Parkinson's disease

Rafa - Interview 27

Male
Age at interview: 51
Age at diagnosis: 49

Brief outline: Although Rafa was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease 18 months ago he has not had to take any anti-PD medication and so far his symptoms have not progressed and do not cause him much inconvenience.

Background: Landscape Architect, Single, two children.

Audio & video

About two years ago Rafa, who was a keen runner, noticed that after about two miles of running he suddenly found himself stopping and for a time unable to progress any further. The messages he was sending to one of his legs didn’t seem to be getting through. However after a few minutes things became all right again and he was able to finish the run. The only other symptoms he noticed around that time were a tendency for his right arm to be drawn towards his body and changes in his handwriting. He mentioned running problem to his GP and a physiotherapist who he consulted but was told that there was nothing wrong. However when he managed to demonstrate the problem on a treadmill the physiotherapist was clearly concerned and Rafi returned to his GP and asked for a referral to a neurologist. On discovering there would be a several month wait for this and having been led to suspect that he might have a brain tumour he decided to ask for a private referral. Here he was immediately told that his symptoms were those of very early Parkinson’s. His GP then agreed to re-refer him as an NHS patient and the diagnosis was confirmed by CAT and DAT scans. It was decided that no medication was necessary at that time, and so far, since that time there has been little if any deterioration in his symptoms. He has been able to keep the diagnosis from most of his friends and acquaintances being particularly keen not to burden his teenage children with the anxiety it might give them at a point when they don’t need to know and are unlikely to realise that there is a problem.

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