Parkinson's disease

Alun - Interview 24

Age at interview: 58
Age at diagnosis: 49

Brief outline: Alun was diagnosed nine years ago. Physically, his mobility is most affected now. He has experienced obsessive compulsive disorder from the medication he has taken.

Background: Married, 2 adult children, retired Teacher. Chairman of the young person's network.

Audio & video

Alun’s early symptoms were difficulty using his hand to write on the board at school, to shake salt, clean his teeth and use the mouse on the computer. He also noticed that he was limping, his balance was affected and had a stiff shoulder. Alun was prescribed Sinemet and also an anti-depressant and he managed to keep working as a school teacher for another two years after he was diagnosed. He was becoming very tired so he decided to leave teaching. He had difficulty getting the necessary arrangements made so that he could leave work and still receive his pension fund, but after a struggle he was able to do this.


He felt quite negative and depressed for a couple of years but then he decided to turn his life around and be positive. The first action he took was to get in contact with his local Young Person’s Parkinson’s disease group. He is now chairman of the national Young Person’s Network and gives talks nationally and internationally. He has done a great deal of fundraising for the Parkinson’s Disease Society over the last few years, which has involved him walking up mountains, which he says gives him an aim in life and keep his mind off his own symptoms. He copes with Parkinson’s through humour and by making things fun.


Alun’s biggest problem now is walking. He finds it extremely uncomfortable to walk at times, his balance is sometimes affected and he has a feeling that he will fall over.


Alun has taken several different types of medication over the years. Each time the medication has lasted for about two years and then he has needed to change to a different type. He now takes Madopar and Ropinirole. He stopped taking Selegiline recently because he was experiencing obsessive compulsive behaviour as a side effect of the drugs. But coming off this medication didn’t make any difference and only made him feel more ill. He says that dealing with the emotional aspects of Parkinson’s is much harder than dealing with the physical aspects.


Alun tries not to get stressed with things because stress makes his symptoms worse. He advises others to find something that they can aim for, whether it be a task to do daily, weekly or monthly. The important thing, he feels, is to have something else to focus on rather than Parkinson’s Disease.


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