I have never feared PD because it actually made my life easier.
I had the obvious motor symptoms for 6 years before diagnosis, by that time I had significant loss of movement on my right side; right arm useless, foot dragging and tremor when stressed.
I struggled on, still working at full capacity in the commercial department of a large engineering consultant, unable to write with a pen, typing and using a mouse with my good left hand. I had changed jobs to improve my career prospects, so I was working outside my comfort zone; I had also embarked on a HNC qualification, a precursor to a degree. I was doing really well; Project Managers looked to me for advice and gave good reports to my manager.
Everything was going great except I was falling apart physically and mentally. My physical difficulties made it harder to do my job, which led to longer hours and more stress. The work often involved confrontation, dealing with belligerent contractors etc; I found this set off anxiety leading me to avoiding tasks I didn’t like. This led to more stress, a vicious circle.
When I was diagnosed it dawned on me that I would not be expected to have to deal with these problems.
It was a huge weight off my mind. PD had actually improved my life!
At the time I didn’t realise that the non motor symptoms were caused by PD, I thought it was just me not coping.
I was off loading work and responsibility which made me feel guilty.
It is only now, 10 years later, that I can look back and see how much I was affected by the non motor symptoms.
Reflecting on this has made me wonder:
Imagine there was a magic pill or process that permanently returned our motor functions but not the cognitive processes.
We could move, like every one else but we still think and act like parkies, without the influence of drugs of dopamergenic drugs of course.
We would still have the anxiety, depression, lack of concentration, insomnia, mood swings, apathy etc. and obviously we would still require treatment for those problems.
How would the public see us now that we can move freely?
Would we still be considered disabled and entitled to benefits?
We could become considered in the same way as ME sufferers, ridiculed as lazy, workshy etc
Something that we may need to consider, should there be a breakthrough in treatment of the motor symptoms.