Being diagnosed with young on-set Parkinson's, trying to plan ahead, we realised our apartment overflowing with "character and potential" was in fact highly unsuitable for anyone with a disability.
When diagnosed with a disease such as Parkinson's that literally takes over your life and changes everything you could possibly think of, it's hard not to be enveloped by the enormity of the situation. However, don't lose your identity and let a disease define who you are.
What causes Parkinson's? A frequently asked question, to which there is not yet a definitive answer. It is clear however, that some forms are hereditary, such as my case. I have my own theory - call it a gut feeling or an inner voice, but invariably I follow my instincts.
Anyone living with chronic disease like myself, probably experiences frequent hospitalisation. I often wonder if there should be a special club, as with airline companies who have a frequent flyer card, hospitals could create a "frequent hospitalisation club".
Assistance and companion (therapy) dogs can provide a great deal of comfort to someone who is disabled or suffering a long-term illness. The positive benefits are tremendous, and a dog can be trained to perform many varied duties to help a person at home who is incapacitated.
I'd like to share with you a glimpse into the world of living with Parkinson's from a patient's perspective. Being diagnosed with any chronic degenerative disease can be a shock to the system. Accepting and digesting such news is very individual, and a process that covers a gamut of emotions.
We ended up visiting several different car showrooms (whose names I shall discreetly refrain from mentioning) but size and shape can be highly deceiving, and many cars we saw, at first glance appeared spacious, until we tried to fit my wheelchair in the boot.
It would be very easy to slip into depression and wallow in self pity, bringing everyone down, but I absolutely refuse to let Parkinson's get the upper hand. I find it far more worthwhile to remain cheery, which keeps me going; boosting my family's morale and all those around me.
Sitting in my wheelchair, my husband has been asked "how is she?", whilst I'm right next to him. This is highly insulting and hurtful to be talked about in the third party. "HELLO!" can they not see I'm right here, and have the decency to ask me directly how I'm feeling?
The growing number of young people being diagnosed every day with Young Onset Parkinson's is astonishing. I was diagnosed at age 44 and at the time I thought this was very young, but since then I've been in contact with many fellow sufferers, some of whom were diagnosed in their twenties! Suddenly 44 doesn't sound so young!