Keep On Rolling Along

A few weeks ago I was convinced to try roller-skating. I had been watching my daughter skate around the cul-de-sac where we live and thought it looked like a lot of fun. My son wanted to skate too, and his skates fitted me, so my children suggested I give it a go.

I lasted about five minutes. I was scared, it hurt my legs a bit and I was terrified of falling over. I gave up, citing it wasn’t for me.

Exhilerating Start

Then I discovered my work colleague was going to a skating class each week to learn how to skate for roller-derby. Now. I’m not really that keen on the idea of roller-derby (though I am assured it is great fun and very skilled), but I am keen on trying new things. I especially enjoy new things that I am officially ‘too old’ / ‘too ill’ / ‘too unfit’ for. It seemed like a challenge. I’m up for challenges. My mind said YES! You can do this!
My body rebelled.

Yet I’m a believer in working at things, trying and trying until you succeed. And so, I found myself enrolling in the local roller derby’s ‘Learn to Skate’ class in our local community hall.

The first lesson was fun. There were some people I knew there vaguely from work and networking groups. They had their friends with them and laughed and shrieked. I found it difficult, but I managed to stumble around the hall. By the end of the night I was skating in circles. I didn’t even fall over, unless I was practicing an ‘Oh Crap’ stop.

What could possibly go wrong?!

Incredible Effort

Week two was tougher. We had to learn how to move more. Duck, crouch whilst rolling in a straight line. More how to stop. I was exhausted. The girls from the previous week had gone. There were only about 3 of the original 9 there. The more experienced skaters, the ones who went from roller derby each week were amazing. How they could skip across the floor and twist, turn and hop on their skates was so impressive. Meanwhile I managed to thump across the floor and barely pick myself up when I practiced the stops.

My knee was still giving me gyp. (‘Playing up’ for you non-Northerners.) I only practiced some of the exercises we were shown as I was worried about hurting myself. I couldn’t work out if I enjoyed it or not.

The next two weeks I couldn’t go. First because I’d been ice-skating that day and was utterly exhausted, and the next week because I was worried about my knees.

My knees. The left one has been playing up ever since I did some yoga. I have mentioned this before. So much for exercise huh? I already know there is no point in going to the doctor. ‘Oh yes, Ms Fitton. You have Parkinson’s’. What do you expect? Go away and die quietly please.’

Yorkshire Grit

Yet I am from Yorkshire. (I may have mentioned this before.) We are made of stern stuff. I therefore decided to do something positive about the situation. Off I went to a local private gym that specialises in rehabilitation. It’s going to be expensive. It’s going to be painfully expensive. (Well I am Northern – we don’t like spending money unless we absolutely have to.) I am kind of cross that I don’t get any help with the cost. I am kind of angry on some level that because I do as much as I can to support myself, my family and remain healthy I’m viewed as not requiring any assistance. I feel penalised for pushing myself to the limit of what I can do whilst I see others doing nothing and receiving handouts. Yet that rant is for another day. Today I am positive and I will spend the hundreds it costs for the help that I need.

Yorkshire. It’s just better.

I will do this because despite it all I must fight to keep my health. Nobody else will do it for you. Not only do you fight to find the time, the means (in my case the money), but we also fight the internal apathy many of us feel. It’s easy to be apathetic when you have a degenerative incurable disease. The whole world gives you tea and sympathy and there, there, there. We must pick ourselves up time and again. Our never ending fight for physical movement.

Secret to Success

Which brings me neatly back to roller skating. Not easy for me, but I must not benchmark myself by the others I meet. I must remember that for a woman of my age I’m doing pretty bloody well. The feeling of euphoria as I actually manage to whizz across the floor without falling flat on my face is wonderful. The increase in my fitness through the by-product of really quite hard mobility exercise. I still don’t like falling over. That is scary and it’s difficult to get up. Getting up is hard. Yet it’s becoming easier as I gain strength through the work I’m doing.

That’s it really. Keep it up. Never give in, never surrender. It’s hard. It’s so freaking hard. But the alternative is so much bleaker. Wouldn’t you rather go shrieking with laughter on roller-skates than quietly in a corner wrapped in a blanket?

Over to You

What do you do to keep yourself going? Any top tips for motivation? They don’t need to be Parkinson’s related. I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Until next time.


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2 thoughts on “Keep On Rolling Along”

  1. I too pay to make my PD daily life ok. I pay for a Private Gym and my GP applied for a tiny bit of home help but because I can shower and dress myself I don’t qualify..all I wanted was someone to come and change my bed and vacuum once a week. I got told you will need to go Private. I had an appointment last week with Wellington Hospital Orthopedics to get some much needed help for a debilitating pain in my lower back only to be told WE CAN’T HELP YOU. Basically got told it’s your age, a bit of Arthritis and wait for it PARKINSON’S. Now I’m going have to pay for a second opinion as I can’t live with this DEBILITATING PAIN 😡🥹

    • Hi, thank you so much for your comment, it really is frustrating. I hope you manage to find some relief soon. Take care and don’t give in! Kitty. x


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