I am who I am.

Well it’s a while since I last put my fingers to the keyboard in order to update my blog.

Reasons – to be honest there are more important things to be doing with my life than sitting at the computer communicating with people without any faces and getting no one-to-one contact!

Additionally trying to get medication sorted has taken the best part of a year and it is still a matter of waiting and seeing how the latest tabs work. So far I am keeping my fingers crossed. I’ve had a bit of anger, some low times, but also at long last more determination to achieve those creative aspects that had just seemed to  have disappeared into the mists of time.

Believe me I have been creative but at subjects that don’t give you that buzz! I’ve come to the conclusion that my parkie friend has for many years been playing a few minion tricks. Yes, it is so common with this disease to loose enthusiasm or incentive to do things, but mine appears to have steered me away from all those occupations and hobbies that made me who I was!

Now I want to stand up and shout ‘This is me, this is who I am’.

Photography has always been a great love of mine, together with writing. Since digital has been around there has been something lacking – so I am going to have a go back doing film photography. Those who know me are well aware that it was once my professional occupation. But then I suppose disallusion crept in because there was this feeling inside that I was not a good enough to make a living from it. The same happened with writing, despite having written various articles and short stories that were published.

The one really great thing about having Parkinson’s is that I don’t really care now. Yes, I always will try to do a damn good job – otherwise what is the point. But if people don’t like what I create, so what, there will always be those that do!

No more self doubt! I am who I am. The new journey begins……

 

Conquering Maiden Castle

So here is a little add on to my previous post.

There was I rather disappointed at not having managed to reach Maiden Castle itself!  A few days rest and a bit of internet research and I was ready for another go.

This time I was chickening out before even starting. Today it was going to be the easy route – car parked at the location that lead directly to Maiden Castle.

It took me only about 15 minutes to get there this time!  Soon realising that my lunch snack the previous time had indeed been taken at the ancient fort itself – well on its boundary which was the sandstone outcrop. As just a few hundred yards further down the track I would have been able make to out the remains of the ramparts overgrown with bracken.

Then a little further down some steps was a plaque confirming this with a magnificent view that was well worth all the previous pain.

Was there any retribution this time. A bit of back ache which anyone can get and strangely enough it affected my fingers this time – as again I took my walking poles to exercise my arms as well. Even now my fingers are quite stiff. So if there are spelling mistakes I have a good excuse.

 

 

Attemping to reach Maiden Castle

What can go wrong with a good trek up the local hill? One of the few sandstone areas that give a glorious view of the otherwise flat Cheshire plains. Bulkeley Hill Wood was my choice. Having tried it a year or so before my diagnosis and new it would be a challenge but not an unachievable one.

This time there would be no charging up; attempting to reach the various flat areas before undertaking the next incline. No, this time I would rest whenever the need arose.

All went well. In fact, I was pleasantly surprise that after three and a half hours up and back down there was no nerve pain at all. It was decided that it was so successful that tomorrow it would be Bickerton Hill. Yes, I was so tired I could have slept on a log but that sense of achievement kept me awake all evening.

So the next morning found me up Bickerton Hill, despite the fact of barely sleeping four hours that previous night. That urge to challenge myself – to see just how far I could go without triggering those PD side effects – was enough to overcome the lack of sleep.

What did I do? Take the longest and steepest route to the summit of Maiden Castle. Not the shorter, more easily accessible route from the car park. Again a path that took me about three and half hours to do there and back. I felt capable of all it threw at me.

Then appearing before me was a very steep incline with sandstone steps climbing up like a neatly placed obstacle course! Definately a part to chicken out of! Taking a more sweeping gradual route to the summit was quite a bit longer but far more manageable.

Trust me to choose a June day when the sun ended up beating down on me at this point with a vengence, for here was open to the elements. I managed to reach a little outcrop with impressive views. Sitting down for a drink and snack the realisation hit me, going any further was not an option otherwise there were doubts as to whether I’d make it back down!

It was the last half a mile back down that told me I had indeed reached my limit. Despite the walking poles my right leg was become weak and aching. It took all of the remaining bit of strength to reach the car.

Back at home I was so tired and this time fell asleep all evening. Slept equally as good all night – which thankfully made up for the previous night’s small amount. I pottered around the house doing some catching up on the computer and book binding. My right leg was reluctant to go up stairs without the aid of holding on to the banister. Although not unusual, in recent days it had greatly improved.

That is until around 3pm when the just above my knee joint appeared to be rather swollen and the discomfort had increased in intensity. So I have done it again – pushed to hard only to reap the vengeance of my body once more!

Moto – pace myself! (and the advice of the physio).

An Hour At The Gym!

Well, I decided to try the gym at our local Neurotherapy centre. How could an hour exercising there be too much? After all I felt the need for something a little more challenging than the physio sessions.

I do wonder whether I just get bored easily but this did not seem to come into the equation with this decision. So at ten in the morning there I was. Ten minutes on the strider – moving arms as well as legs. All felt fine. Well it should have really as it was only on number 1 strength! I had to laugh because on number 2 my legs couldn’t even get it to move.

How pathetic! Reminding myself that some years ago I did indeed attend the gym on a regular basis – before I got bored with all the routine. Or was that strictly true? No, there had been something not right then – the more I did only increased problems I was having.

After a short rest my next challenge was the rowing machine. That appeared to not to tax my muscles too much. But then came the machine to help build the core muscles. Looking at the weights and how it resembled some kind of sadistic training apparatus – I told myself this was going to do me good; building up those stiff, slow muscles and getting them to work again.

I managed all of the sets of eight sessions. All that is with the exception of the final. The twinge in my shoulder was warning enough.

It was the next day that the revenge was taken. My left arm – the one that has the Bradykinesia – now had constant nerve pain. Affecting not only my arm but the hand and fingers too. A lesson learned – do not go at these things like a mad person. Not that I felt that happened at the time, but looking back I should not have doubted my initial instinct about that final object of torture.

Frustration Strikes!

The group physio sessions which I do once a week (until this week due to car being off road for MOT) have been going great. I can sometimes stretch my left arm straight – which I could not do before.  Not all the time, but at least it is a beginning.

Then there has been a video on line which has similar exercises which I have been doing instead. But it is far more fun for me to do with others. I like company – being alone is not heathy for me. Yes sometimes I do enjoy having time to myself and doing my more relaxing occupations such as gardening – not that I am any brilliant gardener but it is exercise and it is out in the fresh air.

I love the countryside, and I enjoy walking. So my frustration is that despite the nice weather, purchasing walking poles I have not been able to get out and make the best of it as much as I would have liked.  Though managing an hour walk down past Chester Zoo (near where I live) the other day was satisfying and a few hours walking around town two days ago, these last few weeks have seen me becoming increasingly frustrated with myself – I must do more!

Since coming to terms with my have Parkinson’s I do hate any waste of time. More so than previously. There is such a desire to achieve more in both a physical and mental capacity. To push myself and not lounge around inside (figuratively). So plans are afoot for my next upping of exercise routine – oh I hate that word ‘routine’ – change it for stage.

My First PD Physio

Having been successfully referred to a local centre that specialises in therapy for those with neurological diseases, I booked in to my first group physio session.

Being the only woman with seven other men plus the male physiotherapist did not bother me. I enjoyed their sense of humour. Introductions over one person asked how PD affected me – everyone has different symptoms but other than that there were no questions because we were all ‘in it together’.

I have had physiotherapy over the years at the local nhs hospital for one or other of my limbs. Not that anyone knew I had Parkinson’s then. Nor do I really know now whether some or all of those problems are part of the condition.

Everything went reasonably well, despite the limited movement in my left arm due to a combination of pain and muscle stiffness. Until we undertook an exercise for coordination of arms and legs together. I ended up laughing at myself rather than feeling awkward or self conscious (as I probably would have done at a general session). It was as though my arms and legs did not know how to move as requested; I felt a bit like one of those puppets with stings that have got all tangled up – legs and arms going all ways.

Even so by the end of the hour I felt a sense of achievement – at least I had made a start! Plus I now had a better idea of what needed to be worked at.

Hello world!

Welcome to my blog.  Last November I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.  Basically that means I have less dopamine working than I need to have! What is dopamine – a chemical that is released in the brain which  acts as a neurotransmitter.

So how does it affect me – visibly I have a tremor in my left hand (sometime affecting further up my arm). I have lost some of the strength in this area – thereby finding it difficult to graps things that need any a reasonable amount of force.  Even holding an umbrella up for a short time can be quite a feat, as I found out the other day!

Quite often this disease affects one side of the body first and can graduate to the other. My left leg is weaker than the right (or it could be the opposite way around!). It has been for sometime and my poor right leg has to trouble with anything that puts pressure on it – such as going up stairs. There are good days and not so good ones – when it says “enough”!!!

But it is the non-visible symptoms that affect me the most at the moment. On the bad days it is a real battle, then there are those when I am detemined to not to let it take control of my life.

I have found talking about being newly diagnosed is theraputic. I have always enjoyed writing – good way of exercising the brain! Maybe you would like to view my blogs for Huffington Post.