Jamie is my big little brother. Bigger in stature (not width) but littler in age. We've always been close apart from about a year when we were little and he became Satan's spawn with an evil grin and a bowl cut and i just wanted to be left alone to play recorder. Thankfully we grew out of the bickering, the haircuts and the awful musical instruments and came through it with a stronger sibling bond.
He couldn't physically attend the hospital appointment when i got my diagnosis but knowing him he would have been sat at his desk thinking about it. He's a worrier by nature and for a while his brow was permanently furrowed when he was around me. Calling him to tell him the news upset me more than hearing it myself, i knew he'd be shocked and sad and i didn't want to cause him that pain. He somehow managed to sound calm and reassuring even though i know his mind was scattered. I'm so grateful for that.
I know he's always got my back and he manages to strike the difficult balance of being patient and kind with a sort of impish sense of humour and fun that he uses to mock me. I wouldn't have it any other way, he's my little brother, mucking about is what we do and I love that he still teases me.
Everyone should have a brother like him.
A mention should also go to Jamie's fiance Katie who has not only taken one for the team by taking Jamie off our hands but has listened to hours of my hair brained schemes, offered support when i need it and treats me like me. She's got the future Sister In Law role spot on.
EMMA: What did you know about Parkinson's before I was diagnosed?
JAMIE: Not a lot! I knew about the tremors but i’d always seen it as something that only affected the elderly. I also didn’t realise there was an apostrophe but grammar has never been a strong point.
EMMA: What were your first thoughts when you heard my diagnosis?
JAMIE: It took me a little while to process it and I don’t think I immediately knew what it meant as a diagnosis. I had a little Google to find out more but I think initially it was a strange combination of shock, worry and relief. We’d all been worrying about your hand for so long that there was definitely a sense of relief when you could finally put a name to your symptoms and start looking at how you could treat it. I can remember trying to gauge your reaction when things unfolded before I knew how I should feel about it. I didn’t want to overreact and upset you if you were handling it well.
EMMA: How, If at all, have your thoughts about Parkinson's changed over the past 3 years?
JAMIE: I still don’t fully understand it and I find that quite hard. I’ve seen how you’ve handled the past few years and Parkinson’s is definitely less scary, but there’s still so much around it that’s unknown. I struggle to accept that we still don’t know what causes it or how to cure it.
EMMA: If you could give the brother of a newly diagnosed person one piece of advice or knowledge what would it be?
JAMIE: Don’t let it change your relationship. We’ve always been really close and felt like we could take the mick out of each other. I think sometimes having a laugh and joke about something like Parkinson’s can help you manage it and take control.
EMMA: What one word would you use to describe Parkinson's?
EMMA: Anything else you'd like to add?
JAMIE: I’m so impressed at how motivated you’ve been since being diagnosed. You’ve obviously had to make changes and Parkinson’s has an effect on your life every day, but you’re positive and you're a fighter and I think that’s a great attitude to have. You’re doing so many new things and visiting new places! I’m very proud.