THE BLOG
14/05/2014 13:50 BST | Updated 14/07/2014 06:59 BST

Parkinson's Barefoot & Loud

I'm always happy to listen to advice and new ideas, but ultimately allow my instincts to decide what is right for me. I pay close attention and listen to my inner voice, for it usually doesn't let me down. Knowledge and education empower us, and intuition is one of the most powerful tools we own - so use it!

I have been walking badly for so long, I thought Parkinson's along with Gaucher disease had taken its toll and my mobility would never improve. A couple of weeks ago, a lady wrote to me (a fellow Parkinson sufferer who's been reading my blog) telling me she goes barefoot in the house and how it's improved her walking. Having reached the point of despair, I was willing to give anything a try. Hey presto, like magic, I couldn't believe the vast improvement in gait and mobility. My husband was astonished and delighted to see me walking better; the shame is I can only go barefoot at home, so still walk poorly when out of the house. A big THANK YOU to the lady who wrote to me. Sharing tips and information like this is invaluable. I've since heard from a number of Parkinson's patients who kick off their shoes, for this very reason, as soon as they get home. So if you haven't tried it, give it a go at home and see if it makes any difference. Nothing ventured - nothing gained, so they say!

A very close girl friend came to visit me, and never short of conversation, we could probably talk till the cows come home! It matters not whether it's rainy or sunny out, if we go to a nearby café or sit in the tranquillity of my garden; any time spent together is always uplifting and precious. My friend was curious about the Parkinson's "voice therapy" I've been talking about, and so I gave her a private performance which was far easier than trying to explain about "thinking big - thinking loud"! I can assure you, there are not too many people in whom I would indulge and prepared to make a fool of myself. Being a good sport she didn't laugh, and having a sweet singing voice, decided to join in and make the session a duet of sorts. She was very surprised at how far I could project my voice and the length of breath I was able to expel.

The neighbours must have wondered what on earth we were doing, and were probably relieved when we finally ended our session! Little do they know how important voice therapy is, but I think my friend now understands how this exercise strengthens the voice muscles and helps maintain healthy lungs. Realising some months ago how vital voice therapy is, I started right away, becoming part of my daily regime. As soon as my family leave the house for work and I'm alone, I begin, as there is a limit to how much I can subject them to, despite their never ending support and good humour. At the beginning I was nowhere near as loud and couldn't hold a note for so long letting out all my breath. Many people are too embarrassed to do these voice exercises despite being greatly beneficial. I admit I probably do look and sound quite daft, but knowing it will help maintain my voice and lungs, that's all that counts.

Parkinson's is a lousy disease, for once it's got a hold, it keeps going like a runaway train. All one can do is stay on the tracks, and try putting your foot on the break. It may not stop the train completely but just slowing it down can make a huge difference. You have the choice to either sit back and do nothing as the ride escalates, or you can choose to be proactive; exercise according to your ability and advice of your doctor or physiotherapist, eat a healthy diet, stay active and social as much as possible, maintain a positive outlook and a sense of humour will give you a huge advantage.

There are days I resemble a squashed bug that flew onto the windscreen of a car, stuck rigid and unable to move. Gladly there are more good days than bad, and my resilient nature wont let me stay down for long. My spirit remains strong and often I feel almost invincible, with a fiery life force running through my veins, I can tackle anything.

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