On Saturday, 21st March, Mum was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. She’s 52.
In fairness, it wasn’t entirely unexpected; we were just optimistic. Finding out wasn’t a problem- or perhaps I’m still digesting the news. Parkinson’s isn’t considered fatal, but now I have to acknowledge that my whole future must be constructed to revolve around my mother and finding her the right care. For someone who wants to spend her life travelling the world, it’s a weird feeling to have.
I’m not angry (yet). I’m not even upset (yet). But for some reason, I’m just disappointed. I’ve spent the huge majority of my life in one place, the same streets and same walls. I’ve seen neighbours come and go, promised to keep in touch when friends moved away; I’ve seen buildings knocked down to give way to new offices, sleek with futuristic glass panels and contemporary designs.
The thought of staying here for the rest of my life makes me nauseous.
Then, of course, there’s dealing with the illness itself. I’m a quick reader, and already I feel like I’ve scoured the internet for any information- research and theories, homoeopathy treatments and different types of medicine… With each story, I can’t help but superimpose Mum into them instead. To be honest, the more I read, the more terrified I get.
The thing about hereditary illnesses is that a diagnosis for one family member means a potential diagnosis for everyone else, too. In thirty years time, perhaps I will be going through the exact same thing my mother is experiencing now. Or maybe my brother will. Maybe my cousin’s baby, barely two years old, will have to decide how to best care for her mother as I am deciding now. Who knows?
That’s what I hate most about Parkinson’s- the unpredictability. Some people deteriorate quickly, some are able to live with it for decades. I can only pray that Mum is one of the latter.
*A single red tulip is generally used as symbol to represent Parkinson’s disease.