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Steve - Interview 05

Age at interview: 52
Age at diagnosis: 50
Brief Outline: Diagnosed in 2004, Steve takes Pramipexole. He has tremor in his right arm. He is a member of a running club and trains most days.
Background: Married, 3 children, hotel storeman.

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Steve first noticed that he was dropping tools at work, he was slower at running and he had a tremor in his right arm. After seeing his GP, he was referred to the neurologist who diagnosed Parkinson’s disease. He started taking Pramipexole, which made him feel drowsy at first and was affecting his work. His employers weren’t very supportive so he took the opportunity for redundancy on medical grounds. He was concerned that he might not get another job but the disability advisor at the job centre arranged a part time job for him, which he is enjoying.

 

Steve has been a member of a running club since 1994 and up until last year he was still able to train most days, although he finds it hard that he can no longer run at the speed he used to.  He also works out at the gym, cycles eight miles a week and goes to Pilates. He’s determined to continue running for as long as possible and last year he was awarded Sportsman of the Year.  This year, he has finding it harder to run but he organised the Parkinson’s Fun Run and they raised £4,000.

 

As things get harder for him, Steve is determined to keep his connection with the club where he...

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I run every day bar Friday, I train every, well when I say run, the speed I go, I wouldn’t really call it running, but it’s, it’s a plod. But then I used to go with the club this Tuesday, Thursday’s and Saturday morning, but I’ve just had to give up Tuesday for my Pilates. But what I do, is I do what I do at club, I do in the afternoon, then go to Pilates in the evening. So, I’ve been told not to, not to exert myself too much. The Chairman of the Club keeps onto me, “Don’t exert yourself too much.” But it’s very very difficult when you’ve, you’ve been up there, you’ve done it all and you want to try and get back to that, and you know you can’t. And it’s very very difficult.

 

 
And it’s annoying when you’re getting people that used to beat you, that you used to beat, are now beating me. And it’s very, very heartbreaking. And I am one of those people that won’t give in but I think, I think in about a years, a year or two’s time I’m going to have to give in. Which I’m hoping that then he’ll find me a slot within the team that I can carry on being a team member, but not do the running, but do the website or something like that you know. I’ve been doing it since 1994 so, you know, I’m not prepared now to give it up.
 

Steve ignored several symptoms till his running speed suddenly plummeted. His wife and running...

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Well, from the word, basically from the word go, I was working at  BMW at the time. Which I’d been there 30 odd years, well not for BMW, but Rover, British Leyland etc etc etc, and I started noticing that my arm was shaking and I was dropping tools and things like that and then, at the same time I was running, I used to be  a fast runner, and all of a sudden, virtually overnight I just decreased and decreased, and they were sort of telling me to move my arms and I just couldn’t. So I knew something was wrong then, and about a week or two later I went to my doctor who then referred me to the hospital. 
 
Then about a month, a month or two later, I got the appointment through and I went down there and I didn’t, when he actually told me that I was, had mild Parkinson’s I didn’t sort of, I didn’t sort of grasp on me, until I got home and I told the wife, and she said, “well I knew, I suspected it anyway.” So did all my running colleagues.
 

Steve noticed that he had suddenly dropped from being first in the team to being last for no...

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Well, ...Surprised, because I honestly thought well the idea of me taking up running was to keep fit, and I thought, great I’ve hit a, hit a level, I mean, if I told you my times it wouldn’t mean anything to you, because, you probably don’t understand times regarding running. But, I was on a, I was on a peak, every race I did, I was hitting PB’s [personal best's], and all of a sudden I go from that down to being last for the team, you know, and although I was shocked, I was also surprised that a fit person like myself could, could get it. You know you take up something like that to, you think well okay, end of all my troubles, the only injuries I’m going to get is running related injuries, like you do. And at my age I expect it anyway, but not, not to be diagnosed with something that I’ve got for the rest of my life.
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