Why a Boston Spa woman hid her Parkinson's diagnosis for eight years

Nichola Macer (s)
Nichola Macer (s)

A Boston Spa woman has said that she hid her Parkinson’s diagnosis from her family for eight years because she didn’t want to ‘spoil anybody else’s world’.

Nichola Macer was 43 when she received the devastating news but decided to keep her condition a secret, telling only her husband and a ‘handful of close friends.’

For eight years, Nichola hid her symptoms from those closest to her and was determined to go on as normal and face the diagnosis alone.

However, the mother-of-two finally decided to tell her boss last Christmas and is now encouraging others to ‘come out’ and share their story.

She said: “It all started as a problem in my arm but I didn’t think it was a big deal and thought it was a trapped nerve. But my friend told me that I needed to check it out.

“My GP referred me on to a neurologist as a precaution but then I was sent for a brain scan within the hour. It was all turning a bit dire at that stage and a week later the diagnosis was made.

“That was when my world fell apart. It was a complete shock as I didn’t know what it was. I was absolutely speechless and the cogs started turning in my head; ‘what about my children?’.

“My husband was there at the diagnosis but he was the only one who knew and a few close friends. It was a big pill to swallow and I didn’t want to spoil anybody else’s world.

“I was embarrassed about telling people. I didn’t want to be labelled and just wanted life to go on as normal, like before my diagnosis.”

Since ‘coming out’, Nichola has sought help from Parkinson’s UK who provide support and advice for people living with the condition.

Nichola has praised both the charity and the nurses for their ‘fantastic’ support and helping her to better understand Parkinson’s.

Rather than hiding her symptoms away, Nichola has taken an active role in Parkinson’s Awareness Week to raise awareness of the condition and the support available.

She said: “When I finally told people, they usually responded by saying that they had no idea at all. I only have very few outward symptoms so I’m very lucky.

“Mine has developed very slowly. But it’s starting to affect my writing and other simple tasks like doing my button ups and doing my hair.

“Asking for help isn’t something I’ve ever done before but now I’ve gone from being on my own with the problem to standing on the rooftops and shouting about it.

“It’s like being diagnosed all over again so that’s hard, but in other ways it’s a relief. I just thought that this was my way of helping.

“Parkinson’s UK are unbelievable, I can’t write it in big enough letters. They are absolute superstars.”