It has been an odd time here. Five years ago to the day I was told I had an incurable neurological condition. Immediately followed by the cheery phrase “you will be limited.” From the so-called support person. Five years ago I was in a state of shock. Stunned. Disbelief. Denial.
To create additional angst on the same date exactly, four years later, I left my husband of 17 years. On paper it looks crazy. Why would a person with a one-way ticket to who-knows-where with their health leave financial stability, safety and a life of ease?
Because dear reader, I had learned in the very worst way that life is indeed too short. My husband, not a bad man, but not one that wanted to seize life by the horns and just get out there. Well, not while there’s so much good stuff to watch on the telly.
But I want more. I’d had fun in my twenties, but spent most of it building my career. My children came along, the twins after a terrible late miscarriage I thought I would never recover from. It wasn’t hard to choose to be poor for a while and give up my well-paid job to change nappies and tend to my babies. I would work again when they were a little older. So I thought.
Yes. We make plans, so many plans for our lives. Only to have them brutally ripped away. How you respond is the key to it all. Five years ago I was a curled up mess in my room. Crying desperately. I didn’t understand what I had. I didn’t know who to turn to and I had no clue if I could help myself. All I knew was ‘incurable’ ‘degenerative’ and ‘disease’.
On The Scrap Heap
Yet here I still am. Five years on, Not yet fifty, still a way off it. People still cannot tell I have this awful thing. I exercise. Nobody likes to exercise, but I cannot stress to you just how amazing it is to help your mobility. The only downside is the time it takes. It takes a lot of time.
But I figure I get that time back in spades. It’s because i exercise I can still play with my children. I can climb rocks at the river and jump off them into deep plunge pools, screaming with fear, joy and exhilaration at life. In summer I leapt off my friend’s boat and struggled to pull myself back up. I managed a couple of times, but I felt fat, ungainly and weak. Nobody else thought that, they just helped me haul myself on board so I could do it all again. Which I did. With gusto. It was fun. My upper body strength is better now. I’m hoping I can pull myself up alone.
The job market is tough. It depresses me. I have tried many things but the lack of interest from employers is demoralising. Just this morning I was reading there’s a supposed lack of skilled and unskilled workers in New Zealand. Really? Only last week I was declined for a position as a writer for a company. I had been doing some training for a business school, who upon being asked for better than minimum pay for my skilled IT training in web development and SEO instead gave my planned training dates to an unqualified man. I’m a professional trainer and I’ve got a wealth of technical and IT skills. I’m a good writer, I’m careful, considerate, intelligent, loyal and thoughtful. I work hard.
But after so many applications, not one interview for anything other than menial work.
I have professional friends who after accidents / injuries have employers and payment protection companies falling over themselves to help them return to physical fitness and gainful employement.
Got a disability? Go home. Not interested. Can’t even get physio or a gym pass. I pay for it all. On my meagre (and it really is) income.
This has turned into a rant, but really it’s to show that not all is rosy in my life. I’m not exactly living the dream, but I’m painting the best picture I can. Staying positive and appreciating what I do have is marvellous for the soul. Simply taking pleasure in seeing my garden take shape, my children grow and making the most of each day is good.
Am I where I wanted to be six years ago? Certainly not. Am I pleased to be here? Of course. Things could always better, but ultimately we control our emotions, our attitude, and with it, our destiny.
Go forth, stop feeling sorry for yourself, and live life well.
Until next time, Kitty.
Kitty Fitton is a motivational speaker, MC and comedian. She is also a full-time blogger and writer. She is mother to four small people and was very cross to discover she had Parkinson’s Disease.
Find out more at her personal site below.
Emma Kyriacou is a real-life ninja. Taking up Karate to help fight her Parkinson’s Disease, she’s co-founder of Good Moves and is passionate about promoting exercise to improve mobility and neuroplasticity. (Is that a word? It should be.)
Find out more at her personal site below.