Fighting Dystonia, Chronic Lyme Disease & EDS Type 3… any questions?

Posts tagged ‘advice’

Mental Health & Chronic Illness

Mental Health awareness day was last week and I wanted to write this blog post then but honestly it was too hard. My mental health right now is not great. I’m by no means awful but it’s not where I’d like it to be. It’s been an accumulation of being chronically ill for numerous years and stressful life events adding on top of that.

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A major part of the problem right now is my medication. One of the many side effects that many of my medications can cause is anxiety and depression. Whilst I wouldn’t class myself as depressed, I am aware that my anxiety and amount of pain attacks have increased recently and I’m defiantly on the weepy side. However life events haven’t helped either, Just last week I went to collect my little boys prescription from the chemist and found myself being motioned to sit silently on the floor with him due to a lady with a knife ransacking the place; this understandably has made me anxious about leaving the flat on my own, even though I know that I am being irrational as I know that the chances of being in that situation again are very small.

Yesterday I attended the emergency eye clinic at my local hospital and was informed that I have my fourth bout of optic neuritis is a year and a half. Due to this and some more symptoms they have made the decision to refer me to a specialist neuro and carry out testing again for multiple sclerosis; another spanner in the works.

Between my physical & mental health plus the stress of uni work, I feel like I need to let myself have a good cry, pick myself up and carry on except there isn’t time to cry. Don’t get me wrong I love my life but I’m finding it hard to know what to do to help myself. I force myself to do what scares me like leave the flat but it’s draining working up the courage to do so. I would talk to the doctor about it but I daren’t risk it as I know they will stop my painkillers if they start worrying about depression which I need for my seizures. I have ordered myself a mindful mediation manual and CD and hoping that a holistic attitude will help.

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“Just Stay Positive”

I have spent the majority of this week at varying hospital appointments, today is my rest day before heading back to the hospital for more testing tomorrow. Frustration and disappointment has been my main response so far to these visits. Part of this is most likely because I am under the care of several different specialists who are experts in their respective fields and generally wonderful. I’m quite lucky to have them as my doctors. However, every now and then I meet a new Dr and have to fight the same misconceptions and preconceived ideas from scratch; it’s exhausting, emotionally draining and depressing.

I’m quite good at finding the positives in being chronically ill,  I’ve been known to be in agony, hospitalised with spasms and dislocations and still be giggling away at whatever ridiculous manifestation my symptoms have appeared in this time. That being said I’m aware of how important it is to be completely honest with my care providers about how I’m managing and asking for help when I need it.

I had been counting down to yesterday’s appointment to see the local obstetric consultant as I am really at a loss with what to do to help myself. The advice so far has been plenty of bed rest and to use my wheelchair if I have to go out. This makes sense and I’ll admit I was unreasonable hoping the Dr yesterday would wave a magic wand, but university restarts at the end of the month, my fingers dislocate when I push myself and I’m pretty sure turning up to uni doesn’t count as bed rest. So I sat in front of the consultant asking if there was anything, even the smallest suggestion, that he could think of to help me help myself. “Just stay positive” was his advice. It was also the last thing I wanted to hear. 5 minutes later he admitted he didn’t have a clue about any of my conditions, so I walked him through them briefly. His advice changed to just come to hospital every time you have a fainting episode so we’re aware of you; my episodes are at the moment generally occurring over 10-20 times a day, so I’ll just move in shall I?587860e5ecea791e83ab995d35b2d52a

This whole appointment got me thinking about my array of conditions, which are confusing and do overlap, so for those of you who are curious here’s a brief introduction.

  1. Generalised Dystonia – this trickly little brain alien causes painful and often debilitating spasms in my eyes, jaw, neck, left arm and torso. It’s not curable, and every patient presents slightly differently. It’s currently playing up as I’m off treatment for the rest of my pregnancy.

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2) Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Type 3 – Unlike my Dystonia, unless I have dislocated or subluxed you cannot tell I have this condition. It causes fatigue, brain fog, pain, dislocations, allergies amongst many other symptoms.

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3) Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome and Dysautonomia- This is a relatively new diagnosis for me. Currently this means I can’t even sit up without my heart rate shooting through the roof and my blood pressure plummeting. It’s pretty bad at the moment, due to blood pooling when I eat I pass out during meals. I also pass out if I get too hot, move too quickly etc. My autonomic nervous system is basically a bit temperamental and therefore many different automatic functions can malfunction.

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4) Non Epileptic Seizures – Previously my care providers thought these were pain related but now they think my PoTS may have something to do with it. Often Drs misunderstand these seizures and presume they are either psychogenic or part of drug seeking behaviour.nes.jpg 5) Endometriosis – I fought for years to have this investigated, constantly being told that it was simply bad period pains.  Many drs ignored the fact that they were every 2 weeks, extremely painful, and very heavy. By the time a diagnostic laparoscopy and treatment was carried out extensive damage had been done and I was told that my chances of unassisted conception were very low. This make me all the more grateful for our little miracle.

6) Chronic Lyme Disease – Lyme Disease is a bacterial infection that if caught early can be treated easily. When it becomes chronic, like in my case, it is extremely hard to cure. It affects multiple systems and therefore is frequently misdiagnosed.

A change in Tactic

So my body seems to have decided to change its tactic. Normally when I am in a lot of pain I have a Non Epileptic Seizure. The last two weeks or so my body has disconnected from certain parts of me or all of me, leaving me functionally paralysed. I have had a handful of seizures as well but the functional paralysis does seem to be my body’s main coping mechanism now.

I am in two minds about this change. On one hand I am happy that there has been a decrease of seizures, as it means I am conscious more often, not forgetting hours either way of the seizures etc. On the other hand the functional paralysis can be rather scary. The first time it really hit me I lost the connection to the lower half of my face for 7 hours. A big part of me knew it was just my body coping with pain, but a small part of me was terrified that something worse was at play such as a stroke. When the functional paralysis comes out to play I either disconnect for one to two minutes or I disconnect for hours. There is no middle ground.

As I type my right foot is in spasm. It felt like the force of the spasm was trying to break my big toe. I was in a lot of pain and was beginning to think that I should be sensible and shimmy down the bed a bit so that I did not hurt myself if I ended up having a seizure. However instead of seizing both my legs ended up functionally paralysed despite my left leg having no spasm in it at the time.

I am seeing my neurologist on Tuesday for my injections and a chat, so am going to add functional paralysis to my list of questions. I’m not sure if there is anything he can suggest to help but he may be able to advise something. I think I prefer my body coping this way but at the same time it scares me slightly.

Doctors, Star Wars, Horses and More!

This week has been rather busy, which has left me feeling tired but extremely happy. On Monday I visited my GP to seek some advice. To be honest he was not really able to give me any, however I expected this. I explained to him the disastrous trip to A&E the other weekend and asked if he could give us any advice for if this happened again. Whilst he was shocked by the treatment we had received, he was unable to offer any advice about what we should do the next time this happens. On the bright side he has said that we can continue to use the muscle relaxant that we were given on the Friday in emergency situations as a last resort. We are still waiting to hear back from my neurological consultant in regards to advice/explanation on why the sudden change in presentation etc.

On Wednesday I had a couple of friends round, and I had a really good laugh with them. It felt so good to feel ‘normal’. I spent the day laughing and watching Star Wars with them, which was pretty much perfect!

Yesterday I was well enough to go back to riding after having to have a week away from it. I was  completely ecstatic! The lesson went extremely well, and I managed to do more rising trot than I have managed to do before which was incredible! The horse I ride, Connie, is extremely patient, which gives me so much confidence, as I feel that my spasming limbs will not cause to much of an issue. I came home from riding covered in so much of Connie’s hair that I was beginning to look a bit like a horse myself.

Last night I attended the penultimate pain support/management/research group. As usual it was fantastic and I had a good laugh with everyone and left it feeling very relaxed. I have suggested to the group that once it finishes we arrange to meet once a month for a coffee, so that we can all continue to support each other. It is something that they all liked the sound of as we have get on so well together.

Today I am exhausted, however I am glad of this. I am not used to lots of stimulation so after having a busy few days, I am going to relax and take it easy. I also have a busy weekend planned with friends visiting me on Saturday and Sunday. This week has been perfect and I have felt so ‘normal’ through-out it. I am an extremely happy girl.

The following quote/image, is one that I say over and over to myself every time I feel like I am being defeated or that things are hopeless. Just because I have not managed to cope today does not mean that tomorrow will be the same. Tomorrow I could think of something else to try/do. I just need to keep on smiling. As long as there’s a smile on my face then I know I am winning.

 

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