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[back] Living with Parkinson's Anthony Thanasayan (The Star) - 11 October 2007
Jaharuddin Adam used to be an avid golfer. A retired policeman, Jaharuddin had been playing golf since the 1970s.

Following his retirement in 1992, it was not uncommon to find him on the golf course every day.

However, one dreary morning in 1997, something happened.

Although that was 10 years ago, Jaharuddin, 69, vividly recalls what transpired.

"I woke up at 7am and, after breakfast, was at the golf course which was a 10-minute drive from my house. After a few rounds of golf with my friends, I felt a general weakness creeping over my body. I began panting each time I walked up the slopes, and had trouble attempting a hard ball (distance shot)."

All these signs were enough to send alarm bells ringing for Jaharuddin and his wife, Mahmudah.

Jaharuddin went to see a GP, who suspected he might have had a mild stroke or a heart attack.

However, it wasn't until 12 months later - after countless appointments and medical tests - that the real culprit, Parkinson's disease (PD), was diagnosed.

Hope came a month later. Jaharuddin was referred to a neurologist in a government hospital, and was informed by the specialist about medications and treatment that could slow down the disabling effects of the disease.

"Accepting that I have PD was never really a problem as many of the symptoms associated with the condition were already showing up," says Jaharuddin, who has been confined to a wheelchair since late last year.

Even though he experiences body stiffness, tremors and slurred speech, he is able to do wheelchair transfers from his bed and into the car, with little help from others.

Jaharuddin says he has accepted what has happened to him as Allah's will.

"I have never given up on the power of prayer," he says. "My daily prayer is no secret. I ask God to give me strength for another 24 hours in my life."

"Even though I have PD, I am a very lucky man to have the unflinching support of my wonderful wife, my three children, relatives, friends and others who stand by me every day."

"I believe in miracles. I am still hopeful for a cure for PD in the near future - whether it is through the hand of God or by scientific means."

Jaharuddin's advice for other PD sufferers?

"Don't go through this alone. Make an effort to meet other people with PD. Together, we can better fight this disease."

For caregivers, Jaharuddin has this to say: "Never give up on those you love, especially in the face of PD."