It’s been eight weeks today since I evolved from Minor Celebrity Who Is Shit at Tasks, to Minor Celebrity with Parkinson’s.
The first thing to say is that going public was a massive weight off my shoulders. No pun intended. Looking back, it is quite clear that in the two weeks between first being diagnosed, and going public I had something of a shut down. Not least during the Champions League Final when Liverpool’s two goals had me struggling to get off the sofa to celebrate.
But things are different now. The overwhelming level of support from friends, strangers, family has been a massive emotional boost. Having a medical background means I have never been short of medic friends to guide me towards the right decisions. I had a mountain of comedy gigs and Chases to get through and it has been fine. And I’m delighted to say that my quiz results have been excellent.
I have also started writing routines about it all. It’s not necessarily easy to listen to, and it can be a bit brutal, but it’s my job as a comedian to be funny and honest, and I’m not about to stop trying now. It’s going very well so far.
As for the media, some outlets have been better than others at giving me some space. All have promised to deal with it with “tact and sensitivity” , yet some of them can’t even deal with my agent with “tact and sensitivity” As yet I have not dipped my toes, because I’ve been busy with work, but rest assured if your newspaper has a track record of demonising immigrants, demonising gay rights, or telling lies about Hillsborough, you’re not likely to get an interview. If your TV show lost its shit over a vegan sausage roll, I’m not convinced you’re ready to discuss a progressive neurodegenerative disease. Though my biggest disappointment was the Daily Star front page lead which used a photo of me from before I lost 2 1/2 stone. Brutal.
Although I reserve my right to be choosy, I’m comfortable for the public to follow my fight. I’d like to be an unofficial mascot for Living Your Life. With two elderly parents, and a severely autistic nephew, I’m only the fourth most unwell member of my immediate family. This helps prevent me descending into self pity, and perhaps more importantly self pity won’t help my health.
Happiness helps my health. And for me that is drinking and dining, the company of friends, family and engaging strangers, and striving to be as good as possible at my two beloved jobs. Comedy and Quizzing. As long as the rest of my life is mostly that, then quite frankly Parkinson’s can go f**k itself.
Live your life.