The Seven Year Itch

Posted: March 1, 2011By: Chris Boughton

Saturday was the 7th anniversary of my Parkinson’s disease (PD) diagnosis and I definitely have the seven year itch! But unfortunately I cannot get divorced from PD or even arrange a trial separation, so until a cure is found it is here to stay. In reality PD has been part of my life for much longer than seven years. I can recall struggling on the golf course going back at least 10 years ago, despite taking plenty of physical exercise at the time (swimming, badminton, 5-a-side football and hiking). In fact if I want to be really paranoid I can trace symptoms back much further than that. But my relationship with PD has improved over that seven year period, particularly emotionally and mentally. Most of the time now I have come to terms with it and whilst I certainly do not give in to it, I have learnt to accommodate its unattractive ways.

I have discovered over the past four years that engaging other PD patients via social media outlets like forums and Facebook can be both cathartic and wonderfully distracting. This has been further enhanced by writing this fortnightly blog. At the beginning of January this year my wife suggested I take this a stage further by keeping a private daily blog. I was reluctant to start with, fearing that it might be both depressing to write and reread. But I have found myself writing mostly positive things about each day. I make passing references to any particular PD symptom that may have impeded my day but I don’t dwell on the negatives. What has been particularly interesting is how attractive my days often look when I read them back. My days no longer revolve around golf, fishing, travelling and my career and consequently my social network has radically changed. But my life is now much more family orientated and not just because of the arrival of my grandson 20 months ago. Between us my wife and I have five children, three grandchildren, three surviving parents plus four brothers and sisters and their offspring. Add to that our long term friends who have stood the PD test of time and a wide network of new PD friends and my social interaction is no less than it ever was. Even when I am stuck at home alone there are always plenty of ways of communicating and interacting with the outside world.

A blog entry from last week……..

  • “Very Parky today but despite that a lovely day:
  • Morning dog walk around the village, very cold but invigorating.
  • No1 son + grandson here for lunch, dog very jealous of attention going elsewhere.
  • Afternoon dog walk in Kings Forest, wind whistling through the top of the trees.
  • No2 son and his best mate joined us for evening pub quiz; pub was packed, great atmosphere, (we came 3rd, so no disgrace).
  • In between these events I did further work on angling web site I am building for a local club and found time for the odd forum post (odd being the operative word) and Facebook and Twitter catch up.”

Hindsight is a wonderful thing but if I could go back seven years I would embrace the itch sooner rather than try to scratch it!

My six-monthly appointment with the neurologist is next week and I am currently contemplating how to approach this. No doubt I will turn up with my typed agenda and my updated symptom spread sheet as I always do. But I will also go with a much more positive state of mind that the blogging has definitely given me ( blogs, our holiday blogs and my new daily blogs).

25th February 2011

Chris Boughton

Chris Boughton

I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease (PD) in February 2004 at the age of 51 having experienced undiagnosed symptoms for at least 4 years prior to that. My wife and I have five adult children and three grandchildren. We are fortunate in that we live in a lovely rural part of the east of England, with King’s Forest situated nearby for my much needed, therapeutic dog walks. I spent most of my working life involved in electronic, mechanical manufacturing management within the Worldwide Broadcasting industry and I am extremely lucky to have travelled extensively through my work. Since I was diagnosed I have dedicated much of my time to researching all aspects of PD and trying to both support others with this illness and raise the profile of PD. As well as writing a blog on this website, I administer an internet patient forum for people with PD which I set up in September 2008 and it currently has over 150 members. I also administer the forum’s Facebook, Friends Reunited and Twitter pages. My younger son recently ran in a half marathon race to raise funds for the Cure Parkinson’s Trust. I am currently studying for a BA (Hons) in English and History as a mature student.

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