Shirley King – Living with Parkinson’s



Having been diagnosed with Parkinson’s a year ago I thought well that’s it! The previous year I went to my Doctor as I had been feeling weaker and unable to walk long distances. One of the things I looked forward to was taking our dog for long walks. My doctor sent me for X-Rays I had many blood tests but nothing showed up. In the December before being diagnosed I took on a temporary job over Christmas. It was then I noticed that my voice had changed; when I walked my arms did not move they stayed motionless by my side. Also the ability to type emails and letters became an effort, also no longer able to touch type. In fact it was a relief to get a diagnosis, now I knew what I was up against!

After seeing the Parkinson’s specialist I was prescribed with Madopar I noticed a difference within days. My voice was back to normal, my arms would swing again, and no longer did I have to do a “three point turn” just to turn around.

During this time there were highs and lows but I soon realised that activity of any sort can change your mood. Meeting friends I had not seen for years for coffee or lunch which lifted my spirits greatly. Soon realising the necessity of taking my medication at regular intervals made such a difference. Finding out that Parkinson’s likes routine if late with my medication I soon noticed that my mood was affected and became more irritable and fatigued, it also determines the way you think and feel. One thing I do miss and that is dancing having lost all rhythm and the ability to sing, which my husband said I never could in the first place! Also loosing the courage to swim but intend to have a go again shortly. My writing has deteriorated to the extent its looks like a spider on speed! Earlier last year I also volunteered to take part in Parkinson’s research which I hope will assist in finding a cure for this condition.

I love gardening and really looking forward to spring when I can get out there again, must admit this winter has had its problems resulting in a few low days. Volunteering at a local Charity shop for two mornings a week which I enjoy immensely keeps me really busy loving the atmosphere, very friendly and great fun. Having recently joined the gym again which I love, especially boxing the punch bag! The highlight of last year was the Walk for Parkinson’s in Oxford. The whole family walked with me, including grandsons George who was 4 and Sonny who was 2 raising money for Parkinson’s UK. It was during this walk I realised that there were many walkers there whose symptoms were far worse than mine their positive attitude has now inspired me not to give up and that nothing is impossible.

I can honestly say that without my family and friends I would have found facing this difficult on my own. It’s during times like this you find out who your close friends really are. My husband has been with me all the way, he has never complained when I wake him up at night with leg cramps he is there straight away pushing my foot up to relieve the pain. I have realised that I am responsible for myself and how I choose to live my life and as long as I choose to be happy and hopeful my well-being is in my own hands.


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