Andrea Gibbons - Parkinson's symptoms at 21
Andrea Gibbons is a 37 year old mother of 2, from
Nottinghamshire. She was diagnosed with Parkinson's when she was 34 after experiencing
symptoms since the age of 21.
Andrea describes the impact being diagnosed with Parkinson's so
young has had on her life.
Living with the symptoms since I was 21
"In April 2007, I was diagnosed with young
onset Parkinson's. A shock at 34 years of age? Not really, I had
been living with the symptoms since I was 21.
"A week after my 21st birthday, I gave birth to Ben. Shortly
afterwards, my leg started to shake. I was reassured it was a nerve
damaged in childbirth.
"Apart from depression and excessive
tiredness, I didn’t notice anything more until 2005. By this time I
was married to Pablo and had my daughter Isabel. I started to
stutter and my leg began to drag. I couldn't write very well or
even brush my teeth.
"My doctor thought it could be a benign tremor and prescribed me
with high blood pressure tablets. But the tremor didn't change.
"I then saw a specialist. Parkinson's was mentioned, but it was
not high on anybody's list. A scan later, I was diagnosed. As far
as I was aware, Parkinson's was an illness for older people.
Advantages and side effects of medication
"Once I found out I was not going to die, I moved on positively
with what I thought would help me return to my old self - medication.
"The medication definitely helped my mobility, but the side
effects were awful - complete exhaustion, insomnia, nausea, muscle
spasms and compulsive behaviour.
"My personality altered and this affected both me and my family.
Ben just shut it out and carried on, but Isabel started leaving me
off her drawings that she brought home from nursery. She ignored me
and would not let me comfort her when distressed. It was
"I've started a support group for other young people in my area.
We all need to know we are not alone."
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Everyone affected by Parkinson's is welcome to join.