I talk about Parkinson’s, not for sympathy but for understanding
I believe I have come a long way since 1987; from refusing to acknowledge Parkinson’s disease, I now try to tell other people what it is like to live with a chronic neurological condition. Not for sympathy but for understanding.
Since he took up marathon running in 1991, Terry has run 18 marathons and raised over £50,000 for Parkinson’s disease.
‘Some people get wrapped in cotton wool, others want to just get on with it. Parkinson’s disease is very individual, and you just have to do what’s right for you,’ he says.
When Terry had his fi rst symptoms of Parkinson’s, he thought the tremor in his left arm was due to a trapped nerve. He was only 46, happily married to wife, Jean, with young children, and he believed that Parkinson’s only affected elderly people. Even after he was diagnosed, he thought there’d been a mistake, as his symptoms were mild:
‘I tried to ignore the symptoms and I now realise that, like most people who are newly diagnosed with Parkinson’s, I was in denial.’
Over the years, Terry’s symptoms have progressed but continue to be largely well controlled by medication. Fine hand movements have become more diffi cult – writing, tying shoelaces, buttoning a shirt – and Terry doesn’t sleep well. But he stays active and doesn’t let Parkinson’s get in the way of family life and the other things he enjoys:
‘I believe I have come a long way since 1987; from refusing to acknowledge Parkinson’s disease, I now try to tell other people what it is like to live with a chronic neurological condition. Not for sympathy but for understanding.’
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