How did you accept the diagnosis so well? How are you so positive and driven?
These are the questions I have been asked a few times over the last 12 months since diagnosis; but really what’s the alternative? Sit and wallow in self-pity? Be defeated from day 1 and lock myself away and wait for the ‘pesky p’ to take control?
Don’t get me wrong I have crumbled many a time and literally been curled up on the floor sobbing until I my bones ached some more asking ‘why me?’. It is important to allow yourself to do this as this is normal and certainly made me feel better, releasing some anger and frustration and not bottling it all up; as it isn’t going to go away. So, don’t beat yourself up for feeling this way and succumbing to the negativity from time to time.
“Being positive doesn’t mean ignoring the negative. Being positive means overcoming the negative”
Life is so precious and is for living to the full as much as we can; we take our health for granted and often abuse it but this is part of living life and growing up – I won’t go in to detail about my late teens/early twenties and my ability to drink most men under the table!!! Nowadays I can’t handle the 3-day hangover and only need a couple of glasses to feel tipsy/more wobbly than normal, hey another positive there; cheap date now!
After getting over the initial shock of the diagnosis I very quickly had to decide whether to ‘Fight or Flight?’ I had to try and stop focusing on all the things that I couldn’t/struggled to do and that I may or may not be able to do in the future (I am still working on this) and focus on what I had in my life and the things I could do; what was in my control? On some parts having Parkinson’s Disease at such a young age and at the most hectic and stressful point in most people’s lives (working parent of 2 young kids and a mortgage/bills to pay etc.) is hard and full of challenges to try balance and juggle everything with the added struggles of ill health thrown into the mix. However, it also has its advantages; my boys get me up and out of bed each day (at a ridiculously early hour normally) I rarely get time to dwell and they force me to try and set a good example; to be a fighter and remain motivated.
So, what could I control? My desire to learn new things and one day have my own little business; I came across Tropic Skincare which offers natural vegan and cruelty free skincare and cosmetics (which for us parkies it is key to try and reduce our exposure to chemicals as it is understood this may be a contributing factor to the cause) so after using the products I decided to become an Ambassador (shameless plug www.tropicskincare.com/charlottechen) I also had a keen interest in holistic therapies so I have recently qualified in Reflexology and Indian Head Massage and hope to be ready to begin offering these treatments soon.
The biggest change and decision I have made was to accept voluntary redundancy from my 12 and half year career in the banking industry; I was seriously struggling with managing the fatigue/med side effects and something had to give (I am pretty sure I couldn’t send the kids back!) and needed a better balance between home and work as well as wanting to spend more time with my boys to enjoy them whilst they are little and I am able to be a ‘normal’ Mum. Some may say that the ‘pesky p’ has taken my career but I like to say it has given me a much-needed kick up the bum and presented me with an opportunity to take a leap of faith and a direction I may not have been brave enough to take before (I better get writing a CV and brush up on my interview skills…. gulp!).
Parkinson’s Disease isn’t life threatening but it is life changing and that change is down to you and the choices you make…. what can you change in your life? what have you been putting off until tomorrow?…….DO IT NOW!
Denial: Live like you don’t have the ‘pesky p’ as much as you can…….Who knows what tomorrow will bring but as long as I am able I will live my life as best I can.