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The Next Step for Bill

As Bill went about his daily routine one morning in early October of 2020, he noticed a slight tremor in his hands. Passing this off as an unusual nuisance Bill continued to go about his day, slowly noticing an increasing difficulty when writing and performing everyday jobs with his lefthand.

He wasn’t all that concerned, until his wife pointed out how he had begun to move around in his sleep, acting out his dreams vocally with movements. He also began to grow tired and dizzy during the day, struggling to find the energy to do the things he had always enjoyed.

As time went by and as symptoms continued, Bill visited his local GP who referred him to a neurologist for an MRI scan to try and get to the bottom of what was happening with his health. Upon visiting the neurologist, it became clear that Bill’s symptoms were not a one-off occurrence, and he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.

Parkinson’s Disease, also known as PD, is a disorder that affects the nervous system, causing a degeneration of dopamine which in turn reduces smoothness in movement. While not curable, PD symptoms can be managed, allowing those diagnosed to live a long and healthy life.

Even so, Bill’s world was turned upside down. Having lived a healthy life for over 70 years, this new diagnosis meant he had to begin learning the best approach to deal with his PD.

“I needed an expert’s advice, as what was best for me may not have been the case for others, and vice versa. Well-meaning friends didn’t realise that what worked for them may not be what was best for me,” shared Bill.

To begin his journey of self-discovery, after some research, Bill looked towards joining an exercise program. He came across Royal Rehab’s Day Program at Ryde. These group sessions focus on intensive physical and mental rehabilitation to improve not only coordination and strength, but the way the person views the disease and themselves.

Under the supervision of Royal Rehab’s passionate staff, Bill began his 6-week program, which included a series of hydrotherapy, physiotherapy, and exercise physiology sessions. These sessions were just a few of the ones on offer to individuals with PD, ranging from Speech Therapy and Occupational Therapy to Dietetics and Education.

“My goals coming into the program were to learn more about PD, how it was affecting me, and how I could slow its progress,” said Bill.

Following the success of his initial program, Bill decided to enrol in Royal Rehab’s PD Warrior Program, a 10 week small group course with a series of classes focusing on improving individual wellbeing. .

“Without exception, all staff I dealt with were highly qualified, passionate, professional, and friendly.

“After our weekly sessions, we sometimes go for coffee and the groups commentary about the management, the staff, and the program itself are very positive,” noted Bill.

While Bill continues to manage his symptoms through ongoing hard work and support, his understanding of what PD is and how he can continue to face it in the future has grown. His initial impression of PD has changed as he sees himself as a warrior against the disease, rather than the diagnosis taking over his life.

“To people facing a new diagnosis of PD, a positive mindset makes a huge difference.

“Make sure to do your research and consider undertaking a program like the Royal Rehab Day Program. In conjunction withmedicine, it is an opportunity to not only manage your PD, but avoid adopting a sedentary lifestyle,” suggested Bill.  

With the introduction of exercise and rehabilitation, he has been able to improve his walking and general well-being, allowing him to return to his favourite hobbies from daily long walks with his chocolate Labrador, to travelling. Bill is excited about his future and looks forward to living a healthy, happy, active, and long life with his wife, family, and friends.

To learn more about Parkinson’s Disease and the best personal approach to managing symptoms check out our Royal Rehab’s PD Warrior Programs or speak with one of our friendly staff today at (02) 9808 9222.