Parkinson’s Disease Awareness month

April 7, 2023

This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.

April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month, and April 11th is World Parkinson’s Day and so we wanted to draw your attention to this disease.

What is Parkinson’s Disease?

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive neurological disorder that affects movement, balance, and coordination. The disease was first described in 1817 by James Parkinson, an English physician who observed several patients with tremors and difficulty walking.

This disease is caused by the degeneration of dopamine-producing neurons in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is crucial in regulating movement, mood, and motivation. As dopamine levels decline, movement becomes slower and more difficult, and symptoms such as tremors, rigidity, and postural instability develop.

Parkinson’s disease is a cruel disease and one with no known cure, so it is a good time to focus on it and encourage donations to

Meanwhile, I have recently read the book, Dancing in Small Spaces by Leslie A. Davidson. In 2011 Leslie and her Husband, Lincoln Ford, enjoyed retired life as ardent outdoor enthusiasts, energetic travellers, and soon-to-be grandparents. But when both began to experience undeniable symptoms, a devastating double diagnosis completely changed things. Leslie was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, and Lincoln with Lewy body dementia. Can you imagine? I could not get my head around this terrible scenario.

Dancing in Small Spaces is the story of a long and adventurous marriage, of deep gratitude, and ultimately, of writing one’s way toward understanding and acceptance.

I recently reviewed the book, What I wish people knew about Dementia by Wendy Mitchell, which is the author’s story of living with dementia. This article was helpful according to many of our readers. They were either caring for someone who had been diagnosed with dementia or they themselves were in the early stages.

Dancing in Small Spaces is a similar genre. It is a positive book which, amazingly, is quite uplifting. There is such love and tenderness in this story. Leslie is someone who manages to find light in the darkest situations. She shows how positivity keeps them both going. She writes very much as the carer for Lincoln as his deterioration is more immediate and debilitating. However, you have to keep remembering that Leslie, too, is suffering from a life-changing disease. She manages to lift herself even when she could so easily slip into self-pity-laden sorrow. There are obviously days when Leslie feels “as if I were walking through cement or I cannot still the dyskinesia, uncontrollable dance-like movement caused by Parkinson’s meds.”

There is a magical moment where Leslie is trying to change their duvet cover. Putting on a new cover is daunting in her condition. Lincoln wants to help but obviously cannot. Finally, having buttoned the last button and wiping sweat from her brow, Lincoln says, “Thank goodness. I’m glad that’s over.”

“What? You’re glad?” Leslie says and starts to laugh.

“I had to watch,” Lincoln replies. And then they both start to howl with laughter.

It is that ability to hang onto the laughter and adapt but not to change that springs from every page.

Dancing in Small Spaces is a rollercoaster of a book but full of tendersweet moments, and whether or not there is dementia or Parkinson’s disease in your life, this book is a wonderful read.

Between us we have an accumulation of changes, many small, some large, but we are both still very much ourselves, content with each other and the good fortune of our lives, getting older but not yet old. It is easier to pretend all is well in our world because, really, it is. Some of the time. Enough of the time.

Leslie A Davidson

Get the latest ideas, advice and inspiration

No spam. Just useful and interesting stuff, straight to your inbox. Covering jobs, finance, learning, volunteering, lifestyle and more.

By providing us your email address you agree to receive emails and communications from us and acknowledge that your personal data will be used in accordance with our Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions. You can unsubscribe at any time by following the link in our emails.

Enjoying Rest Less? Help us reach more people like you

Leave us a rating Want to tell us something?