Everyone’s experience is different but for some people, receiving a diagnosis of Parkinson’s is almost a relief as they finally have a reason for the symptoms they have been experiencing. For others though the diagnosis may be met with a sense of disbelief, of shock or of ‘why me?’.
It may be hard to absorb a lot of information initially, and it is usually a good idea to see your doctor again a couple of weeks after your diagnosis. This gives you an opportunity to ask questions that you might have wished to ask when you were diagnosed, but didn’t think about at the time.
For some frequently asked questions relating to diagnosis see our Parkinson’s FAQs section.
For many people it will take years for Parkinson’s to have a noticeable effect as many symptoms can be successfully treated. It will take time to come to terms with your diagnosis and it is natural to feel anxious about the future, but it is possible to have a good quality of life, simply by embracing some lifestyle changes.
Accept change, adapt and look after yourself
Accepting change is an important first step. It can be frustrating if, instead of playing your usual 18 holes of golf, it is better to play nine holes or the need to take a shorter walk than normal. But being able to adapt how you travel or spend leisure time, and your care and nutrition – means you can continue to lead a fulfilling, happy and good quality life.
There is no doubt that a positive outlook, with a determination to overcome obstacles, will help you adapt to life with Parkinson’s and, given time, you will be able to continue pursuing the activities and relationships that make your life enjoyable and meaningful.
For information on looking after your personal health and maintaining a good quality of life with Parkinson’s see Living well.
Be informed and take an active role in your treatment
Finding out about Parkinson’s and the various treatment options helps some people to feel more in control. You, your partner and family are key members of your multidisciplinary care team. You may therefore want to take an active role in decisions regarding your treatment and care, for example, being aware of different treatment options, their advantages and disadvantages. This knowledge will enable you to have a meaningful discussion with your care team and will help you to ask questions and understand the decisions you will make with your doctor.
Before meeting with your care team, make sure you prepare for each appointment so that you make the most of the time available. It is also a good idea to take notes so you can refer to them later.
Remember that only you know how you feel, so be aware of your body and don’t be afraid to ask for the help you need.