This week’s Shake It Up and Share comes from Western Australian David Morse, who since his diagnosis has discovered a passion for catching the beauty of our land through photography. Dave has generously decided to share some of his photos with us for our Sunday Inspiration posts – follow us on Facebook and Instagram to check in every Sunday to see these.
How old were you when you were diagnosed?
Diagnosed in October 2013 at 57 years old.
Tell us about being diagnosed?
I guess I knew that something was not quite right around 54 years of age. I’ve always been extremely active with surfing, sailing, mountain biking and my first love of boat building and then I started to slow down and get stiff along with developing a nervous internal shake and I thought that it was just age catching up with me.
Soon after, I developed a pain in my shoulder along with stiffness and soreness and generally slow movement of the arm and hand. I headed off to the doctor with the usual x-rays and bits and pieces and found out that I had a rotator cuff injury and was told that this is quite common with people who use their shoulders and arms with their job. I had a shoulder reconstruction, did all the rehabilitation exercises but I still did not feel right with the arm or the body. I headed back to the doctor’s again who thought it may be a pinched nerve in the neck, so off to a neurosurgeon to get an M.R.I and sure enough, with age there was some degradation of the neck but not significant enough to react with the nerves.
I headed off to a consulting neurologist, which was quite interesting – he fired a few questions at me and made me perform a few tasks along with having a nerve test from my neck to my fingers. When we finished he pretty bluntly told me that I have Parkinson’s Disease. It went over my head at first, all that I knew about Parkinson’s was that Michael J. Fox had it and a few older people that I know. I went home and looked up things on the internet and I found that the questions that he asked me all made sense.
What is the greatest challenge that Parkinson’s poses to your everyday life?
Good question. I am 10ft. tall and bulletproof and nothing was ever going to get me. I still think that my greatest challenge is accepting the fact that I have Parkinson’s. I fight it so hard and I realise now that I just have to change my ways. My greatest challenge is to keep on working on the boats and down the boatyards, I love that, but I have noticed now that I do not feel as confident as I should be, especially in the agile and balance department. I have pretty well accepted now that I will be off the tools but I enjoy the design work and marine surveying side of it.
Apart from a cure – what is your greatest wish?
Sharing life with Mr. Parkie certainly makes one appreciate beautiful things of life, not that I had any problem with that before, but I guess now other than to find a cure is to stay as healthy as I can, think positive, help my fellow Parkie friends achieve their goals and enjoy every day.
Apart from medication what has helped you most since your diagnosis?
I think getting up in the morning to go and watch the sunrise no matter how bad one may feel, you just have to grab the beast by the horns, go for your morning walk/swim etc. at your own pace and you always seem to feel better for the rest of the day. I have also found that when you start to get drained – do take a rest and have a nap, in days where I have pushed on – I find I pay for it later on, no such thing as a free lunch.
The best thing of all is to be around happy and positive people and share a good laugh, best medicine ever.
What do you love to do in your spare time?
I think it is so important now to find something that you really enjoy and can tackle at your own pace, apart from being with my lovely wife Fran and our lovely Labrador dog “Daisy” and I have really got into my passion of photography now. I go out most mornings either by myself or with friends to catch the morning sunrise and that makes me feel so alive. Seeing as I cannot surf and sail like I used to I have decided to take action photography and donate the proceeds to Shake It Up Australia along with working on some calendars and supplying the organisation with photos for their Sunday Inspiration posts. I actually find it quite enjoyable to match a photo up with an inspirational quote. When you read through all the hundreds of quotes on the internet to try and match up with the appropriate photo – you learn so much about life.