I was diagnosed in 2006. I was working in a Department of Clinical Neurology - not as a professional in the field but with literature around me to work out before diagnosis that i had PD. The first sign was that my writing, hitherto large and sprawling, had become small and spidery; the second sign was that I wore the heel of my right foot down much more quickly than my left, indicating that I was scuffing my right foot.
Diagnosis was alarmingly quick - I was asked to do the motion of a duck's beak with both hands, simultaneously - the left hand kept it up without faltering, the right hand started to reduce the movement after a few seconds so that within a short time it was hardly 'quacking' at all! And that was it: the diagnosis...
On leaving the consultant with a prescription for dopamine agonists, I burst into tears, but since then I have found that acceptance is a better way of managing the condition than fighting it. This doesn't mean I don't push myself to, say, walk without scuffing and putting expression into my face, both of which I have to concentrate furiously on when I'm out and about; I speak sternly to myself if I see myself stooping in a shop-window reflection, My errant right arm, which tends to flutter around when I first start walking p the hill to the shops, soon settles down when I establish a rhythm with my fingers for it to follow and be tamed. When I scrabble for coins in my purse because my fingers are losing fine motor skills in that particular operation I make a joke about how I'd hoped that this new purse would yield it's contents more willingly than the old one - and other ploys... I'm not above slapping the PD card on the table, as it were, when I hear people reciting a litany of small complaints about their lives.
Briefly, then, if I am gradually (and so far my progress has been gradual) to lose mobility and quality of life, then I'm going to squeeze as much from what I have now and live life to the full. I want to go on singing and dancing, literally, until the music stops.