30 Days of Parkinson’s: I Consult the ‘Warriors’ Survival Guide

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30 Days of Parkinson's

Photo courtesy of Chris Duffy

Day 24 of 30

This is Chris Duffy’s story:

I’ve been diagnosed nearly three years so cannot claim to be an expert — but I have used my time constructively, trying to gain as much information from other sufferers as I possibly could. 

This becomes a survival strategy, looking for success stories. Because we are human, we cannot help comparing our own situation with that of others in a similar position or diagnosed at around the same time. This is, of course, a ludicrous logic, because as we all know, everyone is different. 

When I was first diagnosed, following two years of treatment for muscular pain in my back and shoulder, I withdrew from social encounters with friends. It took a lot of encouragement from my wife to persuade me to get involved with working-age groups and to touch base with other Parkinson’s patients from all walks of life. I’m glad I did. 

These are people with jobs, families, and mortgages, who despite their difficulties, got on with life — and like Nike proposed, “Just do it.” Many said, “I have Parkinson’s. It does not have me.” This I at first viewed as rhetoric. But I soon came to understand that these people are — because of their mental toughness — inspirational and eminently brave. 

I find that the best way to navigate this anathema is a tough mindset. It was this that my Parkinson’s brothers and sisters taught me above all. 

I’m still working, albeit from home, but consider myself to be very lucky. Just like many Parkinson’s warriors, I find myself wide awake at some unearthly hour. I use this time to clear my mind and prepare for the day. 

I often play music while in my home office, and one day I heard the song “You Gotta Be,” by Des’ree, which somehow spoke to me. 

I invite you to listen. The chorus goes: 

“You gotta be bad, you gotta be bold
You gotta be wiser, you gotta be hard.” 

Parkinson’s News Today’s 30 Days of Parkinson’s campaign will publish one story per day for Parkinson’s Awareness Month in April. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this, using the hashtag #30DaysofPAR, or go here to see the full series.