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[back] Positive Outlook Anthony Thanasayan (The Star) - 17 September 2009

Positive outlook

By ANTHONY THANASAYAN (The Star Newspaper)

A Parkinson's patient for close to 20 years, Mohd Yazid does not let his condition drag him down.

ONE of the most difficult things about being disabled is when the person starts to lose control of his or her life. This is especially hard for those who have been living independently for most of their lives.

An insidious disease like Parkinson's can leave its victims with shattered hopes.

Parkinson's Disease (PD) is a neurological condition that gets worse over time. Currently there is no known cure. It often robs People with Parkinson's (PwP) of the many basic abilities that are needed for independent living.

Its sufferers often experience difficulty in moving their limbs, and become increasingly immobile. At times like this, they have to depend on others for assistance.

They also develop tremors and facial tics which are characteristic of the disease.

I was recently introduced to a special gentleman, Mohd Yazid Ismail from Bukit Damansara, Kuala Lumpur. Yazid, 74, has had PD for almost 20 years. Like most PwP's, he didn't realise he had the condition until much later.

"I was working in Brunei when the first signs of PD crept in," said Yazid. "It started off as a slight tremor that appeared once in a while in my right hand. I didn't think much of it as my hand only started shaking when I got excited or was anxious about something."

Yazid thought it was a temporary nerve problem. Two years later, he noticed that his writing of numbers and alphabets had also started to shrink in size for some reason.

Despite these alarm bells, Yazid put it at the back of his mind until his retirement in 1990 when he returned to Malaysia.

"I was very active in sports, especially badminton. There was no known history of disability in my family, so I didn't think I had any real cause to worry," he said.

By this time Yazid's tremors had increased. However, he didn't face any major problems in walking.

He finally went to see a general practitioner in Kuala Lumpur, out of curiosity than anything else.

It didn't take long for the doctor to suspect PD. Yazid was referred to a neurologist. He had to wait three months before he could see the specialist who confirmed the GP's suspicion.

"I was disappointed that both the doctors did not tell me much about PD other than the fact that I had the condition," said Yazid. "All I knew then was that boxer Muhammad Ali and the late Pope John Paul II had it, and had difficulty walking; other than that I knew nothing."

Yazid did some research on the subject and discovered how serious his condition was. Despite the grim prognosis, Yazid is heartened to learn that PD is treatable – the full effects of the condition can be slowed down.

Today, Yazid's condition is in a more advanced stage, but he remains optimistic. Although he now requires the use of a wheelchair, he only asks for it when absolutely necessary.

"Although I do have the occasional ‘down moments', I never blame God for what has happened to me.

"I think having PD is like any other disease or problems that we have to go through in life. Rather than being depressed, I count my many blessings. I am glad to be surrounded by family and relatives who love me, and whom I love in return," Yazid added.

For more information about Parkinson's Disease, contact the Malaysian Parkinson Disease Association in Kuala Lumpur (www.mpda.org.my / 03-7980 6685 / mpda1@streamyx.com).