I am 57 and live in Nanaimo though I grew up and spent much of my life in Kingston Ontario. Initially I studied physics, making it to a PhD but software development became my main profession that eventually led to a 17-year stint with Advanced Bionics, a company that makes cochlear implants.
In 2006, my family doctor noticed a slight tremor in my left arm. Initially there were MRI and CT scans to eliminate micro-strokes. Then there were a couple of years of PD denial that it might be a form of dystonia that responded to levodopa. Finally, a few months after moving to British Columbia, my new neurologist declared my affliction unequivocally Parkinson’s disease.
Since then I have learned to live with the slowly progressing disease. I stopped working in 2015 as some of the cognitive symptoms were making work difficult. I am a firm believer in physical activity as a way to better live with PD and am involved with a number of different activities. I also participate in our local Nanaimo support group and several of its associated activities, one of which (djembe, a form of hand drumming) I helped start.
When I heard of Alf’s ride which would combine both raising awareness of PD with what was once one of my favourite activities — cycling — I knew that I had to sign up even though I hadn’t ridden seriously in a long time.