No Thanks For The Memories
Good old Facebook, always there, ready to surprise you with that memory option. I was going to write about feminism, nothing to do with Parkinson's at all. I can hear some sighs already. Don't worry. Facebook put paid to that as it reminded me six years ago I visited the hospital for the first time to try to find out what was happening to me.
Ah. Hindsight. Isn't it great? I was full of optimism that day. I always tell my children that the doctor isn't to be feared. They're there to set your mind at rest. Most of time they're simply confirming your suspicion that rest and a bit of gentle exercise will sort everything out.
Most of the time.
Post from 21st March 2016 - still hopeful there's nothing seriously wrong.
Here We Go Again
I remember being asked yet again to walk up and down. I remember being stared at serioiusly and feeling rather strange. I could tell they were looking for something. The 'big doctor' was called in too and they muttered in a corner. I asked them what they thought was wrong with me. I was asked "Mrs Fitton, what do YOU think is wrong with you?" I didn't know.
I cheerily posted on social media that I would need an MRI but I was well on my way to answers and a full recovery.
Yet: I'd seen something in that doctor's face. He'd been a little too intense, a little too serious, a little too hesitant to answer my question. He'd given me nothing. That told me;
A He knew what was wrong but didn't want to scare me.
B He suspected a number of things but didn't want to scare me
C He had no clue, and didn't want to scare me.
With the value of hindsight, I strongly suspect A as an option. It's almost laughable now to think that I had no clue myself. I'm an intelligent woman, I'd not googled my symptoms. Honest. If I had I would have instantly seen that I was going to be dead in a few days. I had seen the word "Parkinson's" but it meant nothing to me. It's something that happens to other people, old people. I mean very old people, not women who are only 41. Isn't it an elderly disease that makes you twitch or something?
Yet there it was all the time. I think about how I described it to the doctor. I often wonder if he secretly knew. Was it kinder to not tell me? Probably yes. It could have been something harmless I suppose. Or perhaps even something worse.
Don't Look Back in Anger
When I reflect on the last six years I realise that my diagnosis sent me on a whole new path. I didn't want to walk it, but actually it's been jam-packed with life. I've learned to fly, I headed a team of people in Scouts NZ that helped teach other young people not only aviation, but outdoor activities and life skills. I have spoken at events, I've started a business. I've made friends literally all over the globe and am in better shape physically now than I was at diagnosis. The end of my marriage was not so great, yet I need to spread my wings again and live, really live. I can't spend my active, able years sat about watching television. Not when there are mountains to climb, rivers to swim in and nights around campfires to be enjoyed with my children.
I'm scared of course. I'm too lazy to be excellent at my daily physio, though indeed I persist. I realise with genuine terror as much as I dislike it, it's a huge reason why I'm still able to move this well at all. It's highly likely I'd be in a much worse position if I'd not persevered as much as I have.
Someone commented that Parkinson's was the best thing that ever happened to me. I'm inclined to agree on some level. I often joke that everyone needs their own incurable degenerative disease. There's nothing like a quick reminder that we're not infallible and we have to honestly live each day like the last. Well. We need to be sensible of course. Don't go frittering all your savings away. But wear the best clothes, use the fine china. Live your life, really squeeze every last drop out, make the mundane fun. Enjoy every moment. Most importantly, tell those you care about how much you love them, hold them tight and cherish those times together.
Until next time, Kitty.
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I am Kitty Fitton. I'm a motivational speaker, MC and occasional comedian. I am also an aspiring blogger and writer. I'm mother to four small people and was very cross to discover I had Parkinson's Disease.
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