Fighting Dystonia, Chronic Lyme, EDS Type 2 & more… any questions?

Archive for the ‘September 2013’ Category

Seething with Rage

I am so angry right now. I have tried to get in to see my GP for about two weeks now, but as I have been unable to see him I asked him to phone me. I wanted to discuss having IV antibiotics arranged. When I saw my neurologist 5 weeks ago, he agreed that a lumbar puncture would do me more damage than good and that it was worth switching from oral antibiotics to IV.  My neurologist put all of this in a letter for my GP.

My GP is usual a great source of help, and I usually think he is fantastic – however usual is the key word here. Today was one of those days where he was exceptionally un-helpful and left me in a rage. He stated that he did not want to arrange it as it would be “complicated”, and he wants me to come in so he can explain why it was “complicated”. When I pointed out the reason I had not been into see him was because he was fully booked in the evenings when someone is at home to take me, he claimed that was nonsense – I had to bite my tongue at this point as I’m sure the receptionist would not lie to me for 2 weeks about him being booked up. He then asked to speak to my mother!!!! Now I am sorry but I am 20, why on earth is he asking this?! Now my mother comes to all my appointments with me, but really what is so complicated that he has to explain to my mum instead of myself?

I feel disgusted, disappointed and disheartened. He wants ANOTHER letter from my neurologist about IV treatment. Luckily I have an appointment with my Neurological Consultant next Tuesday, so I shall explain and ask him to write another one then,  but this is all beyond ridiculous. He already has one letter stating it, how will another one saying the same thing make any difference?

I could go privately and pay for the treatment myself, however it is very expensive and I don’t see why I should to do so, when my neurologist was happy for it to be done on the NHS. Why does the medical profession insist on picking a fight with me at every hurdle? All I want is to rid me body of the disease that caused my Dystonia, is that really too much to ask? After all if they had picked up on it 14 years ago I would not have Dystonia now!

 

Advertisements

Breath of Fresh Air

After Tuesday nights functional paralysis drama, I am pleased to report that my little Dystonia alien has not scared me witless with a repeat episode (so far). In fact other than a light and pain triggered seizure whilst at college yesterday, I have been rather good. I even managed to go riding on Thursday!

I spent Wednesday in bed resting, as I did not want to trigger off any spasms or seizures as I desperately wanted to attend both college and riding on Thursday. Amazingly my Dystonia gave me break from the recent dramatics and I only had to contend with my usual spasms. The normality of the usual spasms were a much-needed breath of fresh air. Both college and riding went fantastically well, with my spasms only acting up right at the end of riding – thankfully that was perfect timing,

Yesterday, for several hours my legs were functionally paralysed, this did not scare me as I am used to this happening several times a week. It turned out that it had been triggered by me strapping my splints to my legs too tightly – but hey its a lesson learnt. I now know to always check the tightness after strapping myself to them. I had a little light and pain triggered seizure whilst I was at college yesterday. I feel very lucky that the college dealt with this calmly and once I regained consciousness they let me carry on as if nothing had ever happened, which is just how I hoped they would react.

Today my body is extremely sore and I am experiencing an on/off functional paralyses to my legs. Therefore I am having a lazy day in bed. I am so happy that I am managing college and riding. I had been worried that the two would be too much for my body to cope with, but so far so good. It is days like the last few that remind me that despite being in a wheelchair and not really having control of my body, I can still make a life for myself and enjoy the things I love. I just have to remember to balance  things out… I’ll get the hang of balancing eventually 😉

 

Functionally Paralysed

Terror. That one word sums up how I felt for 7 hours last night. My face had not been good for most the day, and by the evening my tongue didn’t want to stay inside my mouth and my jaw was slightly deviating. This eventually became rather painful so we resorted to Oramorph and I tried to take a nap in the hope of sleeping the spasm off. However the symptoms I woke up to terrified me to the point of tears.

My brain had disconnected from the lower half of my face leaving me functionally paralysed. This meant I could not open my mouth, talk, eat, drink, swallow, take meds etc. I could do nothing, and I could feel nothing. I was terrified. Now I’ve had a similar thing happen to my legs before but whilst that unnerved me I could deal with it as I could communicate what was going on and they always came back fairly quickly. However this time it took 7 hours to come back and with each passing hour I grew more and more scared. I had no idea what to do.

Doctors have no idea why this happens hence the term functional put in front. My neurologist thinks that for me this is my body’s way of coping with pain. When the pain triggers a response from my flight or fight system, my body chooses to flee by shutting itself down. I have no control over this and it scares me. The medication that can help with it I am unable to take as it interacts with other medications that I rely on.

Last nights 7 hours of facial functional paralysis was a new level of fear. I had no idea what to do. I could not communicate my fear. I tried my best to sleep, in the hope that relaxing and resting would help. However I found it very hard to relax and get to sleep. I managed some sleep but it was very on and off, every time I woke up to discover that it was still paralysed I became more unsettled.  Thankfully at 3am my brain reconnected and I quickly took all the pain meds I could and went back to sleep.

This morning everything seems to be working, however I am on the weary side of it all, and still rather nervous. I am only eating very soft foods and trying not to talk to much to try to avoid triggering anything else off. Luckily I have an appointment coming up on the 8th with my neurologist so I can discuss this incident with him and get an idea of what to do should this happen again – hopefully it won’t.

I hope that I shall never experience this disturbing symptom again.

Benedict Blindness

I had been worried about how my body was going to cope with college and the added stimulation. Thursday and Friday at college went perfectly with only minor hiccups,  which led me into a false sense of security. In typical Benedict style I was shown reality yesterday. As I was feeling pretty good and only a bit tired – I should have seen this as a warning sign – I decided to go with some of my family to a friend’s house warming party. It started off fine, I was enjoying myself, and even indulged in a cheeky Gin and Tonic. However soon the tiredness really hit, again this should have set of the warning lights but I ignored it and carried on chatting.

My eyes spasms, the ones that cause me to go blind due to the eyeballs being pulled up and back, started. At first they were not too long, but they kept happening and started causing seizures. Leaving at this point was not an option as my brain had disconnected from my legs, leaving me functionally paralysed.

Then it all calmed down. I thought my little alien had gone back to sleep. It turned out to be the calm before the storm. I went blind again, and this time my eyes didn’t seem to be coming back, I tried sensory tricks which failed, I even started hoping I would have a seizure as that would normally bring them back yet I was staying unusually conscious. This began to make me nervous, I was in a new environment, surrounded by lots of people who I didn’t know (they were however all very lovely and helpful), and this spasm was becoming unusually long.

The longest this particular spasm has ever lasted is 15 hours, and after an hour of being blind I began to panic that the same thing was going to happen. When I get nervous I talk…a lot, which my poor mother had to put up with. After taking some Diazepam my legs came back however I still remained blind. In the end we decided that the best thing to do was to try to get me out the house and to the car whilst I was blind and then judge what to do when we got home. Getting out of the house however was the tricky part. I had to, using my crutches and splints, walk out and down two small steps, then up two steps and then transfer back to my wheelchair. Doing this whilst I am able to see is hard enough, so doing it blind was going to be difficult. With the help of my parents and some lovely people I got down the first two steps and up one, it was at this point – just one step away from my wheelchair that I had a seizure.

I am so thankful for all the people that were around me, caught me, and helped me. If they all had not caught me I would have without a doubt woken up in A&E hooked up to IV pain relief. Between them all they managed to get me into my wheelchair, and then waited around until the space between my seizures was long enough to transfer me into the car. Thankfully, once we managed to get me home and got some Oramorph into me, my seizures calmed down and my eyes started to stay in place!

After a chat with my mum, we have agreed I am not allowed to go out/do much at the weekends for the first half term of college, so that my brain can adapt to the added stimulation and learn to cope with it. This way I can stay safe and realistically it will eventually enable me to do more.

I have to learn to take baby steps before trying to run. I’ll remember this one day. On the positive side at least I could see for some of the house-warming and had a good time!

 

Start of Something New

Happy, on top of the world, ecstatic, over the moon. Put this combination of emotions in to one and that is me now. Today has been a fantastic success. I attended my first day at college and loved every second of it. The lecture today was on Anatomy and Physiology, which was just perfect as I find it an incredibly interesting subject. A lot of what we covered today I had already learned at university so it was a bit like revision, I loved this as I had remembered everything, which enabled me to contribute to the lesson more.

Tomorrow’s lecture is a practical one. This excites me and makes me nervous. I am sure my body shall be fine with it, but as with all things in life you can never be a hundred percent certain especially with Dystonia, hopefully tomorrow’s practical shall put the tiny worries to rest. The four hours tomorrow shall all be practical but from next week onwards the Friday lectures shall be 2 hours practical and 2 hours focusing on business and how to set up your own business. This is fantastic as once qualified I shall be setting up my own business so that I can work from home.

I decided not to attend riding today as my sight has not been great. I have been full of the cold which has caused more spasms. It has particularly been causing an increase in spasms in my eyes. Annoyingly the spasm that has occurred most is the one that causes my eyes to roll up into my head, leaving me blind, the pain of this particular spasm causes me to have a Non Epileptic Seizures most of the time. This happened today at college, thankfully before the lesson started, but reassured me that I was making the right decision not to ride as I would be putting myself and the volunteers at risk. I am looking forward to next weeks session though.

I feel like a ball of positive energy! I am brimming with happiness and full of excitement for tomorrow. Being able to study again is so satisfying and opens many doors for me. In a way I feel normal.

I’m so happy!

 

Positive Days!

Last Thursday my riding lessons started up again. It was the first time I’d ridden since June, so I was extremely excited to be getting back on a horse. As usual I rode Nelly who is a complete delight to ride! I went all medicated up as I knew that after not riding for so long my body was going to feel it afterwards. As it was the first lesson back, we did lots of exercises to get everything working. Riding makes me forget I am disabled, which is an amazing feeling. Feeling like a ‘normal’ person and being able to do something I am passionate about at the same time is something I am incredibly thankful for. Riding keeps me sane, the boost it gives me mentally plus the physical activity does me the world of good. The next day I was really feeling it in my muscles so I took it easy, but it was worth every ache and I cannot wait for this Thursday.

I have been very lucky that my spasms this last week have not been too bad. I have had the usual leg spasms but nothing seizure inducing. I have started having to wear at least one pair of socks on my feet as the drop in temperature has been enough to set my spasms off. It was a bit of a shock that it was getting that cold already but at the same time a relief knowing that some socks were currently enough to ward off cold triggered spasms.

Tomorrow my carers starts! I shall be having care two hours a day, four days a week, which will be fab as not only will I have company but things like washing my hair etc will become so much easier to do. I shall have 3 carers who will come in on different days, that way if one is ill or on holiday one of the others will fill in, which is great as it will mean someone who has gotten familiar with my condition is there and who will know what to do if something goes wrong.

I received a letter from my neurologist last week, which basically summarized our last appointment. I have waited for this letter so that I can take it to my GP with me as ‘supporting evidence’. The letter states that he is happy for me to IV antibiotics for my Lyme Disease, which is fantastic and much needed, it also asks him to refer me for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for my seizures and neuro-physiotherapy for my Dystonia. I am hoping my GP will agree to arrange all three.

I am really happy at that moment  and I feel that I am beginning to get things in place. I have had reflexology today so I am looking forward to a fab nights sleep tonight.

Blog Birthday!

I have been blogging for a year today! I started my blog to help raise awareness of Dystonia and what it is like to live with it. I was inspired to do this as when I first became ill and got the diagnosis I realised just how unknown this condition is among both the public and the medical society. I decided I wanted to educate as many people as possible about Dystonia, and blogging seemed like the best starting point as society use the internet and social media so much.

Since I started this blog I have had many highs and lows, I have fought to get help, I have had many ambulance trips, and experienced so much more. If you told me a year ago how completely different my life would be as to when I started this blog I would have been adamant about my inability to cope with being in a wheelchair and would have been terrified. Now I admit I have been terrified on many occasions especially when the Dystonia spread through my body, and I don’t like being in a wheelchair, however Dystonia has made me a much stronger person and has inspired me to do my utmost to spread awareness .

I knew when I started this blog that I would have to be extremely honest in everything I wrote and not sugar coat any negative experiences as that would be counterproductive. I have tried my best to write an equal amount of positive and negative posts, however Dystonia is an unpredictable thing and it does not care whether it bring tears to my eyes with laughter or with pain. Many blog posts have been hard to write, such as when writing about my legs being affected by Dystonia I found myself in tears.

Blogging to raise awareness is just the beginning. It has been a flicker of light in the bleak unknown that surrounds the condition but if all of you who read my blog, go on to share it on your Facebook or Twitter etc then that glimpse of light shall slowly become a burning torch, which will enable change to start taking place. Change needs to happen so that Dystonia is no longer a condition hiding in the shadows of its neurological brothers. The more awareness there is, the more help sufferers shall get and the more likely it is that a cure shall be found.

I would like to say big thank-you to my family who have put up with disruptions at all times of the day and night, care for me, support me, and keep me strong. I don’t know how I would cope without you all. An especially big thank-you to my mum, who has been my rock and has put up with my tears and frustration, I love you so much!

I want to also say thank-you to all the sufferers who have supported, given me coping tips and kept me sane! Especially Karen, Shannan, Andrea and Pamela – you guys are amazing!

 

Craft Fundraiser for Dystonia.

Today I attended a craft fair that was fundraising for a school and for the The Dystonia Society. I had been rather looking forward to it as it was a great opportunity to raise awareness and to restock my craft supplies – I love to crochet. The fundraiser was busy all day which was fantastic and over £200 was raised for The Dystonia Society.

About halfway through the day I got the opportunity to give a speech on what Dystonia was and what life with it was like. I was slightly nervous that I would be useless and just woffle, but have been reassured the speech was ok 🙂 . I drew on my experiences of living with generalised Dystonia, and whilst I tried to only speak in a positive way, I also spoke in a realistic manner, and sadly Dystonia is not a pink fluffy ball of positivity. I found out afterwards that my speech had reduced some people to tears, which I felt bad about, but it had also inspired several people to do their own fundraising for The Dystonia Society which is incredible!

My church has chosen there september mission to be Dystonia. So they shall also be raising awareness this month which is incredible! I feel very lucky that they have taken on this cause. It was a fantastic day today, and I am so thankful that I was well enough to go down and meet such a lovely group of people.

 

Finding My Feet

So after a few days of feeling a bit rough due to a viral infection, I am finally feeling more myself. I try to avoid picking up any illness as much as possible as when I get a bug my Dystonia acts up. It is like my little Dystonia alien waits until I’m feeling under whether to kick it up a few notches and go “Haha, so you want to rest? Well I’m going to distort both your legs, try to rest now!”. My alien really is a pain.

I finally feel like I am beginning to find my feet and learn to live life alongside Dystonia. I have accepted that I can’t live life with it in the background because it disrupts things too much, but I can live alongside it, and ignore it as much as I can. I kept my life on hold for a year, and now I’ve taken it off pause and from next Thursday I am shall be studying again.

In life people define themselves by their achievements and what they have done. I was considering this the other day and trying to figure out what I would define myself as/by. My thoughts flicked from Dystonia advocate, fundraiser, Author (My novel is almost finished), and reflexologist (when I qualify). It took awhile before I realised I didn’t have to choose just one, I can choose them all, as each one of them makes me proud. This last year I could have sat at home feeling sorry for myself doing nothing, instead I decided to try to educate the world on Dystonia – an ongoing task, fundraising for The Dystonia Society (I have raised over £1000 so far), started and almost finished my first novel, and found myself a new career path. I am proud of me!

Tomorrow I am attending a craft fair, where half of what is raised will be given to a Dystonia charity. I am rather looking forward to this. I like to Crochet so it shall be interesting to browse whilst helping raise awareness for Dystonia.

I saw this quote below, which has been taken from one of my favourite Disney films. For me it rings true. The path I am now on is by no means easy, and I struggle often, however it will lead me to where I need to be.

 

Exhaustion

My little Dystonia alien has been a right pickle to put it politely, for the last two days. It is doing a new spasm, which whilst I can bear it at first eventually becomes agonising. It’s one of those spasms that makes me welcome the bliss of unconsciousness that my non epileptic seizures bring. During the seizures I am completely out of it and unaware of any pain, whilst normally I hate these seizures the last two days they have been a welcome and needed break from the spasm.

My normal method of using a TENS machine, massaging the spasming muscle etc have not made a difference to this spasm. Therefore I have relied on topical medications such as volterol and oral medications such as Tramadol and Diazepam, to help me through the spasms.

Whilst these are not the best pictures you get the idea of what the spasms were doing. I am not sure what triggered this spasm to develop and am hoping that my body is fighting a bug and that is why my Dystonia is playing up. Illness always seem to worsen my Dystonia, which in this case would be a nice reality compared to the horrid thought of the spasm being here on a daily basis.

I am determined to stay positive and am focusing on all the fantastic activities starting next week, such as riding, and my reflexology training. I am extremely excited as I have had an email saying my text books are on their way. I love burying myself in a textbook so I’m looking forward to their arrival.

I am hoping that the spasms will stay away for the rest of the night so that I shall get a good nights sleep as I am completely exhausted. It is amazing how tiring being in pain is.

 

Tag Cloud