In many ways, I find that many of my attitudes in life have changed significantly since my diagnosis. It is important to me to be able to create memories and provide my grand-children with experiences that they can learn from and enjoy. I have spoken before about Parkinson’s making me more focussed on spending time with them and doing something together.
In my work as a Social Worker, I try to have a positive influence on people that I work with. I try to alleviate stress in what is often a very stressful situation. I hope that for them my support helps them get through some of the challenges they face. I have worked with probably hundreds of people both as patients and their families. In the main I think my efforts have been appreciated and valued. It is important to me that while I can still work that I am able to be a positive presence for those I work with. As long as Parkinson’s allows me to, I will continue to try to do so.
Part of being a Social Worker is advocating for social justice on a macro level. This is explained as follows:
This is higher level Social Work that can have far reaching consequences for not just an individual but for large sections of the community. I am proud to say, that I have been involved in a project to change policy for people in relation to their interactions with the New Zealand Inland Revenue Department. Without going into too much confusing detail, I met with the person who has been driving the project yesterday and she advised that as a direct result of my raising concerns way back in 2017 (these things take time) I have been instrumental in effecting a change in policy that will benefit thousands of people’s lives. It was an emotional meeting – I didn’t realise how much it meant to me – and she said I should be very proud that by my initial actions people will not only benefit now, but for many years to come. She used the words ‘this is a huge legacy you are leaving for the good of many people’. This touched me, and I shared with her my diagnosis and said, ‘I feel like I am all about legacy these days. It is important to me to leave something of value behind me’.
I want to be able to be that positive person who effects change, both in micro (small individual) and macro (larger scale) actions. To me, life is not just about the here and now – though that is important to focus on too – but also about leaving your mark in some way for future generations.
My fervent hope is that as a Mother, a Sister, Wife and Nanna I can leave my family a legacy to be proud of and memories to treasure.