Parkinson’s a mental battle

Jim Cominelli discovered he had Parkinson’s 12 years ago.
Jim Cominelli discovered he had Parkinson’s 12 years ago.

The 65-year-old, from Piara Waters, was diagnosed with the disease 12 years ago, after he went to the doctor to get a small tremor in his left leg and left index finger checked.

‘I just about collapsed. It took me six weeks to accept it,’ Mr Cominelli said.

Knowing that he was no longer going to be in complete control of his movements or balance ” common symptoms of the disease which affects the central nervous system ” was a daunting reality.

‘For about the first nine months the doctor didn’t prescribe me any medication because he didn’t think it was affecting my life, but then my balance became affected and my dexterity ” I found it hard to pick things up.

‘I came to the realisation I would be living with the disease so I better learned how to cope.’

Before his diagnosis, Mr Cominelli was running his own trucking business and was a keen marathon runner, football player and cricketer.

Although he was forced to consider an early retirement, he made the conscious decision to stay active.

‘A lot of people just want to curl up in a ball and not face life when they find out they have Parkinson’s, but you have to keep yourself active,’ he said.

‘The disease stiffens you up, it makes your movements jarred and slow. Medication can control it to a degree, but the more exercise you do the better.’

Walking, riding his bike and water exercises are among the activities Mr Cominelli undertakes on a weekly basis, but he also builds things in his shed to keep both his body and mind active.

‘One of the things that gets you down is a negative attitude, so I try and keep a positive attitude at all times.’

Mr Cominelli is now sharing his optimistic outlook on life at the Armadale Parkinson’s Support Group and helps others to manage the disease as best they can.

‘If I have one piece of advice for people with Parkinson’s, it’s don’t let it take over your life, keep living an active life and it will be a lot easier.’

Mr Cominelli will also be taking part in Parkinson’s WA 2013 Unity Walk in September.