12 Apr Living with Parkinson’s Disease is ‘no worries’ for Pam
Pam Robb has never felt fitter and healthier. She is motivated to exercise, enjoys good quality of life and lives everyday determined to keep her Parkinson’s Disease at bay.
She spends every Tuesday with some of her best friends at Timboon and District Healthcare Centre (TDHS). They too have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease.
They refer to themselves affectionately as the ‘Movers and Shakers’ and living with Parkinson’s Disease has brought them together into a precious peer support group.
With the guidance of their ‘trainer’ Tracey Heeps, Pam said the PD Neuro group was critical to her ability to live with Parkinson’s Disease and cope with its symptoms.
“Exercise is the most important thing for me and there are real advantages in terms of strength and mobility, but it’s also a great social get together,” she said.
“I look forward to Tuesdays. It gives me the incentive, the direction and the motivation…I’ve probably never been fitter in my life. It’s all about attitude and being positive. My quality of life with Parkinson’s is no worries.”
Pam is no stranger to TDHS having spent many years working there as a nurse. She has attended the group classes weekly for more than five years.
She said April was Parkinson’s Awareness Month and she was happy to talk about her diagnoses if it could help others identify the symptoms and also educate the wider community about people like her who are living with the disease.
“I was diagnosed in 2013 and to that point in my life I’d had very little health problems. But I was increasingly shaking and it got to the point I couldn’t keep my hand still,” she said.
“Being diagnosed was almost a relief – you can fight something if you know what you’re dealing with and I told myself it was better than a lot of other things.
“My Tuesdays here are great. If this group wasn’t here I’d be in strife…I wouldn’t be as good as I am without Tracey – she’s wonderful.”
Pam lived in Bungador before moving to Cooriemungle with her husband Neville to dairy farm and raise their children. They retired to Timboon in 2002.
Her body is pretty stiff in the mornings, handwriting is really difficult, she has a few wardrobe mishaps and needs help with anything fiddly, but life is good.
“I’m lucky that I only need a bit of help. It can be difficult, but living with it is easier when you can share it with other sufferers. We feel pretty good in our skins – what you see is what you get.”
Pam urged everyone to treat Parkinson’s Disease sufferers the same as anyone else.
“Sometimes, the perception is that we’re a bit of an empty lot and that can hurt, but we’re no different to anyone else,” she said.
“Just because we sometimes dribble, shake and stumble – we are still people inside and you might be quite shocked if you asked us a few questions and had a chat.”