About 6 years ago at age 50 I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s and had to give up work. The disease progressed and about 4 years ago I could barely walk across a room. It was hard to control my balance and gait, standing still was difficult and my body was subject to cramping and tremors. Even my speech was affected. The future looked bleak.
Now I feel extremely fortunate. I have been working with a highly experienced medical team: a doctor I trust, a neurologist who is a specialist in movement disorders and two nurses who work with him. At different times in different ways they, and others, have made a huge contribution to my becoming and remaining very active today. Crucially I have been working with a rehabilitation trainer, Tom Reynolds.
In simplistic terms, the key to my return to activity seems to be the right mindset, the right medication and the right physical interventions.
The medication – something I resisted so strongly – enables me to function and participate but my body had been constrained for so long that it needed to relearn how to communicate with its parts and systems.
In September 2018, I started to work with Tom and he has transformed the way my body moves. Tom has made a huge difference in my life – in fact he has helped me reclaim much of the quality and joy of living and being active. In 2 years he has taken me from the Before video, which shows a hop assessment to test my ability for forward movement – to the After video, taken a couple of weeks ago and showing me sprinting at 80% capacity.
Tom is superb at reading my body and energy, understanding its needs and processes and knowing how to challenge my mind and move my body past its current limitations. We’ve made great progress.
Since this first Before video was taken, Tom and I have had 2 training sessions per week for two years moving to 3 sessions for the last couple of months. One of the most powerful things Tom has done is to introduce me to Be Activated about 8 months ago which has made me more physically stable, coordinated, resilient and stronger. We work on activating the diaphragm release, jaw points, glutes, lower back, hips and ankles. It is an amazing system and it supercharges everything else we do. I wish everyone who works with a person with Parkinson’s had access to this.
I still have a long way to go – and I am still taking medication every day – but I have gone from hopping tentatively forward to sprinting, and I love it! Now, I hope to compete…not against people with Parkinson’s but against ‘normal’ people…and I intend to win.