PARKINSON'S DISEASE - (Diary entry: November 2017)
About 5 years ago I started noticing things were not "quite right" with my health, I was having moments
where my thoughts were cloudy, I was anxious and had moments of depression.
I was also experiencing problems finding the right words in conversation, which although embarrassing, did have its funny side...sort of.
Then over a period of time I also noticed that it was becoming difficult to work as a tremor had developed in my right hand, plus an overwhelming feeling of not being well...a sense of heaviness in my body and slowness of movements etc....I coped by "working around" all of these problems, and trying not stressing too much.
Stress and worry made things much, much worse.
In mid 2017 my symptoms worsened, the tremor in my hand was more persistent and I had moments of 'freezing' (of being unable to walk), I had also developed a stammer when speaking and at times I had difficulty speaking at all, sometimes all I could manage was a raspy whisper. I asked friends and work colleagues not to call me on the phone (as I was too self-conscious), preferring the option of email, where I could take my time reading messages over and over, as my memory and ability of comprehension was also suffering.
...I felt like I was falling apart, even now on a 'bad day' that feeling overwhelms me, and I have to fight hard to keep a positive state of mind.
Work in the studio had all but stopped as I could not even hold a paint brush, or a pen and my mental state was not up to making sense of the creative process...it was (and sometimes still is) a dark time.
A visit to my General Practitioner resulted in a diagnosis of suspected Parkinson's Disease, a later examination by Neurologist along with associated brain scans, blood tests etc. gave confirmation. At the time of the pre diagnosis by my G.P. I was put on Parkinson's medication(s), and although I got some improvements, unfortunately over time the symptoms returned sometimes worse than before...
So the dance began!
After many months of trying different dosages of medications to find the right mix to balance the brain chemistry, I am now at the point where I am having more good days than bad, somedays, I am even able to get into the studio and try to do some work, although I have had to develop some new techniques to achieve what used to come so easily and naturally to me. Holding brushes is still difficult and my confidence has suffered.
The good news is that I feel I am improving, and I hope that over time I will get some 'normality' back to my creative and personal life.
I know that many people are much worse than I am, dealing with severe debilitation, I have so much to be thankful for, in particular my loving, supportive, nurturing and wonderful partner Lorraine, and my wonderful and caring doctors.
"Nocturne-Irises 1" - Oil on Paper- in progress
In the studio today: My first real effort at painting since my Parkinson's diagnosis. After finding a technique that was comfortable and that I was happy with...I am pleased with progress.
I am feeling very tired and shaky, but happy to have made it through.
November / December 2018