Projects and persistence in gymnastics

To go along with the video I have renamed the blog “Handstand for Parkinson’s” and the website is I hope this won’t cause too much confusion.

The other news is that I am preparing a Poster “Living with Parkinson’s in Peru”. So I am super busy trying to interview people with the disease and write up their stories and creating charts. I have never done something like this and with the time limit so close (June). I am a bit overwhelmed and have ideas that I am struggling to put into action.

Thanks everyone for your votes and support with the video “Handstanding for Parkinson’s Disease”. I have been so blessed by comments and with votes. The winner isn’t announced until June, but voting has finished.

We’re preparing for our 3 month visit to Australia late May to August which is exciting too.

The fun news is that I am working on a follow-up video called “Before and After” about how my coordination, movement balance and strength  improved by doing gymnastics to combat Parkinson’s. It is half done so watch this space. I am relatively new to video editing so it is taking me time to learn but I’m advancing little by little.

Also I am back at the gym training pretty hard but like pride before the fall my handstand has gone backwards. Firstly my coach prefers that I don’t use a wall for support and secondly I am still frightened and lack consistency in my style. I need to keep practicing! Everyone has these valleys or plateaus but I am working hard. My next video will include some new tricks I am working on… of course I’m not looking like a pro but I’m moving forward nonetheless. April marks the first anniversary of my time in the gym.

Parkinson’s Disease Project Peru – Proyecto de Enfermedad de Parkinsons.

Spanish first today then English below.

This is Sammy photo bombing me. Not related but fun.

Este es el enlace para recaudar fondos para el proyecto (ya borre). Está en fase de desarrollo en este momento. Estoy tratando de encontrar pacientes e invito a reunirme regularmente y buscando socios con los que trabajar, como la asociación de Parkinson de PERU (que está muy interesada en trabajar con nosotros).

El objetivo es encontrar voluntarios internacionales y nacionales y fondos para venir a enseñar / demostrar las mejores prácticas en el tratamiento de la enfermedad de Parkinson, la educación sobre la enfermedad y el ejercicio.

El proyecto también examinará a cada nuevo contacto sobre sus experiencias con Parkinson en PERÚ. A continuación se muestra un borrador del plan del proyecto, pero las cosas dependerán de las encuestas y los recursos disponibles.

Objetivos del proyecto: Educación para la enfermedad de Parkinson en Perú

Parte 1: Educar a profesionales de la salud, fisioterapeuta, patólogo del habla. Las enfermeras y otros profesionales, como trabajadores sociales, nutricionistas, educadores de la salud y más jóvenes / seleccionados sufren o miembros de la familia capaces de ayudar con la educación de otros.

¿Cómo? Invite a extranjeros o expertos locales a capacitar al grupo principal / Capacitación interactiva y práctica / Pruebas / enseñar a un vecino.

Día 1- Enfermedad de Parkinson en profundidad: Dopamina / síntomas / Drogas vs Ejercicio / mitos / cirugía
Día 2- Discurso / Dieta / Depresión / Importancia de las reuniones / Organización /
Planificación de lecciones de planificación y libros de imágenes
Día 3/4 Entrene a los fisioterapeutas / baile u otros en PD warrior u otro programa similar
Parte 2: Día 5/6 – Clínicas en Lima: Enseñe nuevamente 1-4 en forma abreviada.
Días 7/8 (después del domingo) Trujillo regional y Arequipa – 4 capacitadores (incluyendo fisio / habla / nutricionista) van a cada ciudad.
Es un borrador del plan, pero como la gente me lo ha pedido, me parece bueno compartirlo. Del mismo modo, si deseamos ayuda, necesitamos compartir un plan claro, incluso si es necesario ajustarlo.

Si conoces a alguien que pueda ayudar, los expertos de Parkinson pueden compartir. Que puedan ofrecerse a ser voluntarios o hacer incluso más que en el plan. DREAM soñar grande … y trabajar duro en el interum.

This is the link to to project fundraiser (no deleted as it was old). It is in development stage right now. I am trying to find patients and invite to meet regularly and looking for partners to work with too like the Parkinson’s association of PERU (who are super keen to work with us).

The aim is to find international and national volunteers and funding to come and teach/ demonstrate best practices in Parkinson’s disease treatment, disease education and exercise.

The project will also survey each new contact on their experiences with Parkinson’s in PERU. Below is a draft of the project plan but things will depend on survey’s and resources available.

Project Aims: Education for the disease of Parkinson’s in Peru

Part 1: Educate health professionals, physiotherapist, speech pathologist. Nurses and other professionals, like social workers, nutritionist, health Educators and younger/ selected suffers or family member able to help with education of others.

How? Invite foreigners or local experts to train the core group/ Interactive and practical training/ Quizzes/ teach a neighbour.

  • Day 1-  Parkinson’s Disease in-depth : Dopamine/symptoms/Drugs vs Exercise/ myths/surgery
  • Day 2- Speech/ Diet/Depression/Importance of meetings/ Organisation /
  • Planning lesson planning and picture books
  • Day 3/4 Train physiotherapists / dance or others in PD warrior or other such program
  • Part 2: Day 5/6 – Lima Clinics: Teach 1-4 again in abbreviated form.
  • Days 7/8 (after Sunday off) Regional Trujillo and Arequipa – 4 trainers (including physio/speech/nutritionist) go to each city.

It is a draft plan but since people have asked I thought it good to share. Likewise if we want help we need to share a clear plan, even if it needs adjusting.

If you know anyone who could help – Parkinson’s experts then please share. Maybe they can offer to volunteer or do more than in the plan even. Lets DREAM big…..and work hard in the interim.


Saddened by Parkinson’s stories in Peru

Everyone is asking: Yes I am back at the gym training with my coach, trying crazy things. M y daughter, Amelia, has pointed out I am doing this wrong and how to fix it.
Little by little.

Thanks everyone for sharing and donating to the page:

Anything in addition to the target goes towards an educational campaign for patients, families and interested health professionals. Today I met with a Parkinson’s sufferer who has lost faith in doctores, who don’t give patients enough time to educate them properly, explain repercussions of drugs (like laxatives) nor the importance of nutrition, exercise, exercises for the voice, self care and the prevalence of depression and how to confront the disease. Looking back maybe I got more time, being the gringa because I was firing question after question despite noticing the doctores desire to say “next” written all over his/her face. But even then the responses were simple ” yes physiotherapy could help”. I am working one on one to educate but more is needed. I know I have been an encouragement but thinking of a team of people educated in Parkinson’s to deal with this nasty disease properly. People able to model love and kindness and willing to go to the regional centres too.

Peru and Parkinson’s Disease

According to the World Health Organisation 7 million people around the world have Parkinson’s disease. In Peru there are no official statistics but it is it is estimated that 30,000 people suffer with Parkinson’s and every year 2000-3000 new cases are found.

But from observation and comments of friends here, people hide disabilities or they can be undiagnosed so the numbers could be higher.

The treatment and lack of education about the disease is concerning.

Diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease in Peru is usually done by a neurologist but outside of the capital there are no Parkinson’s specialist neurologists (registered as Movement specialists)  and this can cause a variance of treatment. Unfortunately ‘Levodopa’ is prescribed from the beginning of the disease when it should be prescribed after about five years according to Doctor. Cesar Casteñada, Neurologo, Movement Disorders Specialist de Lima. The Parkinson’s medication “levodopa” has a shelf life and becomes less effective with time, and can even stop working after 5-10 years. Other drugs called Antagonists should be prescribed but they are expensive and may not be covered by health insurance in Peru (public or private).

Aside from drugs, the most important treatment that slows the diseases advancement is exercise but doctors here rarely mention this. One does not get a lot of time with the specialist and patient education is not a priority. It’s possible that doctors are not trained in what to recommend in terms of exercise therapy. Likewise referring people to a physiotherapist may lead to the same problem as in my experience in a regional city, physiotherapists lack training too.

What is needed is an expansion of the education about Parkinson’s disease for patients, their families and the medical community. Recently I attended the Parkinson’s Association meeting in Lima and found it to be so beneficial for the people emotionally as we connected with others like us. We became more educated about the disease and the event finished with some physical therapy which encouraged people and informed them about what they could do to help prevent the disease getting worse. We all participated and had fun.

Let me give you one case study that shows the benefits of education and of Parkinson’s sufferers meeting together. Over the last 6 months I have been chatting on WhatsApp and by phone with a lady of about 49 years of age with severe Parkinson’s. I’ve encouraged her about doing exercise, sent her videos of simple things she could do and articles to read about benefits of exercise and how to have a positive attitude. I pray for her too but unfortunately she never said she did any of the exercises. She was encouraged by our friendship but was often depressed and didn’t want to go out. She wanted to meet me and go to the Parkinson association meeting so she came all the way to Lima from a city 12 hours away. She attended the meeting and I could see that the people around her encouraging her  and challenging her about some of the things that I have been saying for months. When she got home she found it hard because her symptoms were getting worse and the drugs weren’t working as well as they did before, but then she wrote me saying she was meeting someone else with Parkinson’s disease and she was realising the importance of exercise and they were doing it together. She realised with her diseases advancement she had to exercise and stretch as the drugs didn’t help much. Amazing progress.

She benefited from both the educational meeting of the Parkinson’s Association and uniting with other people who had the disease – this was a great encouragement to her.  This is needed across Peru.

PS- There are many more stories to tell and more stories and background can be found in previous blogs.

Articles in Spanish Media:

hLa Enfermedad de Parkinson’s en Peru

Según la Organización Mundial de la Salud, 7 millones de personas en todo el mundo tienen la enfermedad de Parkinson. En Perú no hay estadísticas oficiales, pero se estima que 30,000 personas sufren de Parkinson y cada año se detectan 2000-3000 casos nuevos.
Pero a partir de la observación y los comentarios de amigos aquí, las personas ocultan discapacidades o pueden ser no diagnosticadas para que las cifras sean más altas.

El tratamiento y la falta de educación sobre la enfermedad es preocupante.
El diagnóstico de la enfermedad de Parkinson en Perú generalmente lo realiza un neurólogo, pero fuera de la capital no hay neurólogos especialistas en Parkinson (registrados como especialistas en Movimiento) y esto puede causar una variación del tratamiento. Desafortunadamente, “Levodopa” se prescribe desde el principio de la enfermedad cuando debe recetarse después de unos cinco años, según el médico. Cesar Casteñada, Neurologo, Especialista en Trastornos del Movimiento de Lima. El medicamento “levodopa” de la enfermedad de Parkinson tiene una vida útil y se vuelve menos efectivo con el tiempo, e incluso puede dejar de funcionar después de 5-10 años. Se deben recetar otros medicamentos llamados Antagonistas, pero son caros y es posible que no estén cubiertos por el seguro de salud en Perú (público o privado).

Aparte de los medicamentos, el tratamiento más importante que retarda el avance de las enfermedades es el ejercicio, pero los médicos aquí rara vez lo mencionan. Uno no tiene mucho tiempo con el especialista y la educación del paciente no es una prioridad. Es posible que los médicos no estén capacitados sobre qué recomendar en términos de terapia de ejercicios. Del mismo modo, remitir a las personas a un fisioterapeuta puede llevar al mismo problema que en mi experiencia en una ciudad regional, los fisioterapeutas también necesiten capacitación.

Lo que se necesita es una expansión de la educación sobre la enfermedad de Parkinson para los pacientes, sus familias y la comunidad médica. Recientemente, asistí a la reunión de la Asociación de Parkinson en Lima y descubrí que era muy beneficioso para las personas emocionalmente, ya que nos conectamos con otros como nosotros. Nos educamos más acerca de la enfermedad y el evento terminó con una terapia física que alentó a las personas y les informó sobre lo que podían hacer para ayudar a prevenir que la enfermedad empeorara. Todos participamos y nos divertimos.

Permítame darle un estudio de caso que muestra los beneficios de la educación y la reunión de los pacientes de Parkinson. Durante los últimos 6 meses he estado hablando en WhatsApp y por teléfono con una mujer de unos 49 años de edad con Parkinson grave. La alenté a hacer ejercicio, le envié videos de cosas simples que podía hacer y artículos para leer sobre los beneficios del ejercicio y cómo tener una actitud positiva. Ore por ella también, pero desafortunadamente ella nunca dijo que hizo ninguno de los ejercicios. Nuestra amistad la animaba pero a menudo estaba deprimida y no quería salir.
Quería reunirse conmigo e ir a la reunión de la asociación de Parkinson, por lo que vino a Lima desde una ciudad a 12 horas de distancia. Ella asistió a la reunión y pude ver que las personas a su alrededor la alientan y la desafían por algunas de las cosas que he estado diciendo durante meses. Veía la muy atenta. Cuando llegó a casa, lo encontraba difícil porque sus síntomas empeoraron y las drogas no funcionaban tan bien como antes, pero luego me escribió diciendo que estaba con alguien más con la enfermedad de Parkinson y que se estaba dando cuenta de la importancia del ejercicio y lo hacían juntos. Se dio cuenta de que con el avance de sus enfermedades tenía que hacer ejercicio y estirarse ya que las drogas no ayudaban mucho. Increíble progreso.

Se benefició tanto de la reunión educativa de la Asociación de Parkinson como de la unión con otras personas que tenían la enfermedad, esto fue un gran estímulo para ella. Esto es necesario en todo el Perú.

PD: Hay muchas más historias que contar y más historias y antecedentes se pueden encontrar en blogs anteriores.

Artículos en medios españoles esten arriba.

Joy personified

This is more information about a Parkinson’s meeting I attended in Lima in January. That may seem boring to some but the next two characters certainly ensured it was not boring. Also see previous blog about the shocking misdiagnosis of a lady who attended.


One of the first persons to meet us was a vibrant lady in her early 50’s who had had the disease since she was 28 years old. Lets call her “Joy” as that she was, she immediately told us her story, including the trials of being called a drunk but most of all she was encouraging people “keep moving”, “don’t cry” , “do exercise” and “you can do it”.

She was quite the chatterbox but I could see my friend who’d taken a 12 hour bus to meet me at the meeting moved by her positive example. I enjoyed seeing her encouraged by someone else to do all the things I’d been encouraging her to do. It was nice I could remain silent and let Joy do what came naturally. Thank God for people like Joy who inspire us.

Movement Therapist

She was a pocket rocket – small but strong. From the get go she had us eating from her hand as she sang huskily along to the music and moved her hips and arms as only a latino can. She asked us all to join in (as we could) and ‘feel’ the music. This was the warm up and people who’d been in tears minutes earlier sang along and moved with enthusiasm. What a great way to warm up that anyone can do – limited movement or not. Music warms the soul and helps you move and smile. The exercise therapist then taught the group some basic stretching movements.

Everyone had a great time and I joked she needed to come to Arequipa every week (1.5 hours by plane). She does have a regular slot in Lima where older folk can go and the association can pass on the details.  

Again the positive outcomes of  having Parkinson’s association meetings are clearcut. We can encourage each other and exercise together and I am hoping we can replicate in our city.

Gozo Personificada

Esta es más información sobre una reunión de Parkinson a la que asistí en Lima en enero. Eso puede parecer aburrido para algunos, pero los siguientes dos personajes sin duda aseguraron que no fuera aburrido. También vea el blog anterior sobre el sorprendente diagnóstico erróneo de una señora que asistió.

Una de las primeras personas que conocí fue una dama vibrante de unos 50 años que había contraído la enfermedad desde que tenía 28 años. Llamémosla “Alegría” como era, inmediatamente nos contó su historia, incluidas las pruebas de ser llamada borracha, pero sobre todo estaba animando a la gente a “seguir moviéndose”, “no llorar”, “hacer ejercicio”. Y usted puede hacerlo”.
Ella estaba bastante en el chatterbox pero pude ver a mi amiga que había tomado un autobús de 12 horas para reunirse conmigo en la reunión conmovida por su ejemplo positivo. Disfruté viéndola animada por alguien más para hacer todas las cosas por las que la había alentado. Fue agradable poder permanecer en silencio y dejar que Joy hiciera lo que era natural. Gracias a Dios por personas como Joy que nos inspiran.

Terapeuta de movimiento
Era un cohete de bolsillo, pequeña pero fuerte. Desde el principio, nos hizo comer de su mano mientras cantaba con la música y movía sus caderas y brazos como solo un latino puede. Nos pidió a todos que nos uniéramos (como pudiéramos) y “sintiéramos” la música. Este fue el calentamiento y las personas que habían estado llorando minutos antes cantaban y se movían con entusiasmo. Qué gran manera de calentar que cualquiera puede hacer, movimiento limitado o no. La música calienta el alma y te ayuda a moverse y sonreír. El terapeuta de ejercicios enseñó al grupo algunos movimientos básicos de estiramiento.
Todos la pasaron muy bien y yo bromeaba que ella necesitaba venir a Arequipa cada semana (1.5 horas en avión). Ella reside en Lima, donde la gente mayor puede ir y la asociación puede transmitir los detalles.

Nuevamente, los resultados positivos de tener reuniones de la asociación de Parkinson son claros. Podemos animarnos mutuamente y hacer ejercicio juntos, y espero que podamos replicar en nuestra ciudad.

Hiding Parkinson’s Disease and Disability in PERU

I’ve got a friend with Parkinson’s disease who feels alone. She doesn’t go out of her house unless she’s medicated and she has long off periods. She drags her feet when she walks and is embarrassed generally by the disease. She is self-conscious. Even her neighbours haven’t seen her walking. Why does she have such an attitude?

Peruvians tell me that there is prejudice against people with disability. They create a financial strain on their family and community. You don’t see many disabled on the streets except a few regular beggars. People hide away disabled family members. Children with disabilities are not exposed to normal outings and parents have low expectations of them which become self-fulfilling. One person was told not to touch an autistic children (as if it could be contagious). This is clearly unloving towards the child and exacerbates the disability further.

I created Facebook group for Parkinson’s Disease in my city with the idea of educating others about the disease and encouraging people to meet up to do exercise together. But people with Parkinson’s don’t want to come out. They may also be frightened of meeting someone new.

Why? It is a low trust society but also they could have mobility issues (taxi’s are expensive) or it might relate to other people’s attitude to them. Often disability in the family leads to people believing it is somehow the fault of the family. Maybe it is the fault of the parents or discipline from God. There is also a lot of superstition so they look for something or someone to blame.

If they go to church they sometimes get told to pray for healing and have faith more God. And if no healing happens they don’t want to go to church anymore. Worse still, one friend said they’ll go from religion to religion or to the witch doctor to a quack doctor looking for something that helps but never committing to any religion fully – he called it religion shopping.

So when people find out ‘the missionary’ has a disease they are shocked and tell me what they have been told “I need to pray and have faith”. Paul had huge faith and God didn’t heal him and there are people throughout the Bible who suffered: Daniel, Joseph, Naomi, Hannah. And Job was tested because of his good faith which messes with that idea a bit too. I am not suggesting I am like Job or Paul but I also sense that unspoken question ‘’what sin in your life is preventing your healing’.  I’ll be the first to admit that I fail and sin more often than I’d like to admit openly but I believe God to be a gracious and loving God. He sees our hearts. If Jesus has died on the cross for my sin, I don’t think he will punish me (with a disease) unless it is a direct consequence of bad choices, ie smoking can lead to lung cancer.

In the Bible there is a story about a blind man (John, 9:1–12) and Jesus’ disciples asked:

“Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me”.

Jesus healed the blind man and displayed his power.  Maybe God wants to demonstrate his power in me or others but it isn’t always clear God’s purpose in everything.

In the Bible we also see Jesus was forgiving: When a lady was condemned for adultery and the Jews wanted to stone her, What was Jesus response?

“Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Meanwhile Jesus wrote something on the ground. If you feel judged by others remember Jesus asked her “who condemns you” to the lady. She said “Noone! Jesus responds -“Then neither do I condemn you, Go now and leave your life of sin.” We should always be striving to leave sin behind whatever health problems come our way. Our health problems are not a curse from God for past actions.

I don’t and can’t hide my disability and any questions or comments help educate one more person, one person at a time. I can’t sit home and hide – I have responsibilities and children and there are beautiful places to see and mountains to get to the top of. This picture is from Rainbow mountain, an amazingly beautiful place in Peru we went to this week.

I got a horse some of the way up. I climbed the last 300 metres at an altitude of 5000 metres and I helped my hesitant 9 year old niece to keep going. I walked all the way down. I am looking for the next challenge…. to raise funds for Parkinson’s disease and my trip to World Parkinson’s congress. Ideas welcome.

I won’t stop living and enjoying life, even if I have fear. Hopefully you can live this way too.

Ps. This is a big theological topic so I am not able to do it justice.

Further reading:\

Prejuicio contra personas con discapacidad en el Perú.

Tengo una amiga con la enfermedad de Parkinson que se siente sola. Ella no sale de su casa a menos que esté medicada y tenga periodos prolongados. Ella arrastra los pies cuando camina y, en general, se siente avergonzada por la enfermedad. Ella es consciente de sí misma. Incluso sus vecinos no la han visto caminar. ¿Por qué tiene esa actitud?

Los peruanos me dicen que hay prejuicios contra las personas con discapacidad. No ves muchos discapacitados en las calles, excepto unos pocos mendigos regulares. La gente esconde a sus familiares discapacitados. Los niños con discapacidades no están expuestos a salidas normales y los padres tienen bajas expectativas de ellos, que se vuelven autosuficientes. A una persona se le dijo que no tocara a un niño autista (como si pudiera ser contagioso). Esto es claramente poco amoroso hacia el niño y exacerba aún más la discapacidad.
Creé el grupo de Facebook para la enfermedad de Parkinson en mi ciudad con la idea de educar a otros sobre la enfermedad y alentar a las personas a reunirse para hacer ejercicio juntos. Pero las personas con Parkinson no quieren salir. Drepente pueden tener miedo de conocer a alguien nuevo.

¿Por qué? Es una sociedad de baja confianza, pero también podrían tener problemas de movilidad (los taxis son caros) o podrían estar relacionados con la actitud de los demás. A menudo, la discapacidad en la familia lleva a las personas a creer que de alguna manera es culpa de la familia. Tal vez sea culpa de los padres o disciplina de Dios. También hay mucha superstición por lo que buscan algo o alguien a quien culpar.

Si van a la iglesia, a veces se les dice que oren por sanidad y tengan más fe en Dios. Y si no hay curación, ya no quieren ir a la iglesia. Peor aún, un amigo le dijo que irán de religión en religión o de brujo a médico curandero en busca de algo que ayude, pero que nunca se comprometa con ninguna religión por completo, él lo llamó ir de compras a la religión.

Entonces, cuando la gente descubre que “el misionero” tiene una enfermedad, se escandalizan y me dicen lo que me han dicho “Necesito orar y tener fe”. Pablo tenía una gran fe y Dios no lo sanó y hay personas en toda la Biblia que sufrieron: Daniel, José, Noemí, Ana. Y Job fue probado debido a su buena fe, que también confunde un poco con esa idea. No estoy sugiriendo que soy como Job o Pablo, pero también siento que la pregunta no formulada “qué pecado en tu vida está impidiendo tu curación?” Seré la primera en admitir que fracasó y peco más a menudo de lo que me gustaría admitir abiertamente, pero creo que Dios es un Dios bondadoso y amoroso. Él ve nuestros corazones. Si Jesús murió en la cruz por mi pecado, no creo que me castigue (con una enfermedad) a menos que sea una consecuencia directa de malas decisiones, es decir, fumar puede provocar cáncer de pulmón.
En la Biblia hay una historia sobre un hombre ciego (Juan, 9: 1–12) y los discípulos de Jesús preguntaron:
“Rabino, ¿quién pecó, este hombre o sus padres, que nació ciego?”

“Ni este hombre ni sus padres pecaron”, dijo Jesús, “pero esto sucedió para que las obras de Dios se mostrarán en él. Mientras sea día, debemos hacer las obras del que me envió “.

Jesús sanó al ciego y mostró su poder. Tal vez Dios quiere demostrar su poder en mí o en otros, pero no siempre es claro el propósito de Dios en todo.

En la Biblia también vemos que Jesús perdonaba: cuando una mujer fue condenada por adulterio y los judíos querían apedrearla, ¿cuál fue la respuesta de Jesús?
“Que cualquiera de ustedes que este sin pecado sea el primero en tirarle una piedra”. Mientras tanto, Jesús escribió algo en el suelo. Si te sientes juzgado por otros, recuerda que Jesús le preguntó a ella “quién te condena”. Ella dice que ninguno y Jesús responde: “Entonces tampoco te condeno, vete ahora y abandona tu vida de pecado”. Siempre debemos esforzarnos por dejar el pecado detrás de cualquier problema de salud que se nos presente. Nuestros problemas de salud no son una maldición de Dios por las acciones pasadas.

No puedo y no puedo ocultar mi discapacidad y cualquier pregunta o comentario ayuda a educar a una persona más, una persona a la vez. No puedo sentarme en casa y esconderme, tengo responsabilidades y niños, y hay hermosos lugares para ver y montañas para llegar a la cima. Esta imagen es de Rainbow mountain, un lugar increíblemente hermoso en Perú al que fuimos esta semana.

Tuve un caballo en el camino. Subí los últimos 300 metros a una altura de 5000 metros y también ayudé a mi temerosa sobrina de 9 años. Bajé todo el camino hacia abajo para que no fuera del todo fácil. Estoy buscando el próximo reto…. para recaudar fondos para la enfermedad de Parkinson y mi viaje al congreso World Parkinson. Ideas bienvenidas.

No puedo dejar de vivir y disfrutar la vida, aun tengo miedo a veces. Espero que tu puedes vivir igual amigos.

PD. Este es un gran tema teológico, así que no puedo hacerle justicia.

Otras lecturas:

This is the track to top where the dip is in the centre of the picture

It’s important the act you follow

It is common to have people get on the local buses to sell sweets or biscuits (or perform musically) to get a meagre income but the sales pitch often comes with a story. I was on the bus with Annabelle and there was a salesman selling his booklet of psychological tips. He kind of sounded like a preacher so with nothing to do we listened in. After his spiel he offered a free book to whoever could answer his question. I gave it a try, wrong. Annabelle tried, another tried and then finally the young man next to us tried but he too was rejected. The young man said he’d heard the man before and he changed the answer every time. The man went on and on despite no sales of his booklet. He asked what was the cause of problems in the world. I said ‘sin’. He said no in a long-winded way. Then he asked “how do we find the truth?” I said “In the Bible” but my pre teen was getting embarrassed by my involvement so I went quiet while he went on about the good in the Bible, rich pastors, then that the expectation of 10% as offering to the church, and that it was not in the Bible. I held my tongue as he wasn’t listening. Finally he got off the bus with not one sale.

A few minutes later a very old man stood up and explained he’d come to Arequipa to help his daughter and her children who’d been abandoned by her husband and worse still she had cancer. He held his bag of sweets ready to sell.

But then he said “ I am from a highland village where I help a Pastor an Evangelical church and that man was wrong about giving 10%, it is in the Bible. I don’t like those mega churches that demand money either but in our church we decide how to use the money to help the church”. He said more but by this point people were already getting coins out to donate, few actually took a sweet because they knew he was for real. He probably never received so much. I’m guessing the incredible response was because of the salesman that he followed. It does matter the act you follow.

Importa mucho la acción y la persona que sigue.

Es común aquí ver vendedores subir a las combis (o buses) para vender dulces o galletas (o tocar música) para obtener algunos ingresos; pero el argumento de venta a menudo incluye una historia. Estaba en el autobús con Annabelle y había un vendedor que vendía su folleto de consejos psicológicos. Sonaba como un predicador, así que sin nada que hacer, escuchamos. Después de su discurso, ofreció un libro gratis a quien pudiera responder su pregunta. Cuando intenté responder, me equivoque. Annabelle lo intentó una vez, luego  otra vez y, finalmente, lo intentó un joven que estaba sentado a nuestro lado, pero él también tenía la respuesta incorrecta. El joven dijo que ya había escuchado al hombre antes y siempre cambiaba la respuesta. El hombre siguió y siguió a pesar de no haber vendido su folleto. Luego, preguntó sobre cuál era la causa de los problemas en el mundo. Yo le dije “el pecado”. A lo que me respondió “no” de una manera prolongada. Luego preguntó: “¿Cómo encontramos la verdad?”. Le dije “En la Biblia”, pero mi pre adolescente se estaba avergonzando por mi participación, así que me quedé callada mientras él hablaba sobre lo bueno en la Biblia, los pastores ricos, y que esperaban del 10% como ofrenda a la iglesia, y que eso no estaba en la Biblia. Me mantuve callada ya que él no me estaba escuchando. Finalmente, se bajó del autobús sin una sola venta.

Unos minutos más tarde, un hombre ya mayor se levantó y le explicó que había llegado a Arequipa para ayudar a su hija y sus hijos que habían sido abandonados por su marido y, peor aún, que tenía su hija tenía cáncer. Sostuvo su bolsa de dulces lista para vender.

Pero luego dijo: “Soy de un pueblo en las alturas en donde ayudo a un pastor en una iglesia evangélica y que ese hombre está equivocado con respecto a dar el 10% a la iglesia, eso está en la Biblia. Tampoco me gustan esas mega iglesias que demandan dinero, pero en nuestra iglesia decidimos cómo usar el dinero para ayudar a la iglesia ”. Dijo más, pero la gente ya estaba alistando sus monedas para donarle, pocas personas tomaron algunos dulces porque sabían que su historia era real. Probablemente nunca recibió tanto. Supongo que la increíble respuesta fue porque él fue el que siguió al anterior. En sí, importa mucho la acción y la persona que sigue.


Body Aching after Exercise : “Makurki”


New gymnasts get makurki, even my lil ladies back when they started. OK just an excuse for cute twins picture.

My body is aching – every stretch to pick something up, hurts.
This is the result of yesterday’s gym work out and here they call it “makurki”.
I asked the gymnastic choreographer how to spell that and she laughed and said “I don’t know”.
She didn’t know how to spell it, because it was a Quechua word that gets used around the gym and Spanish-ised (i.e word endings added in Spanish).
I like the word and it is less clunky than the English alternative – ‘delayed onset muscle soreness or DOMS’.

I first came to understand the concept of “makurki” (in English) 20 years ago, when I heard a New Zealand gymnast explain the concept. What he said, made a memorable impression but even more memorable was that he walked on his hands and had the tent full of girls in awe of his gymnastic tricks!
He explained (see website listed below for more information) that when a muscle is stressed, a micro-tear is created in the muscle/s, causing inflammation (DOMS). Our bodies are adaptive and “this demand for increased strength cues it to build more muscle tissue and make us stronger.”
The soreness just means that our body is adapting to the new expectations being placed upon it.
When you get these pains, it is important to stretch as this improves recovery.
So the good news is that I am building up my muscles!

The gymnast went on to say that this analogy relates to life as well, that in life we have micro tears – things that cause pain and soreness, but as we adapt and learn to cope and trust in God, we grow as people.
Our bodies are amazing in the way they adapt and grow to meet our new workout demands and likewise as we trust in our Creator, we must grow as people too.
Life is not easy – everyone has pain but if a person stops because of the pain of one workout or one tough life situation, they will lose the benefits of what could have come next, if they had kept fighting onwards.

Do you have life ‘makurki’? If so, maybe you are ready to grow as a person.
In tough times, I turn to God and yes, it still hurts, but time and stretching helps with the healing. For me, stretching means digging deeper into God’s word and knowing Him.
As for the gym, my makurki comes and goes depending on my workout however it is amazing how strong

we can become, if we push ourselves a bit more each day or week. Don’t give up because it hurts – that is only the beginning.


Me duele el cuerpo, cada estiramiento para recoger algo duele. Este es el resultado del ejercicio de gimnasio de ayer y aquí lo llaman “makurki”. Le pregunté al coreógrafo gimnástico cómo deletrear eso y se rió y dijo “No sé”.

No sabía cómo deletrearlo, porque era una palabra quechua que se usa en el gimnasio y en español (es decir, adaptación de palabras al Español).

Me gusta la palabra y es menos torpe que la alternativa en inglés: “dolor de aparición tardía o DOMS en Inglés”.

La primera vez que entendí el concepto de “makurki” (en inglés) hace 20 años, cuando escuché a un gimnasta de Nueva Zelanda explicar el concepto. Lo que dijo, causó una impresión memorable, pero aún más memorable fue que caminó sobre sus manos y tuvo el lugar lleno de chicas con asombro de sus trucos de gimnasia.

Explicó (consulte el sitio web que figura a continuación para obtener más información) que cuando se estresa un músculo, se crea un micro desgarro en el / los músculo (s) que causa inflamación (DOMS). Nuestros cuerpos son adaptables y “esta demanda de mayor fuerza lo impulsa a construir más tejido muscular y nos hace más fuertes”.

El dolor solo significa que nuestro cuerpo se está adaptando a las nuevas expectativas que se le imponen.

Cuando tenga estos dolores, es importante estirarse ya que esto mejora la recuperación.¡Así que la buena noticia es que estoy construyendo mis músculos!

El gimnasta continuó diciendo que esta analogía también se relaciona con la vida, que en la vida tenemos microlágrimas, cosas que causan dolor y dolor, pero a medida que nos adaptamos y aprendemos a enfrentar y confiar en Dios, crecemos como personas.

Nuestros cuerpos son asombrosos en la forma en que se adaptan y crecen para satisfacer nuestras nuevas demandas de entrenamiento y, al igual que confiamos en nuestro Creador, también debemos crecer como personas.

La vida no es fácil: todos tienen dolor, pero si una persona se detiene debido al dolor de un entrenamiento o una situación difícil en la vida, perderá los beneficios de lo que podría haber ocurrido si hubiera seguido luchando.

¿Tienes una vida ‘makurki’? Si es así, quizás estés listo para crecer como persona.

En tiempos difíciles, me dirijo a Dios y sí, todavía me duele, pero el tiempo y el estiramiento ayudan con la curación. Para mí, estirar significa profundizar más en la palabra de Dios y conocerlo.

En cuanto al gimnasio, mi makurki va y viene dependiendo de mi entrenamiento, pero es increíble lo fuertes que podemos llegar a ser, si nos esforzamos un poco más cada día o semana. No te rindas porque duele, eso es solo el comienzo.


4 day trek with family Huaraz

One of the most challenging but beautiful experiences of my life! I did this amazing trek with my family of 5 in Huaraz in June 2017. It was beautiful, hard work but a growing experience for everyone.

Santa Cruz Trek

We spent a few days around Huaraz getting acclimatized and got up to 4200 metres to test our lungs out. Thankfully none of us got a severe reactions – it just slowed us down which is normal. We drove from Huaraz City to Cashapampa to start the trek (3 hours drive maybe).

Day 1. Starting in Cashapampa  3,425 m

We started with 14 persons from UK, Taiwan, Israel, Spain , Germany and 6 aussies, 5 donkeys, a horse, cook,  and donkey helper and guide. We carried daypacks with lots of water, snacks and a jacket. The donkey’s carried everyone’s gear.


We were told the first day was easy by the eager salesperson. 2-3 hours uphill starting at about 3600 meters was not EASY but thankfully the last 2-3 hours were gentle hills and flats. The hired horse helped us when we got tired. To our surprise Samuel (6) stayed with other tour members at the lead and we couldn’t catch him until we got to camp. He did amazingly and was fed and watered by the group, thankfully.

Day 2 Starting at Llamacorral 3,760

We woke early and after a quick sandwich we set of, trying to keep Samuel with us this time. We walked on semi flat (gentle rise) for about 5 hours then a steep uphill for about an hour before reaching our beautiful campsite at the basin of snow capped mountains. At 4200 meters it was even colder but we all took a cat wash in the freezing creek beside our campsite. Sleep wàs difficult and this time we found ice in the tent.


Day 3. Starting at Taullipampa 4,250 m

We all knew it would be the toughest day and despite our efforts to get up early the freezing temperatures got us. As we started the 4200 to 4700 steep climb I didn’t expect problems early on. Shallow puddles had turned to Ice overnight. It was cold. Despite double coats, beanies and gloves the 3 children started crying

because there hands were freezing. I was fine without gloves but the little ones couldn’t stop their tears. Even their I succumbed to tears of compassion. We tried to insist they keep walking to keep walking to keep warming up because we knew on the horse they’d get cold. But it got worse so we finally asked for a volunteer to ‘not get on the horse’ as only two could ride at once. Annabelle kindly volunteered and we thanked her for her maturity. She took a turn a bit later and soon bounded ahead with the guide. That left David and I taking it real slow up the mountain. We conquered but the kids were squabbling at the top over snack options. Such amazing views and such an achievement were lost over cookies. Yup… I decided to move on quickly knowing the day would be long. It turns out I had no idea how long. At the bottom of the hill we found a heart shaped lake so had lunch and dipped our feet in the freezing lake and I put bandaids on my forming blister.

Amelia struggled at first trying to avoid stepping on donkey poo and mud but thankfully relaxed at least about the mud. I repeatedly explained that we’d wash her shoes later. Annabelle on the other hand relished the mud and at this point completely washed her shoes in the lake.

Of course our guide caught up with and whipped us into action. “You have have 4 hours walking to go!”. Gulp! So we set off at a cracking pace but still lost Samuel who went ahead with the Taiwanese couple. After 2 hours of concentration on the uneven rocky steps I had had it and got a horse ride.

Then it was another two hours walking in the flat in a beautiful shaded valley. Samuel was starting to flag and 20 minutes from camp we spotted the horse handler with “our horse” and assumed Sammy could ride.

BUT no… he was on his way to find the Israele girl(and her boyfriend) was way behind us and her slowness was compounded by her fear of heights on the steep downhill… so we trudged on and finally made it to camp about 5pm (11 hours after we started).

As we waited for dinner we realised the only warm place was the kitchen tent so the kids and I squeezed in and chatted with the cook and the horse man and guide who doubled as assistant cooks. Cold temperatures forced us to bed early we squeezed into our tiny tents for the final time.

Day 4: To Vaqueira 3850M

The prospect of 4 day old bread for breakfast was unappealing so I recommended they make pancakes for breakfast. They had said no but actually did make us one each so that was a nice change. Annabelle had to wear plastic bags as socks because her shoes weren’t dry. We strolled the path by this time scattered with houses on the sides and said hello to villagers as we went (2-3 hours walking). By the final uphill my blister was excruciating so I got a lift to the final hill. I limped up in one shoe but in good spirits to have made it to the end.

The drive out was spectacular indeed! We wound around crystal lakes on rough roads, a snowy mountain on each side of the car.

The highlight was seeing Peru’s biggest peak – Huascarán (6,768 m) up close and looking down the nearby valley to the green watered lakes.

We roasted and marshmallows and made damper on at open fire at our hotel and enjoyed the snowy mountain views for the last time.

It was worth it and an experience of a lifetime. Such a beautiful trek! Photos don’t do it justice at all. It’s also a less expensive alternative to The Inca Trail though a

different region of Peru. This trek was less luxurious but more beautiful. They’re both tough walks but no horses are permitted on the Inca Trek so the kids are not ready for that yet. In terms of Parkinson’s I  took some extra drugs for energy. Tough but worth it. 

Breathtaking views from camp on day

Day 3, hard climbs behind us

6 attempts to get Driver License in Peru

Only tiny cars fit on the course. Waiting cars

Getting my Peruvian Drivers License has been one of the most challenging experiences of my life. Every time I have attempted the test I did ‘new things wrong’, some of which had me thrown out of the test area immediately. You are probably imagining car crashes, terrible parallel parks or hitting cones (common error). People wonder if Parkinson’s affects my driving – it doesn’t. 

Nope, my faults were: touching the white line at a zebra crossing, having my bumper a millimeter over a line, stopping in a curve which wasn’t a curve, forgetting to indicate, stalling when the evaluator criticised me mid turn and others that are harder to explain.

The test course

I started to get flustered easily and do more things ‘wrong’, never completing the test. My parkinson’s tremble got worse when I usually control it well. The perfectionism required was unfathomable considering how many people actually drive here.

As a Christian my faith affects my life and though not everyone agrees we can respect each others experience. I was angry and distressed but God brought me this beautiful Psalm to give me perspective.

Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn, and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.

Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.

Stop being angry! Turn from your rage! Do not lose your temper— it only leads to harm. For the wicked will be destroyed, but those who trust in the Lord will possess the land.  Psalms 37: 6-9

Despite everyone’s prayers I wasn’t getting my license. I started to think of my Peruvian friends and how they encouraged me to bribe. One friend had written to me earlier saying to bribe was the only way but when she read these verses and saw my resolve, she wrote “I admire your courage and braveness to not succumb to corruption. Hopefully what you are doing helps the system change”.

Sadly I don’t think that happened but God did want to go through this and have empathy? If I didn’t struggle and fail I’d not be so determined to see change for my Peruvian friends. Plus the truth is that I could get my Australian license validated in Peru if I got desperate. It’s expensive and it involves complicated paperwork but it is possible. Peruvian don’t have any options so by completing the process to I was ‘ walking a mile in their shoes’ and I feel their pain they face. I cried tears of anguish for me but really deeper down for those who struggle to pass the test, for those who want to do the right thing.

That led me to a similar biblical phrase…though different; “If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles”.

Yes, that is me I thought. Very different to choosing to walk a mile in someone’s shoes. Forced to do it. (although I was choosing to get my licence).  The passage continues;  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[i] and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect”. Matthew 5:41, 43-45, 48.

No small order indeed. I asked God for lots of help on this one. I made friends with the guards and tried to be nice to everyone. Still no success.

A new friend in the test kindly said that these evaluators would help me through the test if I just paid for ‘help’. They had coached her to pass.

Finally, David said yesterday “Don’t go anymore”. He could see how stressed I was under the pressure of evaluators who were waiting for me to finally pay the bribe. I had one last test booked so I went to the licence boss, who I had already met several times as I queried the process. I presented her a letter of complaint, which I read aloud through tears, plus the conditions on which I would do the test. She listened to my requirements:  That noone yell at me or accused me mid test and I asked her came to supervise.

Well, I think it was me crying publicly that finally got to her and a desire to get rid of me because I passed. Praise God. Another test participant noted “they are not yelling today” when we’d completed it.

Pray for safe travel on the roads and wisdom for Peruvians dealing with corruption daily. Sadly I am told this normal across the the bureaucracy ;-(

Written February 2018

To read the update go to Radio Robbery -Driving-in-Peru-update in June 2020: