredients.
We have our work cut out for us working together with a professional trainer, and the next few months are not going to be easy, but in the long term we will end up with a well-trained companion/assistance dog who will hopefully enrich our lives, give me better quality of life and help me get through each day.