This was the diagnosis, delivered a couple of days ago via a Zoom consultation with a neurologist. After a few minutes of conversation and me waving my hands and walking in front of the camera, he looked at me and said rather flatly, “You have Parkinson’s”. I also need an MRI to absolutely confirm no other issues, but he was confident in his diagnosis. My immediate reaction was shock, followed half a second later by an overwhelming relief.
It has been coming on for a while
I have had a tremor for some time now. I remember chairing my last AGM at Southern Voices some three years ago, shaking as I poured out a glass of water. I went to my GP in October last year to get it checked, noting at that time I was having issues shaving and cleaning my teeth (right hand). I was told it was Essential Tremor and not to be concerned. But since lockdown things have been slowing down faster. My handwriting is terrible and I find typing difficult, impacting how long I can sit in one position. Of course, all this has been affecting my work, which has affected me.
So I went to the GP again last week, and very quickly met with the neurologist.
The excellent Parkinson’s website notes that relief is one of the reactions to a diagnosis. The impact on my work has been concerning me for a while and at least I now have a reason for it. It was also time I reacted to comments from my beloved Rebecca and other family members to ‘get it sorted and go and see the doctor’. So I did!
One of the ways to slow down Parkinson’s is exercise. Although I found the daily commute to London very tiring, it always involved lots of walking and cycling. At the start of lockdown, Livi was home and we went on lots of long walks. But her Uni exams took over and the walks got fewer – and she has now moved out. It almost seems as the exercise went down, the symptoms started to manifest themselves more.
Three actions from the neurologist are medication, exercise and inform the DVLA. These are now in hand. Longer term I had been wanting to spend more time with Rebecca, as she in turn slows down (my diagnosis I feel was more of a shock to her than me). So right now, I will be working through options with my incredibly supportive colleagues at the Institute.
I will update this when I have more news.
And one last thing…
The few people I have told so far have reacted with a mixture of shock and sadness, with ‘sorry’ being the main word. For me I do feel relief. Things could be so much worse. I am the same today as I was before the diagnosis. I still have many years left to do the things on Rebecca’s and my (slightly shorter) bucket list. So, no need to use the sorry word for the moment!