After a stop-start year for club activities, the Probus Club of Goulburn and District has recommenced its monthly meetings.
Due to the lockdown, our guest speaker was unable to attend our October meeting, so member Peter Bertram volunteered to fill the role with a heartfelt talk about a tour to visit areas where his father served during WW11 and the site of the infamous Burma Railway
Members welcomed Gill and Michael O'Connor to the November meeting as guest speakers to talk about Parkinson's Disease and the Parkinson's Disease Support Group.
Gill gave an account of their experience with PD and the effect it has on the person, family, carers and friends.
The most common age bracket for sufferers of Parkinson's is 60-65 so it was confronting and devastating for the O'Connor family when Gill's husband Michael was diagnosed in 2002 at the age of 48.
Initially, the symptoms are not easily recognised but with the knowledge Michael's father had on PD, this gave rise to an early diagnosis.
With the help of acupuncture and herbal medicine, Michael continued to work for another four years. As the disease progressed though, he stopped work at the age of 52
Vocationally and socially, the signs and effects can be easily misinterpreted causing the sufferer to be inappropriately judged.
The symptoms themselves, of which Michael has suffered many are: apathy, rigidity, dementia, tremor, insomnia, depression, anxiety, speech and swallowing difficulties, panic attacks, loss of smell, loss of facial expression and delusional behaviour.
The condition changes day by day, hour by hour and the tremors are so difficult and tiring.
Apart from regular medication, "keep active" was the most important advice. Despite difficulties with balance, Michael continues to play golf and has taken up gardening.
In 2010, Michael underwent deep-brain stimulation, which was a full-day surgery. Firstly, while the patient is awake they drill into the skull and put in electrodes. Then under anesthesia a battery and electronic device are inserted into his torso to regulate medication and to send signals to the electrodes in the brain. This procedure was very successful and has given Michael the chance of a near normal life.
When Michael was diagnosed with Parkinson's, they didn't know anybody else in the area with Parkinson's whom they could talk to and they wanted to talk to others experiencing what they were.
They decided to start a Parkinson's Support Group with the first meeting being held at their home in 2006 and since then, the group has had a changing member base.
Some are not well enough to attend meetings while sadly some others have passed away but they now have others joining the group and they want people affected by Parkinson's to know they are not alone with this disease.
The meetings are an informal get together for Parkinson's sufferers, their family and carers to discuss issues of interest relating to the disease.
The meetings are held monthly on the second Thursday each month except January at 10:30am at the Goulburn Workers Club.
For more information contact Michael or Gill O'Connor on 4822-6732 or 0418 168 558.
John Miller gave the 'Thumbnail/hobbies' talk where he told us of his painting which had been his main hobby until involvement with the U3A had taken more of his time.
John's personal course which he devised himself and presents regularly is 'Cleopatra's Nose', a series of talks on What If?.
For enquiries about joining Probus, contact Terry Sharman on 4821 1491 or Mick McGhie on 4821 3328.
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