23. The London 10km – An Explanation

The not so small print: I am looking over my glasses.  Meds and exercise must be discussed with a medical professional before undertaking any new activities.

I can hear you muttering ‘entering the London 10km, please explain yourself, that’s madness’.  If however I have mis eavesdropped and you in fact said something about the 1970/80’s Ska band, I apologise.

I am an oxymoron (please keep the ‘oxy’).

I am sure even those who have been paying attention will be confused by the two, seemingly contradicting blogs.  Blog 19 Running/Walking where I dared to mention that I had entered a 10km run, and Blog 20 Defining Moments, about getting a walking stick and a blue badge.

These two blogs are so extreme that I felt an explanation was required.  It must read like they are written by different people.  Which, in way, I suppose they are.

A recap : PD is constantly deteriorating.  This is due to the lack of dopamine, which is continuing to decline.  Meds attempt to replace the dopamine temporarily.  They do not slow the progression.  They attempt to help me operate normally.  Even when meds are working PD symptoms are the same in the background, they are just hidden by the meds.

So, in effect, there are two of me (apologies if you have no hills to run to).

The ‘PD me’ : who can hardly walk, would be rubbish in a seaside puppet show, would win an inter-country jelly on a stick competition, and is constipated (sorry but these things need to be said).  This is when meds aren’t working and all PD symptoms have broken through.

The ‘Normalised me’ : who can swish about and do normal things normally.  When meds are working and everything has fallen into place.

Sorry, make that three of me ; The ‘Almost Normalised me’ : who is not quite normal (now, those thoughts are downright rude).  In other words, meds are neither on nor off, they are sort of working.  Some PD symptoms randomly break through.  This is probably the most common ‘me’.

Obviously in this Venn Diagram of life, the intersection would be a slightly odd one, where PD is kicking off, but I can play tennis and walk backwards.

At the moment I am training and preparing for the London 10km at the end of May.  However, there will be two of us in the race.

I know PD will be trying to find ways to disrupt my run by :

  • Extreme tiredness.
  • Dystonia in my foot.
  • Left leg locking and dragging.

I am trying to outwit PD by :

  • Training.
  • Using music.
  • Working out a race day schedule of meds/food/drink etc.

Words : drugs versus meds.  As I mentioned in an earlier blog I prefer the word ‘meds’.  Meds sounds more ‘boring married mother of three’.  Drugs sounds more ‘dangerous criminal’.  Although it would be wrong of me if I didn’t (for my amusement) occasionally just announce that ‘I need to take my drugs’.

NB PD meds are not performance enhancing.  They (wait for it, another made up, blend word) attempt to Normalance me.

My odd definition of my new word : Normal(ise)(Perform)ance : Normalance.

Meds attempt to bring my dopamine levels up to a normal level, pre PD.  In the case of the 10km run, I will work out a schedule of taking them to give me the best chance of keeping my PD symptoms at bay and performing at a normal level.

As you will appreciate, this is not an exact science.  I will be working out when to eat, drink and take meds.  But I cannot prepare for every eventuality, influences which are outside my control can make PD symptoms break through at a moments notice.  For example, crowded places, tiredness, stressful situations.  Yes, I am aware that this event is 10,000 people running a 10km race in London.  I am not totally stupid (again, I can hear what you are thinking).

However, as you know there is a big but (no double ‘t’ please).  Meds are unreliable as they may kick in, they may switch off.  I just don’t know what will happen.

I will attempt the run and I will try my very best.  If I don’t complete the 10km due to leaves on the line, then that is fine.  However, if i don’t complete the 10km due to PD disrupting the proceedings I will be upset.

However, to put a positive spin on it, if things go PD pear shaped.  I will have a photograph taken in a nice new t-shirt on The Mall.

Living with PD is a bit like childbirth (please bear with me).  Childbirth is a quite dramatic (some may say, traumatic) event, but for some reason women almost ‘forget’ how bad it was. This is important as otherwise no one would have more than one child.

Obviously for equality in this blog, men also need to forget about the crisis of childbirth.  How they missed on tv the penalty shoot out in the big England game where Gazza cried, because they had to urgently hold a straw in a water glass for a lady with ‘extreme temporary tourettes’.

If you are not following me, then a brief explanation.  When I am normal and operating well, I tend to underplay how bad it can become when PD is bad.  Actually, if I didn’t temporarily do this then I would probably be reticent about doing anything new and adventurous.  So, for example, the 10km was entered in a brief moment of ‘I can do this, things aren’t that bad’.  In a similar way to ‘yes, we will have another baby, the birth wasn’t that bad’.

I am looking forward to the whole experience of taking part in the London 10km.  A friend is kindly running with me and I envisage it will take around 2 hours.  I am running for Parkinson’s UK, give me a wave if you happen to be in London.

I will report back,