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Friendship, Parkinsons and Healing

Originally we planned we’d start the new year with a post much earlier than this but something far more important happened.  A very dear long standing friend needed help.

Alison and I have been best friends since we we’re 12 and 13 respectively.  Mandy came to know Ali in our late teens and we have all enjoyed some really good times over the years .

Ali was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease approximately eleven years ago, the day before her 40th birthday ( read her blog – http://www.parkinsonspeople.co.uk ).  Her father had Parkinson’s too so Ali knew what was to come.

Fast forward to present day and after been a little distant over the last few years whilst coming to terms with her diagnosis and what her future might look like, Ali made contact and arrived on my doorstep.  Initially still putting on a sunny smiling face and stating “I’m fine”.  A couple more visits and finally she ‘let me in’. Actually she was very, very poorly and dissolved in front of my eyes.  My oldest friend crumbled and was completely broken.  Talking of not going on and ‘Dignitas’.  It nearly broke my heart as she sobbed and sobbed on my shoulder, unable to see any light in the darkness of her despair.  That weekend we spent mostly at our wonderful local hospital getting her the help she so desperately needed.    And gradually over the last couple of weeks Ali has come back to us, as warm, loving and sunny as before.  Ignoring her sometimes failing body and putting her excellent enquiring mind to work.  Not every day is positive of course but one thing I am confident of is that she knows she will never again have to try and cope on her own.

A few things have helped Alison to heal and look forward again.  Yes good friends to lean on, love, warmth and guidance, the right medication,  but basic principles of nutrition too. I’ve helped Ali to see how living on coffee to get her through the day was directly linked to her inability to sleep at night.  Large amounts of caffeine were leaving her literally ‘wired’ and also horribly de-hydrated. When you are on regular medication like Ali, eating small regular meals, keeping your blood sugar stable is invaluable.  And of course it goes without saying that those meals should be well balanced to ensure she gets all the vitamins and minerals that she needs.  Plenty of water and regular exercise too will help her to manage the symptoms of her condition well. ( More on nutrition and exercise tips for Parkinsons in future posts).

Finally, I feel grateful to have the chance to reciprocate the love and support that Alison has unswervingly shown to me through the ups and downs of my life, enabling me to be the person I am today.

Good friends are hard to find, so when you find one….hang on tight and don’t let go xx

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