Dennis reveals his struggle with MND
Former Perth man (83) tells of lead up to diagnosis
A former Perth man has opened up about his battle with Motor Neurone Disease (MND).
Dennis Dick MBE (83), was diagnosed with the terminal muscle-wasting disease in November 2017.
The one-time chair of Tayside Biodiversity Partnership explained: “At the age of 83, when someone tells you have a progressive degenerative disease which could make you increasingly immobile over the next few months or years, and that you will probably die sooner rather than later of breathing problems, your reaction is to ask what has changed.
“At 83, many of my friends and associates have died off or are incapacitated, so weakness and death are already daily facts of life.
“My first symptoms came nearly a year ago in the spring of 2017. I began to find my speech was becoming slurred.
“It sounded as though I had been drinking too much. Perhaps people thought that I had a drink problem!
“Then my mouth began frequently filling with more saliva than I could cope with. I was on occasion dribbling from my mouth.
“But worse was to come as I began to struggle to speak clearly. This was quite a blow as I had spent much of my active life speaking in public and chairing meetings.”
Dennis’s life changed when the symptoms began to show, so the diagnosis was no surprise.
“In retirement I got very involved with the environment in Scotland, chairing a range of charities, including the Scottish Wildlife Trust, and other organisations both nationally and locally. I even ended up advising Scottish Government ministers on biodiversity.
“Perhaps an ill-omen happened to me in October 2016. I was chairing a reception at the Scottish Parliament and introducing the cabinet secretary for environment when I suddenly lost my voice completely. It had never happened to me before.
“In May of 2017 I went to my doctor. He referred me to an ENT specialist who examined my throat and detected a slight tremor of the tongue and jaw muscles. He wondered if I might be showing signs of Parkinson’s disease and referred me to a neurologist.
“I then went for more tests and when the results came through in late November my consultant confirmed that I appeared to be suffering from MND.
“For me it was not a great shattering blow. I’d had plenty of time to research the disease. So I knew exactly what I was in for.”
“The number of carers in my life grows all the time. Top of the list is my wife Mary, she does an amazing job. Without her I would be sunk and in despair.”
“There is also one source of excellent help I get and that is from the very willing staff of MND Scotland.
“A really great charity. Everyone with MND in Scotland should get in touch with them. Just look at the MND website (mndscotland. org.uk) to see the full range of what they can provide.” Dennis Dick MBE (83) has opened up on his experience with MND
My wife Mary does an amazing job. Without her I would be sunk and in despair