Almost like clockwork, every morning at 10.10am, Marilyn Pond felt like her body was ploughing through syrup.
“For one week, at exactly the same time, down to the minute, I’d start slowing down until it felt like I was walking through treacle,” shares Marilyn. “Sometimes I couldn’t even get my feet to lift off the floor.”
It’s just one of many physical challenges the 69-year-old Kiwi has had to deal with, living with Parkinson’s disease – sometimes she gets halfway through her grocery shopping before suddenly realising she can’t take one more step. When that happens, she calls on a loved-one to take her home.
The disease, a disorder of the central nervous system which affects movement, is not something Marilyn ever dreamed she’d be diagnosed with.
Growing up in good health in Canterbury, she married young and welcomed her first child at 19, with hopes of someday joining the police force. “But by the time I was old enough to join, I was married and they only took single people,” recalls Marilyn, who instead worked selling cosmetics and also at golf clubs.
A second marriage, two more kids and another divorce later, Marilyn embarked on a 20-year relationship with her ex, the pair relocating to Queensland to run a gardening business. But after becoming homesick, she returned to New Zealand in 2010.
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