On Tuesday (14th August 2018) I walked, briskly, the 2.01 miles to the Doctor’s surgery and back ascending 98 feet on the way and all to start the investigative procedures required to rule out or confirm the possible development of the early stages of Parkinson’s. Despite my regular bouts of twobbles, and permanent underlying tremors, and moments of physical weakness so poor that I struggle to open a jar of marmalade or climb the stairs, I am pretty sure that I do not have Parkinson’s, but presumption is the mother of all terrible mistakes. For 15 years through my service I, along with the Defence Medical Services, had presumed that my failing hearing was noise-induced hearing loss and had no idea that my failing hearing was in fact flagging up the presence of two diseases: the Cholesteatoma that took my hearing and inner ear from the right ear, and the Brain Tumour that damn near took my life and has left me brain damaged. So ever since my wonderful son and daughter, Heather and James, were recently visiting Allie and I and teasing me over my inability to keep my head and arm still by asking, ‘what’s the time Dad?’ with hilarious imitations of my attempts to tell the time at the peak of a bout of twobbles, the seeds were sown, and when, just last week Heather said quite simply, ‘Dad, you look like somebody with Parkinson’s’ I very quietly went to the Parkinsons.org.uk website and did a little research. I was surprised to find that many of the symptoms of Parkinson’s replicated what I was experiencing. But took comfort that those symptoms were also symptoms of my Neurological Dysfunction, that most of what I was experiencing was Neurological Dysfunction, so I had a glimmer of hope that I might actually be able to retrain and strengthen my brain. That hope was strengthened on Tuesday morning with a most excellent visit to my GP who ran some basic tests and came to the same conclusion as me. However, to be certain, she has also referred me for testing by a Parkinson’s expert to be able to rule it out altogether. With Neurological Dysfunction I have a hope of being able to retrain my healthy left brain and bypass my damaged right brain to improve my capacity for work and indeed life itself. However, with Parkinson’s, while there are most excellent tactics, techniques and procedures for helping manage life around the disabling and progressive effects of the disease, any hope of finding a new career would most likely be lost. Certainly the future would look much bleaker.

But for the moment I do not have Parkinson’s but I do have Neurological Dysfunction and remain at the top of the risk spectrum for developing Dementia. However, on suspecting that I might be developing Parkinson’s the first thing I did after consulting the Parkinson’s.org.uk website for symptoms was to ask the question. How do I need to eat and exercise in order to help prevent the onset of Parkinson’s? The good news is that, like preventing and recovering from cancer, like reducing the risk of Dementia, like reducing the risk of heart, liver, kidney, bladder and all other major organ diseases………my balanced daily lifestyle (Insert link please) is the way to eat and exercise, the way to live one’s life in order to have a greater chance of a healthier and therefore happier life.

Indeed on Wednesday I received further great news. I was informed, that from my last MRI scan, there remains no sign of regrowth of the tumour. There is absolutely no measurable tumour which is of course fantastic news. We then looked at other reasons for the twobbles, which were apparently immediately noticeable on entering my Oncologist’s office. As soon as I mentioned the word Parkinson’s some tests were run, and referrals were made to confirm or deny the presence of the early stages of Parkinson’s as quickly as possible. Then the discussion moved on to other possible root causes for the twobbles and after much discussion, led by Allie’s brilliant research prior to the clinic, the finger of suspicion fell on my anti-seizure medication. Another referral was made for my brilliant Neurologist to confirm or deny the presence of the early stages of Parkinson’s while also engaging with our suspicion that the twobbles may indeed be linked to my anti-seizure medication, and so to come up with options for tackling my recurring twobbles.
So while I have no answers to the increasing frequency and severity of my twobbles, I do have the reassurance from a most excellent Oncologist that I have no regrowth of the tumour, and that her suspicions for my twobbles lie not with Parkinson’s, but with my anti-seizure medication. And not only that, a plan for confirming all her suspicions and developing a strategy to reduce my twobbles is already in the development.

So a great day and as I donned my tweed cap for the walk to the bus in the light rain, I realised that I had two rules in life:

  1. NO matter what Allie says, tweed goes with everything.
  2. A good walk helps relieve most that ails us.

So I plough on through these uncertain waters with a smile on my face. I continue to follow my balanced daily lifestyle very closely and, in so doing, of course I continue to rack up the numbers of miles covered. Even though I am concentrating on learning to play Golf, learning to Act, learning to play the piano and sing, learning to write for sustained periods of accurate writing again and even learning to Juggle in order to retrain and strengthen my brain; it is all done with my balanced daily lifestyle woven through as a golden thread. If this post achieves nothing else, I do really hope that you will go and speak to your doctor to be sure, and then start to follow my balanced daily lifestyle. It would, of course, be one of the best decisions of your life. To reassure you that I am true to my word I give you my update to the challenge in numbers below:
So the challenge in numbers since the start of the challenge on the 20th August 2015:

Years spent Beating the Beast: 3.0
Months spent Beating the Beast: 36
Weeks spent Beating the Beast: 144
Days of challenge activity completed: 720
Total Miles Cycled: 2,323.7 Both the cycled and walked distances are close to the equivalent distance of Edinburgh to Cairo in Egypt.
Total Miles Walked: 2,273.69
Total Miles Run: 509.64 The equivalent of Edinburgh to Aalberg in Denmark.
Total Miles Paddled: 17 The equivalent of Edinburgh to Dunfermline.
Total Distance Cycled, Skied, Run and Rowed in the gym: 269.38miles which has taken me all the way down to Solihull in England.
Total Distance Swum: 19.44 kilometres at 12 miles still bobbing around in the outskirts of Edinburgh!
Total Miles covered under own steam: 5,412.85 The equivalent of Edinburgh to Seoul in South Korea.
Total Height Gained under own steam: 258,337.75 feet. At over 48 miles and climbing I am now reaching the outer edge of the Mesosphere of Earth’s Atmosphere.
Total Golf Balls Played: 1,520
Total Holes Played: 113
Mountains Climbed: 8
Hills Climbed: 46
Days of Voluntary Activity: 22
Monologues learned and performed: 3
Songs and Piano Accompaniments learned and performed: 0
Weight Training Sessions: 19
Weight shifted: 5kgs lifted over 9,714 metres, the equivalent of pulling a 5kg weight from Edinburgh to Musselburgh.
Or 62,364kgs, 62.364 tonnes moved over a metre, the equivalent of pulling a Challenger Armoured Repair And Recovery Vehicle over a metre.
Aerobic Circuit Sessions: 36
Press Ups: 4,184
Pull Ups: 378
Sit Ups: 9,820
People Met and Hands Shaken: 810
Pots of tea shared: 62
Pills popped: 3,425

Total Almonds Eaten at approx. 8g a day: 5.76kgs
Total Apples Eaten: 720
Total Bananas Eaten: 720
Total Blueberries Eaten at 40g a day: 28.8kgs
Total Brazil Nuts Eaten at approx. 13g a day: 9.3kgs
Total Bread Pumpkin and Sunflower seeded (preferably wholemeal) Eaten at approx. 2.5 slices a day and with approx. 18 slices in each loaf: 100 loaves.
Total Butter Eaten at approx. 20g a day: 14.4kgs
Total Carrots Eaten at 100g a day: 72kgs
Total Dark Chocolate 85% Eaten at approx. 14g a day: 10.08kgs
Total Eggs Eaten: 720 (60 dozen)
Total Flaxseed Eaten at 37g a day: 26.64kgs
Total Green Tea Consumed at 3 cups (237ml each) a day: 511.9 litres
Total Mango and Passion Fruit Smoothie consumption at approx. 150 ml a day: 108 litres
Total Milk consumption at approx. 330ml a day: 237.6 litres
Total Oat based muesli and Granola Eaten at 110g a day: 79.2kgs
Total Oily Fish Portions: 144
Total Oranges Eaten: 720
Total Other Berries (Raspberries or Strawberries) Eaten at 40g a day: 28.8kgs
Total Pumpkin Seeds Eaten at approx 9g a day: 6.48kgs
Total Raisin and dried Cranberry Mix Eaten at approx. 15g a day: 10.8kgs
Total Red Grapes Eaten at 60g a day: 43.2kgs
Total Red Meat portions: 144
Total Spinach, Rocket and Watercress Salad at approx. 26g a day: 18.7kgs
Total Sunflower Seeds Eaten at approx. 8g a day: 5.76kgs
Total Tenderstem Broccoli Eaten at 50g a day: 36kgs
Total Tomatoes Eaten at 60g a day: 43.2kgs
Total Vegetable portions of any type additional to those specified as part of my balanced daily lifestyle taken alongside tea meal (at 2 additional portions a day) and as completely vegetarian tea meals: 1,584 portions
Total Walnuts Eaten at approx. 4g a day: 28.8kgs
Total White Fish Portions 288
Total White Meat portions 288
Total Yoghurts Eaten: 720

My balanced daily lifestyle has helped me to reinforce my most excellent medical treatment to beat my brain tumour that was supposed to be terminal and has so far staved off all the possible side effects from such a robust treatment regimen as that I had to endure, including 12 monthly cycles, an entire year, of Chemotherapy. None of my vital organs have been adversely affected by the treatment and I have so far managed to stave off the threat of diabetes and brittle bone disease and other nasty diseases that can be associated with such a robust regimen of medical treatment. True I am fighting Neurological Dysfunction caused by the damage to the brain done by a combination of the tumour, the treatment and each and every epileptic seizure. But I am using my balanced daily lifestyle to fuel myself like a formula 1 racing car, and exercise my body and brain, in order to strengthen it, protect it from disease, and provide the best possible nutritional support to aid my efforts to retrain and strengthen the brain while attempting to head off any decline towards Dementia or Parkinson’s or any other form of neurological disease.

For a healthier and much happier life, I implore you all to seize responsibility for your own health, follow my balanced daily lifestyle and in so doing greatly increase your chance of preventing disease from ever happening in the first place. I so very much wish that I had developed my balanced daily lifestyle 20 years ago. It really isn’t that difficult once you get into the swing of it. Neither is it expensive, in fact I have found it cheaper because I am wasting so little food now. Neither am I trying to sell you anything. You really can have a much, much healthier and happier life with just the fruits, vegetables, protein and calcium sources available from your local shops with the requirement to supplement only, with a little turmeric and a tiny amount of Vitamin D. No extra lotions, potions, diplodotions or specialist equipment needed.

Finally, so far I have managed to raise – £17,838. That is great but it could be so much more if I can just get those who are yet to do so to give me 10 minutes of your time and sponsor me (insert link please) even if it is for just £1.00 per month. Every penny counts in the efforts to save lives and rebuild communities for those that need it most, at times of disaster. I guarantee you that every single penny raised is accounted for and goes to the Disasters Emergency Committee. Not a single penny is lost to costs.
Thank you
Keep eating the tenderstem!

Yours aye
Deo Juvante
We can all Beat our Beasts!