I was reading a post on the Facebook page for people with Parkinson’s. They were talking about how those of us with Parkies sometimes give up things we enjoy due to our condition. Perhaps sometimes I wonder if it is fear of failure or losing face in front of others?
She went on to talk about a friend with Parkies who had been a skillful and prolific knitter but had given it up with the advent of Parkies. Something made her decide to give it one last try and to her delight she found she could still knit. Maybe a bit slower and maybe not as complicated as previously, but the skill was still there.
I know that when I was first diagnosed I had what I referred to as ‘a crisis of confidence’ where overnight I questioned whether I could still effectively carry out my job. There was no real reason for this self-doubt but it threatened to stop me from being able to continue. Luckily I managed to work through with some positive self talk and I slowly started to regain my confidence, with maybe some extra steps in my processes to ensure I was able to continue.
In my personal life too, my sudden lack of confidence nearly made me give up an activity that I had always enjoyed.
I have always liked riding a bike and soon after diagnosis was having trouble getting my leg over the high cross bar on my bike. Also if I had to stop suddenly I would topple over if I leaned on my Parkies side. I also found I was sometimes struggling to get home after a ride. I was starting to feel that I could no longer go for a bike ride and would have to give it up. Then I thought about it and – as I had some extra money from a legacy – looked into e-bikes. I found one with a low step through for ease of getting on and off. Also with having the power assist I know if I go out for a longer bike ride that I can use the power to get home. I went out and bought a lovely shiny red e-bike. I am chuffed I can still ride my bike.
There will be things along the way in this journey that will become difficult and need to be modified or at some point let go. The point though is that I feel we need to keep doing what we can for as long as we can and not let Parkies rob us of our pleasures prematurely.
A ‘can do’ attitude rather than excuses why we can’t do things, will go a long way to retaining those skills and pleasurable pastimes for as long as we can.