Back in 2010, I was still refusing to take any medication or indeed accept that I had Parkinson’s Disease. I’d been diagnosed a number years earlier and as a result had begun to suffer the depressing and challenging mental and physical consequences of the Disease.
The slow onslaught of this little understood and debilitating disease was proving to be more and more challenging. Imbalance, tremors, loss of coordination, muscle stiffness, tiredness and depression all contributed to an extremely unpleasant experience. I therefore succumbed to my Doctor’s insistence that I start taking the appropriate medication. There followed a long process of finding and constantly monitoring a fine balance of medical treatment. Some of the results are colourfully described in my album ‘Weird Medicine’.
Nonetheless, I could well have been in a far worse situation given my numerous travel and entrepreneurial adventures and the crazy times experienced during my days of saloon car racing and hurtling around the British and European countryside on various high powered motorcycles.
But, there I was in 2010, I’d gone from believing I can almost walk on water to feeling uncomfortable leaving the house!
But it had already been one hell of an adventure getting to that point in my life - more on that later . . .
Research has shown that music improves brain function, one of the benefits being to help produce Dopamine which is the chemical in the brain that Parkinson sufferers continue to lose as the disease progresses.
There is currently no cure however there are many medicines that for a period of time reduce the symptoms. However, these medicines come with the inevitable 'may cause side effects’ on the accompanying leaflet hence Track 4 on the 'Weird Medicine' album.
Then in 2015, with time on my hands together with my usual determination and tenacity and quite possibly a little help from some of the medication, I was able to capitalise on my aspirations for creating expressive music and hopefully, in turn effectively conveying the many symptoms and frustrations of living with PD and its accompanying medication.
My first album 'Weird Medicine' was subsequently produced with net sales proceeds destined for Parkinson’s Research.
Now 7 albums later all set to raise money for this important research I also hope to help raise awareness of the devastating effects of this life changing Disease.
In January 2017 I underwent a 6 hour DBS (Deep Brain Stimulation) operation in Addenbrooke's hospital Cambridge, England. The Surgeon first placed the stimulation wires in my head and the battery under the skin on the left side of my chest over my heart. Rather daunting really but after more than a year undergoing various tests and attending specialists appointments I was deemed as suitable for this potentially life changing operation.
6 weeks after the initial operation the system is switched on via an iPad by the specialist Doctor. It's then trial and error adjusting the iPod and/or any medication. I was also issued with a mini iPod to enable me to fine tune the device during use. The operation has significantly calmed my shakes and with the shakes reduced I’ve gained a stone in weight. However, poor balance and stiff muscles is now becoming a real issue.
The great news for me was during my 6 hour operation the surgeon streamed my music into the operating theatre. As a result, I made up a CD called ‘Dr.B Exposed’ featuring what I believe to be my best work so far, plus a number of new tracks. The Surgeon is now regularly playing the personalised album in the operating theatre.
The 10 track album is now set to be released sometime in 2018 featuring a Bonus track 'The Surgeon's Anthem' the album will be available for download from all major music websites.