So, today is my Anniversary. The Anniversary of that visit to my Neurologist where he uttered the fateful words, ‘I have to tell you, you have Parkinson’s’. What a lot has happened in the intervening 12 months!
My thoughts on living for 12 months with this diagnosis:
- Initial reaction – devastation.
- Feelings of hopelessness and fatalism.
- Thinking way ahead into the future and what that might look like.
- Lots of tears and ‘why me!’
- A need to take control of what I can control
- Started this Blog. The aim was to find an outlet for my thoughts and feelings and hopefully to help others who might read it, who were also going through the early stages of diagnosis.
- Told my workmates and family almost immediately of my diagnosis, so I could start to build my support network.
- Found ‘The Duncan Foundation’ and undertook a comprehensive exercise programme for those in the first 12 months of diagnosis. Best thing I ever did!
- Determined to spend time with family as much as I can and enjoy having a quality of life while I can. Don’t put things off!
- Sold our two-storey home while we could make an active choice to move to a more future proof home. It’s taken a while to find, but we now have that home ready to move in.
- Focussing on what I can do, rather than what I can’t.
- Had a major shoulder operation, needing months of recovery so that wasn’t going to be another thing to hold me back.
- What I have learned
- I am stronger than I ever thought possible.
- I remain a capable, professional woman.
- By sharing my diagnosis I have gained a robust support network.
- My Blog is a positive outlet for my thoughts and feelings.
- Living in ‘the now’ is the best way to be, while being mindful to do things now while I am fit and able.
- Having a supportive family is so important, especially my husband.
- My journey is not that of my parents – who also had Parkinson’s – it is mine, it is unique and may not have the same outcome.
- Parkinson’s does not define me. I will not allow it to!
So, it has been 12 months since I started this journey with Parkies as my uninvited companion. At first it felt like Parkies was in the driving seat, controlling my direction and mapping out the road ahead of me. However, that was too unpalatable to allow to continue. I have taken charge of my life – where I can – and relegated Parkies to the back seat, with me behind the wheel controlling my journey. It will always be there, but while I can relegate it to a more minor role in my life, I will continue to do so. I will continue to take my medication, to exercise, to try to live a healthy life and eat healthy – that bit can be a challenge – and try to give myself my best shot at life.
Parkies is not everything my life is about any more, like it was on that day 12 months ago. In some small way, it feels like I have this thing under my control, rather than having it call the shots.
Life is still good and I am determined to make the most of it, despite the unwelcome guest that refuses to leave!