Thinking about holidays…

Note: This blog piece has been submitted by Barbie Short, an HD family member. Here she gives her thoughts on how difficult it is to live with HD but has a really hopeful message. From March 2017.

Thinking about holidays today.

Somewhere in Scotland, where, of course, the weather will be good. I need to get something in the diary. My son, Euan, is off to Kylesku  with his family for April. His wife Isabel carries the gene with her , always and wherever she goes. I think that’s something about Huntington’s that is sometimes missed. You can’t get away from it. Well, you can’t get away from liver disease , or cancer either but there is treatment, there is hope, you can manage the symptoms. Its the dire sinking feeling of living with the Sword of Damocles above your head that is so difficult.

We all carry it of course to a greater or lesser extent. The sword, I mean. All the family. Except the children. Its hard , isn’t it, telling children. Mum has a gene that will incapacitate and kill her. How do you dress that one up? And to top it all, you may have it too……

Well there is help and support ,but little softens life for HD families.  And for my friends, who will  chatter on about their families, then lower their voices and say,

“How is Isabel?”

Because now they know. They never used to. It was just us, because that was what Isabel wanted. Not to be seen as a ‘person with HD’ but as the lovely vibrant warm intelligent person that she is. But it’s in the open now. I have to explain it. And I have got used to the appalling shock they feel when I say , and I know then that living with it means I am past that. It’s incorporated, it’s part of us.

Life means we go on.

We cope. Sometimes Isabel has stumbled, or forgotten something, and then she worries. I say to her, if I do that I think it’s Alzheimer’s creeping on, you think it’s HD; actually its just us tripping over the dog’s toy or putting our keys somewhere funny. Life is to be lived.

So we do. We go on holiday , we laugh, we cry. Everyone has something in their life, and at any minute the precious life we have can be snatched away. So let’s get on with it , enjoy the sunshine, go off to Kylesku. And if Andrew age 14 forgets everything but his tablet, and there is no WiFi, and Marie age 12 moans about not having 6 pairs of shoes, and Isabel forgets her shades and Euan leaves his credit card behind……and the dog is sick half way…….. Things don’t matter but love does. It’ll be fun.

Additional information

For families living with HD going on holiday can prove difficult. Read more about the Short Breaks Fund provided by Scottish Huntington’s Association.

Getting travel insurance is a common problem. There are companies that specialise in advising people with pre-existing medical conditions that can be found with a quick google search. One example is Just Travel Company who will give you an extra 8% discount on your premium when you quote the code HDSCOT8.