Paul Sinha From 'The Chase' Speaks About 'Breakdown' Following Parkinson's Diagnosis
The Chase's Paul Sinha was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in May. Now the comedian and quiz show personality has spoken about his "breakdown" following the devastating news.
Speaking to iNews, the 49-year-old spoke about the symptoms which lead up to him being told he had the progressive neurological disease.
"I had been suffering from a frozen shoulder since September 2017. I'd seen a specialist who was convinced he could cure it, but nothing seemed to work," he says.
In the interim, Paul toured in New Zealand at the beginning of this year. "I'm quite famous there because they broadcast The Chase twice a day on one of their main channels. One of the things on my bucket list was to sell out a big venue and I sold out a 700-seat theatre in Auckland."
Simultaneously, he was concerned about a limp that had been getting worse. "The next day in a cab I decided to Google the words 'frozen shoulder' and 'Parkinson's'. And I knew I had Parkinson's."
Before his diagnosis, Paul, a qualified GP, began noticing signs something was not right. While filming Taskmaster, Paul says his facial expressions were sometimes stiff and he had difficulty during a task where he had to throw a toilet roll.
"When it went out after the diagnosis I could see people were Googling things such as 'Paul Sinha stroke' and 'Paul Sinha neurological disorder.'
"Looking back to those two weeks after the diagnosis I think I had a breakdown."
The comedian recalled doing his first gig and "belting out jokes at 100 mph", while at the same time "couldn't muster any enthusiasm" at his team Liverpool winning the Champion's League.
Paul went public with his diagnosis in June with a blog post titled 'Diagnosis'.
In it he wrote: "On the evening of Thursday May 30th, an experienced consultant neurologist calmly informed me that I had Parkinson's disease. It was a devastating denouement to a medical odyssey that began in September 2017 with a sudden-onset, frozen right shoulder, and took in an unexpected diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes, a lifestyle transformation that enabled me to lose two stone, and a shoulder operation in January this year.
He continues: "Nonetheless my reaction was not one of shock. I spent May this year in New Zealand simultaneously having the comedy month of my life, and worrying about why a right-sided limp was now getting worse.
"Behind the facade of the cheerful, late night comedy festival drunk was a man deeply scared about facing the truth when back in the UK. It has been a really, really tough two weeks.
"Cancelling my run at the Edinburgh Fringe, missing the World Quizzing Championships to have brain scans, performing club sets whilst emotionally bewildered, and of course working my way through my loved ones, delivering the bad news."
Paul explains that since his diagnosis, he feels more "prepared for the new challenges ahead" thanks to his strong support system.
He says: "With the diagnosis now confirmed, and a treatment plan in place, I now feel far more prepared for the new challenges ahead. I have an amazing family, no strangers to serious medical illness, I'm blessed to have a fiance who is there for me, and I have a multitude of friends and colleagues whom I consider to be exceptional human beings. I don't consider myself unlucky, and whatever the next stage of my life holds for me, many others have it far worse."
Paul finished: "In the time since my Parkinson's started I have been ludicrously busy, and fully intend to keep Chasing, keep writing and performing comedy, keep quizzing and keep being hopeless at Tasks. Dancing on Ice is, I suspect, out of the question. A lot of people have asked 'What can I do to help?' The answer is to treat me exactly the same as before."
Parkinson's is a degenerative disease in which the brain becomes progressively damaged over the years. Some of the symptoms include involuntary body tremors, slow movement and stiff muscles.
The disease is thought to affect around 1 in 500, and most tend to develop symptoms when they are over 50. Around one in 20 will develop symptoms when they're under 40.
Parkinson's is slightly more common in men than women.
If you or a loved one are affected by Parkinson's you can call Parkinsons.org for help and support on 0808 800 0303.
Featured Image Credit: PA