Briony Cooke

Briony Cooke

I experienced the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease (PD) during my 40s and was diagnosed in 2000 at the age of 47. At the time I worked as a lecturer in a further education college where I was in charge of geography and environmental sciences, and was Senior Tutor to 250 students. I also held the post of Deputy Chief Examiner in geography for the International Baccalaureate and ran training courses for teachers in Africa, the Middle East and Europe. I worked with PD for 6 years and finally retired in 2006. Since retiring, I have setup a support group for those with young onset Parkinson’s in the Reading area. I write in my spare time and have published three geography textbooks.

I have three grown-up children who have all left home and I live with my husband, two fat cats and five tortoises. My hobbies are photography, gardening and breeding tortoises and my philosophy is: “there’s no time like the present”.

Briony Cooke

Deep Brain Stimulation

17 April 2014 by Briony Cooke

This week I spent two days in hospital being assessed for Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery. The first day involved psychological assessment and the second day observations and videoing of my condition when I am off and on my medication. The purpose was to ensure that my symptoms would respond to surgery and that I […]

Briony Cooke

Becoming a Grandmother

13 March 2014 by Briony Cooke

The most important event this year has been the arrival of our first grandchild – a boy born in mid-February. At 8 o’clock one Tuesday evening our son called us to say they were at the hospital, but the birth wasn’t going to happen quickly. Of course I didn’t sleep at all; it was a mixture of excitement and thrill about seeing this new member of the family and worry about the delivery.

Briony Cooke


17 February 2014 by Briony Cooke

For many of us January is a grim month of reflection rather than hope, and we resolve to give up those things we enjoy but do us no good. My resolution is always to give up chocolate, and every year I fail.

Briony Cooke

Singing for the Brain

17 January 2014 by Briony Cooke

When I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) nearly 14 years ago, I started medication within six months. Since then I have begun to realise that medication alone cannot adequately control the symptoms of PD: it is much more complicated than that. A more holistic approach is required, which promotes other principles such as maintaining […]

Briony Cooke

Yuletide Challenge

17 December 2013 by Briony Cooke

Having moved house only three months ago, the sensible thing to do would be to have a quiet Christmas enjoying the solitude of this peaceful village. Instead, we are having a frenzy of guests for a period of 10 days, peaking at 14 on Christmas Day. They are coming from far and wide and some […]

Briony Cooke

The T Lady

3 December 2013 by Briony Cooke

I am enjoying life in this Oxfordshire village, and have got to know our neighbours and some members of the choir that I have recently joined. As a newcomer, I have had to introduce myself many times, and this has made me re-examine how I perceive my identity and how I should describe myself to […]

Briony Cooke

Looking on the Bright Side

30 October 2013 by Briony Cooke

When I was first diagnosed with Parkinson’s 13 years ago I had a chat with the Leader of the local support group who said that whatever I did I must stay optimistic as a way of accepting my condition. Instead of asking myself “Why me?”, I should ask myself “Why not me?” At the time, […]

Briony Cooke

Town and Country

3 October 2013 by Briony Cooke

Moving day was memorable for the remarkable amount of stuff we had to cram into two removal vans, the docile cooperation of our many pets and how my Parkinson’s did not interfere. It was inevitable that I would be involved in shifting and lifting, but to help with this and avoid back strain I used […]

Briony Cooke

The Waiting Game

10 September 2013 by Briony Cooke

Patience is a virtue that I lack; I cannot tolerate waiting and queuing even less. I will stand in a state of agitation waiting in the post office queue wondering if the adjacent queue is moving faster than mine. I like to think that this intolerance is someone else’s fault. Perhaps I could blame it […]

Briony Cooke

Shell Shock

15 August 2013 by Briony Cooke

Distraction and diversion are good ways of keeping my mind off Parkinson’s and this month has been a frenzy of activity. Not only are we getting ready to move house the first time in 15 years, but to our amazement our female tortoise’s eggs, which were laid on May 10th have hatched. Over the last […]

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