The Chase's Paul Sinha admits the past year has been 'the best of times and the worst of times' after getting engaged and then learning he has Parkinson's disease
The Chase star Paul Sinha has said that the past year has been 'the best of times and the worst of times' after getting engaged to his boyfriend and then learning he has Parkinson's disease.
Appearing on Lorraine on Monday, the pro quizzer, 49 - who is also a comedian - said: 'It’s about getting the best news in your life and the worst new in your life in the last 12 months.
'I think doing things you love helps with your mental health - a lot of people don’t seem to take that info in. I’ve been doing comedy for more than two decades.'
Mixed emotions: Paul Sinha has said that the past year has been 'the best of times and the worst of times' after getting engaged to his boyfriend and then learning he has Parkinson's disease
Asked how he's doing in general, The Sinnerman said: 'I’m fine, to be perfectly honest with you. It was a shock - not a massive shock because I knew things were going wrong with my body. So when I saw the neurologist in May I knew that it wasn't going to be good news. But now I’m on medication I just get on with it!'
He then went on to tease his wedding plans.
'I was single for 23 years. I did not see this one coming at all but on January 2 I proposed to my boyfriend Oliver and we're getting married on December 14.
'This is important because I was told by my friend who has Parkinson’s to put things in my diary that are important and I can’t wait to get married.'
My love: Paul is also set to marry his fiancé Oliver in December. Oliver is a design graduate who now works mainly for TalkSport
'I am not giving up. There are a lot of reasons for that, not least because it's good for your health. My dad didn’t give up when he had a cardiac arrest in 1990, my mum didn’t when she had breast cancer, my sister's son has autism, so I’m not going to be the one to give up.'
He also revealed he doesn't plan to give up The Chase anytime soon.
'Absolutely hand on heart, I will stay on. Only if I can't answer general knowledge questions I will stop,' he said.
He said: 'The sad truth is that patients with Parkinson’s don’t necessarily get their medication on time when they're in hospital. If they don’t get it on time there are serious side effects, they can’t speak or walk.'
The quiz star has been open about first receiving his diagnosis, and how he suffered a breakdown in the two weeks after.
Appearing on Lorraine on Monday, the pro quizzer, 49 - who is also a comedian - said: 'I think doing things you love helps with your mental health - a lot of people don’t seem to take that info in'
Lorraine asked how he's doing in general, to which The Sinnerman said: 'I’m fine, to be perfectly honest with you. It was a shock - not a massive shock because I knew things were going wrong with my body'
In an interview with iNews, Paul candidly discussed the aftermath of the diagnosis, saying: 'Looking back to those two weeks after the diagnosis I think I had a breakdown.'
Paul said although he was able to perform a gig and 'belt out jokes at 100mph', he realised the initial effect of the heartbreaking diagnosis when he watched his team Liverpool win the Champion's League and was unable to feel happy about it.
The star said writing his blog gave him 'agency' with his mental health improving since those dark two weeks.
Although diagnosed with Parkinson's in May 2019, Paul detailed that worries for his health began in September 2017, when he began suffering from a frozen shoulder.
Fan favourite: The TV personality, known as 'the Sinnerman', revealed he was battling the degenerative condition in June, and vowed to fight the disease with 'every breath I have'
He said: 'I'd seen a specialist who was convinced he could cure it, but nothing seemed to work.
Earlier this year, when on a successful tour of New Zealand, the star grew increasingly concerned about a limp that seemed to be getting worse.
He said: 'The next day in a cab I decided to Google the words "frozen shoulder" and "Parkinson's." And I knew I had Parkinson's.'
Parkinson's is a condition in which parts of the brain become progressively damaged.
The three main symptoms are: involuntary shaking (tremor), slow movement, stiff and inflexible muscles.
Tough times: In a new interview with iNews , Paul, 49, candidly discussed the aftermath of his diagnosis in May, saying: 'Looking back to those two weeks after the diagnosis I think I had a breakdown'
As the condition progresses, the symptoms of Parkinson's disease can get worse.
Parkinson's disease doesn't directly cause people to die, but the condition can place great strain on the body.
Moving forward, Paul said his philosophy is to 'keep on living his life' and keep pursuing his career as long as his brain 'allows him' to do that.
A conversation with Sky Sports presenter Dave Clark, who also has Parkinson’s, also yielded some invaluable advice- always to have something to plan for.
With that in mind, Paul has booked tickets to see the Pet Shop Boys at the 02 in May to celebrate his 50th birthday and hopes to take his show to Edinburgh next year, as well as expanding his tour.
Shock: Although diagnosed with Parkinson's in May 2019, Paul detailed that worries for his health began in September 2017, when he began suffering from a frozen shoulder (pictured 2015)
Success story: Moving forward, Paul said his philosophy is to 'keep on living his life' and keep pursuing his career as long as his brain 'allows him' to do that
Paul's brave announcement in full
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.
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.
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 fiancé 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.
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. Much love, Paul
Paul is also set to marry his fiancé Oliver in December. Oliver is a design graduate who now works mainly for TalkSport.
The comedian and quiz expert revealed his diagnosis in a blog post in May, saying he was initially 'in shock', but 'feels far more prepared for the new challenges ahead' now he has a treatment plan in place.
Displaying his trademark humour, he also joked that a Dancing On Ice appearance is now 'out of the question', before thanking his family and fiancé for their support in the wake of his diagnosis.
Paul - who has been the fourth chaser, known as 'The Smiling Assassin', since 2011 - admits it has 'been a really, really tough two weeks' since he got the diagnosis but now he has a treatment plan in place he feels 'prepared for the new challenges ahead'.
Following his announcement, Paul was flooded with support from followers and stars in a touching display of affection.
WHAT IS PARKINSON'S DISEASE?
Parkinson’s disease affects one in 500 people, and around 127,000 people in the UK live with the condition.
Figures also suggest one million Americans also suffer.
It causes muscle stiffness, slowness of movement, tremors, sleep disturbance, chronic fatigue, an impaired quality of life and can lead to severe disability.
It is a progressive neurological condition that destroys cells in the part of the brain that controls movement.
Sufferers are known to have diminished supplies of dopamine because nerve cells that make it have died.
There is currently no cure and no way of stopping the progression of the disease, but hundreds of scientific trials are underway to try and change that.
Fellow comedian David Baddiel honoured Paul, as he wrote: 'Sorry to hear this Paul. Give it hell', while Dave Gorman wrote: 'Sorry to hear it. Sending love and strength your way. X'
Responding to Paul's announcement, Steve Ford, Chief Executive of Parkinson’s UK, said: 'Paul Sinha bravely speaking about his Parkinson’s diagnosis, and the journey he has been on to get to this point, will do so much to raise awareness of this much misunderstood condition...
'With more than 40 symptoms, Parkinson’s undoubtedly throws up new challenges, but with the right treatment and support we can help people to take control of their lives with this unpredictable condition...
'Paul’s determination to live well with Parkinson's is mirrored by an incredibly passionate Parkinson’s community, determined both to find new and better treatments but also to not let Parkinson’s hold them back...
'We wish Paul all the best with his future projects.'