Living with Parkinson’s
Enid is a good friend of Age Concern. She was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2012 and this is her inspirational story about how she is living a full and happy life with Parkinson’s.
“I was 58 years old. In a way it came as a relief to have a diagnosis because I had struggled with the symptoms for two years. I had first noticed a tremor in my left hand in 2008. At first the doctors thought it was Essential Tremor because my Nan and Uncle had suffered with that.
The symptoms of Parkinson’s differ from person to person, making it difficult to diagnose but once you get the right medication, it makes a huge difference with how you cope with everyday life. I had been a primary school teacher for all my working life, a job I loved, but the last couple of years had been extremely difficult. My writing had become very small, I had tremors in both hands and my gait was awkward. I was granted retirement, on health grounds, in 2013.
At first, I had a feeling of worthlessness. I had always been in a caring profession, happily married for 36 years, two beautiful daughters but I still felt useless! This wasn’t like me; I had always been a very positive person so I had to give myself a good talking to!
Once my medication was sorted things became a lot brighter. I started to look for things to do. I joined a choir, the Royal Court Community Choir. Previously, I had never even thought of being in a choir but there were no auditions for this one and it was free so I thought I’d give it a go. I’m so glad I did. Every Monday night from 5-7pm, that’s where you will find me.
Then about three years ago, I saw on the BBC an item about Dance for Parkinson’s. Following on from the programme, I did a bit of research and found that Liverpool was one of only five places in the UK which ran Dance for Parkinson’s classes! You can guess what happened next! I’ve been attending ever since. It does me so much good…increasing my confidence, improving my memory, teaching me about ballet and, if the National Ballet are performing in the North West, we get the chance to see a production of what we have been doing in our sessions. The courses, which take place at the MDI (Merseyside Dance Initiative) opposite the Everyman Theatre, are well attended and enjoyed by men and women.
When I was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s, I began to think about getting involved with research. I told my consultant about my interest but nothing came of that. Then, in early 2017, my sister heard a feature on Radio Merseyside. A lady, Deborah Morris, was talking about building a research community of people who have a long term health condition and want to get involved with NHS research. To cut a long story short, Deborah became my mentor and I became a Patient Research Ambassador. If you are interested in helping medical research (you don’t need to be living with Parkinson’s) then I would urge you to contact Deborah.morris@NWC-Res.com or let Age Concern Liverpool & Sefton know by calling 01704 542 993 and they will pass on your contact details to Deborah”.