I felt I needed to take every measure I could to reduce chronic stress. I always been a good sleeper yet there was a background of anxiety. Of course, this is a Catch-22 because the disease itself is threatening.
I felt I needed to redefine my purpose and goals. Part of the Catch-22 is to stop the need to do more, rather than enjoy the simple things that are free. Walking in Kew Gardens. Sharing my life with Helen, family and friends with enjoyment. More fun. Play the ukulele in a group! And I find there is a group at the Avenue club on a Friday. Will I have the courage to join it with slightly clumsy hands. On the ‘use it or lose it’ basis should I be using voice recognition rather than trying to slowly touch type? (I was a speedy touch-typer learning, as the only man in a group of women when I was 21 years of age, to a background of a military march: ‘Colonel Bogey’.)
I added approaches included yoga, mindfulness and a breath exercise that increases relaxation and reduces the (over)drive system with slow breathing. My Mindful Breathing Meditation practice is on YouTube.
I have found amazing resources that I was not told about with the Parkinson’s Specialist Nurses in Winchester before the move five months ago to Kew. Here we have Neda Rahmani-Khezri – a Parkinson’s Nurse Specialist. She is kind, skilled and able to tap in to resources such as Integrated Neurological Services based in Twickenham. They offer a whole range of special classes and include counselling for patients and relatives, balance classes and tai chi as well as occupational therapy. For developing my balance, I am continuing PD Warrior exercises as an important stabiliser.
Parkinson’s UK provides a forum for patients and relatives to gather together for social activities and in Winchester this is vibrant. I found that group support was very helpful before I moved to Kew.
I am now meeting new friends in the Parkinson’s UK group within the Kew and Richmond area. As well as the resources of the Avenue Club run from St Luke’s Church. Amazing what you find when you look.
For me, the ongoing stresses of living with PD are diminished by social support when I feel empowered rather than dependent. I sense that my internal stress is settling. I sleep much better and can walk to 14 k briskly. I enjoyed two sets of brisk tennis two days ago. My social network is expanding and I am receiving many interesting responses to my blog pages that I enjoy writing.
In the next blog I will try and summarise what I think helps and hinders keeping well with PD. However I am unique and there is no one way. My life is a journey and I’m still on my way.