Sunday, 28 June 2015

105. My Essay On The Shaking Palsy

Regular readers will know that my mum has suffered from Parkinson's Disease since 2004 when she first got the symptoms and was eventually diagnosed in 2006. When she was diagnosed, we weren't told much about the condition except the fact that it will get worse with age and it's precisely that fact that has been constantly lingering at the back of my mind for the past decade.

In Avengers: Age of Ultron, there is a scene where Scarlet Witch rips out Ultron's heart with her bare hands and particularly recently, there is nothing more that I've wanted than for Parkinson's to be objectified so I can do the same as her. It was last week when the manager of my mum's carers came to visit that she said something that hit me hard - "Your mum has all of the memories of being able to do things for herself and she's in the same body but can't do those things anymore" and that literally broke my heart. Not only is the past haunting her but also the future whilst she is suffering in the present. When we're all planning out our lives nobody factors in "gradual decrease in mobility, cognition and general quality of life from 40 onwards" or even earlier as early onset cases of Parkinson's are common and account for 15% of all those affected.

This wretched illness tears you apart gradually and it's the false hope it gives you that is most infuriating. Just when you think the doctors have hit the nail on the head with the right dosage of medication and you've reached homeostasis, it strikes again and takes something else away from you. In some cases, people with Parkinson's go onto develop dementia in the later stages of their life usually when it's taken everything else that defined that person as an individual and gave their life meaning. Not only does Parkinson's progressively lead to a decline in the quality of the patient's life but it makes them anxious and their loved ones of what's next and trust me, it's never predictable or simple.

James Parkinson first described the bane of my life in 1817 and almost 200 years later, we're yet to find a cure. Personally, I think the main reason we're struggling to find a cure is because it presents so differently in each person so gene therapy becoming more feasible is probably the most likely option. 

Unfortunately, I can't destroy Parkinson's with my bare hands and cure everyone from it. Trust me, I would even it was made out of graphene and it meant serving a life sentence in Guantanamo Bay before going onto hell. I really hope that I'm still around when they find the cure because that's probably going to be the first day since I was 9 that I feel genuinely happy again.