Do you ever feel as if you're living in a speeding time warp, except there's no one, not even Scotty, who can beam you up? As absurd as it sounds, I could swear the older I get, the faster time speeds up! It's hard to imagine a whole year has passed and here we are once again, marking the 11 April as Parkinson's Awareness Day. A very appropriate date, i.e. the birthday of the infamous Dr James Parkinson, who first recorded the disease in 1817. I'm sure as delighted as he would be to have millions of people around the globe, marking his birthday each year, causing his name to become virtually immortal, no one in their right mind would want a wretched disease named after them. If people were to remember you, long after you're gone, wouldn't you prefer it be related to something wonderful, not a degenerative disease that slowly devours a person till they are barely recognisable, forcing their loved ones on a nightmare journey they'd never envisaged?
The photo in my passport was taken some years ago, and no longer reflects the person I see in the mirror today. Travelling a few months ago, at the airport, security took a while checking it was really me. Asking if I would remove my glasses - I still barely resembled the well covered young woman, (I don't like to use the word 'plump'!) in the photo taken before Parkinson's became part of my life eight years ago. I guess this is where the system of finger prints for identification purposes comes into its own, for one's prints stay the same no matter what. There are some things, even Parkinson's cannot change!
From my tone, you might discern an amount of animosity towards Parkinson's, and you would be quite right in your assumption. Just the mention of the name fills me with a flood of emotions; guilt at what my darling husband and family have to endure, anger at such a bum deal in life and frustration that a cure has not yet been found. If I were younger I would stamp my feet and shout, but I've been told it's not a becoming look and far from dignified for someone in their early fifties. So I shall compose myself, take a deep breath and like my fellow sufferers, try to remain hopeful, positive and lean heavily on my sense of humour to get me through.
Many like myself around the world, tirelessly campaign and are relentless in speaking out in the hope that someone somewhere will answer our prayers. Mankind has come so far, made leaps and bounds in technology and likewise in the medical field, and continue to boldly go where no man has gone before! So why after so many years is the Parkinson community still waiting for a miracle? Are we closer now than we've ever been to finding the illusive cure?
My message to you on Parkinson's Awareness Day is this: be proactive, for every person can make a difference, and together we have strength in numbers. Good health is a gift and not to be taken for granted. Cherish what you have and don't waste a moment - life is precious and so are those we share it with.