Magdalena Wong photo

Magdalen is 56. She first noticed a tremor ten years ago, in her left thumb and index finger before she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s. She maintains an active and joyful lifestyle with hobbies ranging from adult ballet classes to crafting and much more. Discover more below!

Could you introduce yourself in a few lines?

I have been married for 32 years and have a son and daughter. Last year I retired from a long nursing career which I loved. Luckily I am still very active, every day is filled with visits to my elderly parents and most afternoons are spent crafting, making cards, quilting, dressmaking, origami and my latest interest is in learning the art of Calligraphy (all challenging when the tremor kicks in!).

My most challenging hobby is adult ballet classes, totally exhausting but improves muscle strength, balance and general feeling of achievement on my part but maybe very challenging for my colleagues! Plenty of naps in between of course crucial to keep going.

When and how did you learn that you had Parkinson’s and how did you react?

I first noticed back in 2009 a tremor in my left thumb and index finger, after visiting my very supportive GP and referrals to my local hospital, I was eventually diagnosed with Parkinson’s​ Disease (PD).

In my first visit, I was told I have Benign Essential Tremor – however – not convinced I was re-referred and my own instincts became a reality which I must say still came as a huge shock. Eventually I asked if I could be referred to Kings College Hospital, Centre of Excellence, my treatments and support from Consultants, Research team and lovely Nurse Practitioners has been amazing and allowed me to adjust, cope and think positively about my future.

Through the above team I have got to meet a local group of wonderful people with and without PD. So many people are out there helping us and supporting us even down to helping fill forms out for assessments etc. Friends and family have been and are still amazing, always helping and taking into consideration how tired I become, I couldn’t do without them. Since being diagnosed and getting over the shock I actually feel that I am now living my life to the fullest.

What would be the benefits of an early detection of the disease?

Early detection of this disease can help enormously in the physical and mental approach to acceptance and coping mechanisms, with hindsight I had a year of depression and dreadful anxiety and no known reason, shoulder and neck stiffness and postural issues and some clumsy events of falling up and down stairs due to a dragging foot, 10 years on I now know why. would I have wanted to know when I was in my 30’s, to be honest I’m not sure I can answer that, but having the technology for this and eventually other illnesses may well become lifesaving.

What are the most important aspects of the disease medical teams should focus on to help you cope with it?

I was so glad to be asked to help with this and any research available if it makes life easier for those after me, after all someone has helped us get this far with the medications now in use of which I can benefit.

Earlier intervention may well help younger people think around their career moves, family outlooks, housing and transport from a practical point of view and keep themselves healthy with fitness, diet and mentally stimulating challenges and ward off as far as possible the negative symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease.

Finally, as phones and iPads are the way forward, why not use them and all the data that can be gained to make our lives easier to live and inform us of where we can get help?

Thank you to all of you who are trying so hard to help us.

Magdalen Wong

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