On the evening of Thursday May 30th, an experienced consultant neurologist calmly informed me that I had Parkinson’s disease. It was a devastating denouement to a medical odyssey that began in September 2017 with a sudden-onset, frozen right shoulder, and took in an unexpected diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes, a lifestyle transformation that enabled me to lose two stone, and a shoulder operation in January this year.
Nonetheless my reaction was not one of shock. I spent May this year in New Zealand simultaneously having the comedy month of my life, and worrying about why a right-sided limp was now getting worse. Behind the facade of the cheerful, late night comedy festival drunk was a man deeply scared about facing the truth when back in the UK.
It has been a really, really tough two weeks. Cancelling my run at the Edinburgh Fringe, missing the World Quizzing Championships to have brain scans, performing club sets whilst emotionally bewildered, and of course working my way through my loved ones, delivering the bad news. With the diagnosis now confirmed, and a treatment plan in place, I now feel far more prepared for the new challenges ahead. I have an amazing family, no strangers to serious medical illness, I’m blessed to have a fiance who is there for me, and I have a multitude of friends and colleagues whom I consider to be exceptional human beings. I don’t consider myself unlucky, and whatever the next stage of my life holds for me, many others have it far worse.
In the time since my Parkinson’s started I have been ludicrously busy, and fully intend to keep Chasing, keep writing and performing comedy, keep quizzing and keep being hopeless at Tasks. Dancing on Ice is, I suspect, out of the question.
A lot of people have asked “What can I do to help ?” The answer is to treat me exactly the same as before.
Much love, Paul