Living with Parkinson's diseaseI'd only gone to see the doctor with bronchitis but, while she was examining me, she noticed my little finger was trembling. She sent me for tests and, a year later, I was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease.
My mum was with me at the time, and she was relieved that I didn't have something terminal. But when the doctor explained what Parkinson's disease was, I wasn't relieved, I was devastated. I was only 26, and to be told I had something that was going to get worse and worse was awful.
I was put on medication, and I threw myself into my work to try to forget about it. I loved my job as a manager in a clothes shop, and carried on with it for years.But the Parkinson's gradually got worse. It now affects my whole right side and, when my medication's not right, I drag my right foot.
Unfortunately, I had to give up my job recently as it just got too much. Health-wise, I've felt better since. But I really miss the people. Life goes on, though. I met my wonderful partner, Sean, last year, and we got married in September. I'm also now expecting a baby, so there's lots of exciting things happening in my life.
Apart from finding the right medication, the most important thing to do if you have Parkinson's disease is to stay positive. I know the tremors will get worse. But, if I look after myself, there's no reason why I shouldn't achieve my dreams.
Catherine McCartney, 36, Stoke-on-Trent
For more information and advice, visit www.parkinsons.org.uk