This is my smile!
Ester was diagnosed with Parkinson's just over two years ago at 47. This year, Ester is an ambassador and together with her family, the face of A Walk in the Park 2016.
"Don’t look so serious”, my mother in law said, “smile for the camera”.
“This is my smile” I replied. It’s fair to say that the camera and I are no longer friends.
I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s just over two years ago at 47. The diagnosis took 30 minutes, quick and simple. So many of what I thought were isolated health concerns, now had a name. I’d originally been diagnosed with Essential Tremors, but after taking medications that were not helping for 18 long months, I was grateful for a diagnosis and a way forward. Many thought I was too young to have Parkinson’s. “But what about Michael J Fox?” I would say, “the actor was diagnosed much younger than me”.
I’m a mum with three daughters and a husband, a beautiful home, and Ginger, the ever adorable poodle. Slowly, Parkinson’s tightened its grip on me and I had no choice but to leave the job I loved to focus on my health. Sometimes, I had so little energy I could not take Ginger for a walk or manage everyday household chores. It was pretty tough.
Last year was my first A Walk in the Park and I was amazed to see so many people involved. I felt less like I had Parkinson’s and more like I was part of one big family.
In May, I had Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery. It wasn’t great to shave my hair off, and really, I needed DBS like a hole in the head! But you know, apparently a hole in the head is exactly what I needed. My only hope is that DBS does its job, so I can return to mine.
In the meantime, and a good many novels later (I’m a real James Paterson fan!) I look forward to A Walk in the Park in August. I’m amazed that Fight Parkinson’s chose my family to be the ‘face of the campaign’ – it’s funny to see our faces everywhere!
If it weren’t for DBS, I doubt I would have had the energy to walk this year. Instead, I’m more excited than ever to be walking and fundraising, with energy to spare. Each day, I’m increasing the time I spend on my indoor bike….and each day I increase my positive outlook on the future.