About me

I have been writing poetry and stories since I was a child, and a love of reading was instilled in me from an early age. I am passionate about writing, and hope you enjoy the books I have written. Whilst most of you sleep soundly in your beds, like many Parkinson’s patients, insomnia dictates, so during those hours that sleep eludes me, the house is tranquil and quiet, an atmosphere perfect to immerse myself in writing. My life has been a series of strange events, which have without doubt contributed to my creativity. To publish anything is to bear one’s soul to the world. It is to stand naked and let everyone see who you really are. I have poured my heart and soul out on paper and I hope to share this journey, immersing you in a story, capturing your attention and firing the imagination. Through my writing and public speaking I hope to bring greater awareness to the general public about living with chronic disease.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Side Effects

Most Parkinson’s patients, generally take a cocktail of pills every day; each medication with its own peculiar and varied side effects. If you’ve ever taken the time to read the paper inside the box of any medication, the long worrying list of possible side effects, is enough to scare and put anyone off from taking them at all. Yet we know the pharmaceutical companies are merely covering their well-padded behinds, should one patient in thousands happen to suffer serious consequences due to taking a particular drug.

After having an interesting and thought provoking discussion with fellow sufferers, we were pretty much in agreement that many symptoms of the disease itself, are pretty much the same as the side effects of certain medications. The question was then raised as to how does one know, what symptoms are caused by the disease itself and which are a result of side effects from the medications?

To give you an example; fatigue is a common symptom of Parkinson’s, yet is also mentioned as a side effect on some Parkinson’s medications!  In my opinion, the bottom line is – that it’s not possible to know. Therefore if it is not clear what is the cause of fatigue, dizziness etc., how can a neurologist effectively treat a patient? In other words; what is worse, suffering the symptoms of Parkinson’s or the side effects of the medications? 

Wishing you all happy holidays, seasonal greetings, and invite you to read my article "There's No Room At The Inn" in The Huffington Post.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Vitamin D

During the cold winter months, most of us are wrapped up and keep warm inside, barley stepping outside to face the elements. If you live in a country like England, where you’d be lucky to see some sunshine in the summer, the winter days are grey and dull. Getting one’s intake of vitamin D naturally, from direct exposure to sunlight, can be difficult when living in a country where there is little sun, especially during the colder months.

Vitamin D is imperative to us all, and a deficiency can cause various health issues such as depression, aches in joints and bones and muscle weakness. Having Parkinson, living with an array of symptoms, I believe in doing all I can to help ease my condition. I have been taking vitamin D drops every morning for several years which hopefully tops up my natural intake from time I spend in the garden in natural sunlight.

Vitamin D plays an important role in order for the nervous system to function properly. Vitamin D, particularly from natural exposure to sunlight has been linked to levels of the neurotransmitter: serotonin, which is responsible for regulating our mood. When we are low on serotonin due to little sunlight and low levels of vitamin D, we are all at higher risk of experiencing depression.

At a recent appointment, my neurologist suggested checking my Vitamin D, and having now received the results, I was pleased to see that the levels are good. If you haven’t been checked for Vitamin D levels, it’s worthwhile finding out - it's just a simple blood test.

One needs a great deal of physical and emotional strength to deal with bureaucracy when living with chronic disease. A recent incident prompted me to write “Fighting For Your Rights” in my latest Huffington Post article.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Battling in the Trenches

Its 02:00 and wide awake – what awoke us? I’m not entirely sure. Battle weary, fatigue accompanies us wherever we go. So here we sit, Parkinson’s and me, alone in the trenches almost accustomed to each other’s company over the years, yet we are not allies. Far from it, we are mortal enemies, forced together against our will. 

One needs to dig deep to find the strength to continue battling daily. How did Parkinson’s and I end up in the same trench? I have no idea. My fingers tap consistently from the resting tremor, as if sending out a message in Morse code; H – hotel, E – echo, L – Lima – P – papa. HELP! I’m calling for help – but no one can hear.

No matter what the disease, despite having support, when awake in the middle of the night, unable to sleep, these are the worst and loneliest times. Dark thoughts lurk in the shadows of our subconscious, and only with strong determination, focusing on positive and hopeful beliefs, will these unpleasant feelings dissipate. During the day, the battleground appears less treacherous, and I’m kept busy with physiotherapy, exercise, voice therapy, writing and campaigning or any number of other daily activities that help keep Parkinson’s at bay.

So to all you Parkinson soldiers out there, who fight every day, keep up your guard, don’t let your defenses down for a moment. With millions of sufferers around the world, we are like a mighty army; in numbers we have strength, and together we will prevail. What keeps me going you may ask, and the answer is simple - trying to maintain a positive attitude and a sense of humour. These are two powerful weapons that help me get through each day. Laughter, as silly as it may sound, is a forceful shield against Parkinson’s. After watching the comedian, Michael McIntyre I was inspired to write about laughter which is my topic this week in The Huffington Post.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Happy Pills

Keeping active and busy helps take one’s mind off being ill. Whether it’s a job, hobby, or if you’re a little obsessive like me, spending hours every day campaigning for something you’re passionate about. I refuse to sit quietly in the corner holding my very own pity party and feeling sorry for myself. That approach isn’t going to help me, and most certainly would be detrimental to my family.

It’s odd how growing up in a family with four older siblings; under one roof, same parents, identical environmental surroundings, yet each of us have different natures and are totally individual. This begs the question as to what makes some siblings inherently cheerful and others morose, when brought up together under the same circumstances. Is being cheerful actually in our DNA? Could there be something in the brain that makes us naturally positive or negative in character? Perhaps there is a happy gene!   

If there is such a thing, then I guess I’m lucky in possessing the “happy gene” which gets me out of bed and through each day. Although there is no medical proof of such a gene, it’s the term my family have adopted to explain how I keep remarkably cheerful despite living with chronic ill health. I was amused to see that someone thinks along these lines and has come up with a novel idea; in a shopping mall, we came across a stall selling sweets. Their brightly coloured jelly beans were packaged in little boxes resembling first aid kits labelled “Happy Pills”! 

Have you ever had surgery? Most of us have at some time or other, and like all things, it comes down to how you handle situations. This is where I find having a sense of humour a tremendous help. My article this week in The Huffington Post focuses on 'the night before' surgery.