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

Posts tagged ‘Christmas’

Reaching My Christmas Goal

I haven’t posted anything in almost a month as I have been bursting with such amazing news that I wanted to share around Christmas. As many of you know each year since I got ill in 2012 my goal has been to be able to walk by Christmas. It never mattered to me whether that was with the use of splints, walking sticks etc., as long as I was up and out of my wheelchair and back in control of my legs. Thanks to the private hospital I am under who are treating me for Chronic Neurological Lyme Disease I now know how much of my body is Lyme and how much is Dystonia. I am absolutely thrilled to say that my jaw, neck and my arm twitches/jerk spasms are all of me that is Dystonia; I could cry with happiness just writing that as I am extremely lucky that these three are controlled well by injections and medication.

I’m still having a lot of physiotherapy to help me learn to walk, and due to my EDS type 3 I have to wear a number of splints on my legs to help support my joints. I even have funky pink polka dot walking sticks. I’ve got a lot to learn still as due to my damaged ankle ligaments I fall over a lot, this recently resulted in a dislocated finger and broken tendon. However that is minor in comparison to the joy I feel. The private hospital I am under have decided to prescribe me another 3 months of medication, along with running several new tests, but that’s a separate blog post for the New Year.

My neurologist has been so supportive, when he first met me I was unable to walk and even attempting to stand was rather risky. It is great to be able to go for my injections and see how thrilled he is for me. He is pretty sure that the Chronic Lyme is what caused my Dystonia due to damage it can do to the brain. Although the spasms I am left with are painful, and my Oromandibular Dystonia can cause my jaw to dislocate, my symptoms are much more manageable now than what they were!

On that positive note I would like to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a Fantastic New Year! I shall be back to my regular blogging self in the new year.

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Pain Free Celebrations

Todays blog is only a quick one, but I just want to start it by saying I hope you have all had a fabulous Christmas. I have been extremely lucky and spent this Christmas and my 21st Birthday seizure free and with only a handful of spasms! I feel very blessed to have been able to spend both occasions in very little pain, especially as pain is 99% of the time my constant companion.

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Over the Christmas period I have felt the best I have in a long time. Between regular Botox injections for my Dystonia, antibiotics for my Chronic Lyme, and all the other meds thrown in, I have managed to reach an incredibly happy place. I have managed to reach a place where I am not scared to chew my food incase my jaw tremors, where I can speak clearly, where I can brush my hair without the brush getting stuck in my hand. I am in such a different place to where I was last year and I am so unbelievably happy.

Thinking back to last year, and then looking forward to the upcoming year I am filled with hope. So much has changed for the better this last year, and I hope it continues in this way. This time last year I had hoped that I would eventually learn to live with this condition, and in the space of a year I have learned to live with it, and tricks to sneak around it (the power of hot water bottles), I have learned that no matter how hideous things may seem it does get better, that I can have a life.  I have learnt so much, and I am sure I will learn more. In between kicking my Dystonia Aliens butt I plan on having as much as fun as possible.

Incase I don’t have time to blog again beforehand (I’m fantastically busy at the moment :-D) I wish you all a fantastic New Year full of joy.

 

Testing the Boundaries

Since I became ill last summer, I have tried to be careful in everything I do. My body has limits and I have to learn to respect that. However it’s hard to keep within the limits when they keep changing, and when outside factors alter them constantly. I often tend to step over the boundaries, simply because I know that if I don’t test them now and then, I’ll never know what my body’s full potential is. Though I must admit I also do this simply due to craving the freedom my body once had. 

A couple of weeks ago the college phoned me and asked if I would like to attend the Clothes Show Live 2013 at the NEC in Birmingham. After a discussion with mum about if this would be beyond my bodies limitations I decided that I would go. I was extremely nervous as the furthest I have been from mum since I got ill is when I ride, and that’s not far at all. If something happened, I knew that I would most likely wake up in a strange hospital before mum could get there. A situation I did not want to end up in. Thankfully all my worries were for nothing.

I had two of my learning support staff with me to make sure I was safe and to push me around. It was a truly fantastic experience that I am incredibly thankful for. The college had booked a coach that had access for my wheelchair in, and for the main runway show we had the best seats! Other than the odd twitch and my right knee paralyzing on and off, which I’m used to now, my body was perfect. I think I have shopped for this years christmas presents and everyone’s birthday presents for next year!

I expected my body to have a complete meltdown today, but other than being very achy it’s behaved well. I have managed to go to the opticians and have a couple of Coke’s out in town with my family, without any issues.

Below is my favourite photo from yesterday :-p

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Busy Bee

I intended to write this on Wednesday but this week has been extremely busy – I’m not complaining, I’m loving it, even if Benedict my Dystonia alien doesn’t. Between neurology appointments, college, horse riding and more college, I have been wheeling around like crazy, and sleeping fantastically well due to exhaustion.

I visited my wonderful neurologist on Tuesday, and got my six usual injections. Two to the eye area, jaw and neck. Receiving my injections makes me so happy that I have a trusting relationship with my neurologist, as I really dislike needles and would not let anyone else stick needles near my eyes! He even cracked a joke when cleaning the area with alcohol wipes that he was sorry it was not the good stuff…this really made me laugh as I’d just informed him I was going to try to come off some off my medications over the christmas period so that I could have a drink on christmas day, my 21st birthday and new year.

Whilst I was at my appointment my neurologist diagnosed me with chronic migraines. I have had what I thought were just normal but painful headaches for years. The opticians told me to tell my doctor but he just advised I drank more water which did not help. Recently I was having pains in the back of my eyes that have been so bad that I have had to shut them and go to sleep. I had been concerned that the pains were caused by my blindness, so have been relieved to have this diagnosis. He has promised to look into what treatment he can give me for them, so I look forward to my next visit.

Last week I hurt my back and neck when I had an episode of functional paralysis whilst sitting in my wheelchair – I ended up flopped out the side. This has resulted in a long recovery process. So I am extremely pleased that I have managed to cope with such a full on week.

Despite a repeat incident at college today, my back is not to bad! I find this reassuring as I hope this means that even though my Dystonia still acts up constantly, my body is finally getting used to all the extra activities I have started doing.

I feel like I have gone from drowning in this condition, to treading water, and now I have reached doggy paddle stage. I am not swimming up and down life like a good swimmer, but I’m moving around better, my head is firmly above water and I’m living life to the full.

Fantastic Neurology Appointment

This afternoon I was up in London seeing my lovely neurologist. As usual I went armed with lots of questions. I feel very blessed that I see such a lovely man, who listens to everything I have to say. His manner is very calming, I hate needles, but his calm attitude puts me at complete ease, I would never let anyone else stick so many injections in me. I was excited to see him and to show him how much progress I have made with creating my life around my symptoms.

We went through all my queries before my injections and he was so helpful with each one. He is going to write to my GP explaining that I need the IV antibiotics for Lyme Disease, I am relieved he has agreed to do this as it means I do not have to argue with my GP about it. I have a severe intolerance to Lactose, which unfortunately all but one of medications contain. At first this was fine as my body was coping with the small amount, but now that it has slowly built up in system my body is reacting and is making my other medical conditions, e.g IBS, worse. The most annoying issue with it is that no matter how much time I sleep for I wake up feeling like I never went to sleep and I find it hard to keep going in the days, my neurologist has offered to get the pharmacy at the hospital to look into alternatives for me. This would make such a big difference. We have also juggled around my next two appointment to make sure that my jaw is in working order for Christmas and my 21st birthday.

We spoke about my functional paralysis and agreed that in a way it was positive as it was less disruptive to life, although it is not ideal. There is not much I can do other than take pain killers and try to stimulate the part that is paralysed in attempt to disrupt the incorrect signals that are being sent – this has not worked yet but I shall keep trying. I had my eyes, jaw and neck injected with Botox so my spasms shall continue to my kept in check and my jaw tremor should soon settle down for a few weeks.

It was a fantastic appointment. I am truly blessed to have such a wonderful neurologist looking after me.

 

 

Short Term Goals

As I have mentioned before my body does not react very well to me getting ill, even colds cause my Dystonia alien to act up more than usual. Therefore I have spent today spasming, having seizures and trying to find the energy to get things done. I have not slept well the last few nights which I know will be aggravating my symptoms – thankfully I have reflexology tomorrow which should help with my sleep.

I have spent a lot of time thinking today about goals. I have lots of long-term ones that I am determined to achieve, but it occurred to me today that I also needed short-term ones as well. Goals that would keep me motivated even when I am feeling under the weather and my body is at its worst. I have decided that my first goal will be to be to walk in my splints around the house by Christmas without crutches! As I am starting neurophysiotherapy soon I see no reason as to why this cannot happen. I was walking around the house last Christmas and I shall, with the aid of my splints, be walking by this Christmas.

There is a girl on my college course who I find very inspirational. Despite being young (17), she is coping amazingly well with a combination of different conditions. One of her issues is that she cannot feel her legs – she has some very limited feeling in her upper thighs but that’s it and yet with the help of crutches she walks. Now most of the time I can feel my legs, and I have the extra help of splints, so it is time to put them to good use and start walking!

ImageI know that I may not be able to walk every day due to my Dystonia aliens games, but I will walk as far as I can every day, whether that only be walking 2 footsteps or walking for 2 hours, I shall every day walk! And I shall do this by Christmas!

 

The Battle against my Foot, the Doctors and my Brain.

When you wake up in the morning, what do you? Do you mentally wrestle with yourself to throw back your warm duvet cover, swing your legs out into the unwelcoming cold, stand up and start your day? This is a simple task. One you do every day without thinking about it.

For me, simple is not an applicable word for this every day task. Most days my mother wakes me up to give me my first cocktail of medications for the day. I stay in bed, at the moment for breakfast, as venturing outside of the safety of my mattress is a dangerous move to make. When I eventually have to get out of bed, it involves me calling for my mum to help. Once I have managed to get to the edge of the bed, my mum takes one arm and my step-dad or sibling will take the other.  They support me/attempt to prevent me from falling as I try to walk.

At the moment when my right foot is forced to try and work normally, it fights back hard. Often winning. My toes curl them-selves under, my foot flips over so that the top of it scraps painfully along the floor. And then to put the icing on the cake, it will twist in unnatural painful positions, as it protests violently against my will.

For me, at the present time, getting up and moving is an exhausting task. One that fills me with dread every time I need the loo, or have to move to a different room. Each time I attempt to move around, I try to clear my mind from panic. I tell myself over and over again, that this time  it might just be different, I might manage to walk a few steps, like I was doing before Christmas. I fill my head with positive thoughts. However when my foot then starts to contort, it is physically and emotionally draining.

I wish the doctors could see me like this. See me at home, when I am out of my wheelchair. Where a small glitch in my brain makes me vulnerable in my own environment. Where I struggle to walk one step, where my family catches me when I collapse, where my family protect me from my surroundings when the pain causes me to have a Seizure. Where they could see that I need help now and not in a years time!

However I must remain positive, I must focus on the fact that before Christmas, I was slowly making progress, and learning to walk again. The fact I started to walk, reassure’s me that I will again. Until then I just have to suck it up and deal with it. I must be pro-active. So I shall blog , I shall write letters, and I shall make the doctors and the politicians listen. I shall make them understand just how life changing and debilitating Dystonia is and I shall make them take action! I shall not remain silent!

Lasts Nights Fight With My Jaw

At this very moment in time, I feel like my body spent the whole of last night trying to get back at me for writing a positive post yesterday. I had spent the whole of yesterday feeling rather odd, like half my brain was missing and the other half was covered in fog. By the evening my jaw was really playing up, with my dystonia pulling each side of my face in opposite directions, which was agony, this of course then led on to hours of Non Epileptic Seizures. Consequently I have woken up this morning feeling like my body has been run over by a bulldozer and my head been repeatedly hit by a hammer. However on the bright side of things, today my jaw Dystonia is a lot better than yesterday.

I have decided that today I shall completely avoid solid food and only consume softer food such as soup or yoghurt, in an attempt to try and prevent my Jaw from playing up so much, as I really want to be able to enjoy tonight’s New Years Party.

Tomorrow I plan on writing a letter to my consultant, to ask for a date for him to administer my injections and to ask for a plan to be put in place for future injections to be administered. I am hopeful that I shall not have to wait to much longer for these injections, considering he was meant to do them several weeks ago, but failed to give us a date.

I am hoping that the New Year shall be filled with positivity and improvement.

 

My Dystonia and My Dystonia Experiment

I am happy to announce that over the Christmas period my Dystonia behaved, with the exception of one or two moments. The relief I felt after going Christmas day and my birthday without having my dystonia play up was immense! I had worried a lot about spending the Christmas period in agony, thank fully I ended up worrying for nothing. To make things even better I even managed to spend 6 hours clothes shopping with my family, with only my eyes playing up now and then. I managed to get in and out of my wheelchair frequently so I could try clothes on without my leg making to much of a fuss. By the end of the day, I was exhausted and found it very difficult to move around, but this did not bother me as the fact I managed to spend so long out and about and try clothes on was a major achievement for me!

Yesterday I picked up my glasses from the opticians, this means that I can now start judging whether it is my eyes straining that causes my eyes to spasm and go blind. Every day, I am going to keep a diary of what activities I have done and how my eyes have reacted to each activity, this will enable me to have a fairly accurate idea (after a number of weeks) as to whether my theory to why I go blind is right or not. I am quiet excited, as if I am right and wearing glasses helps stop the spasms, this will make a significant impact on my life.

My jaw dystonia is really playing up at the moment, which in turn brings on my Non Epileptic Seizures. Despite my consultant emailing me 3 weeks ago saying he would do my Botox injections next week, I have still not received a date for it to be done. When I finally get to see him and have the injections done, I am going to ask him if there is anyway we can just book a date in advance, for around the time  the injections stop working, to have treatment again. To me this is a logical step to make, however it is becoming more and more apparent to me that the NHS system is not necessarily a logical one.

I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas  and that you all have a great new year.

 

Dystonia Update, Consultant Musings, + More!

With the exception of the last few days, the last few weeks my body (apart from my jaw) has not been too bad. Which has been a very nice break for me, but has also lulled me into a false sense of security. When my foot went into spasm the other evening I was rather shocked. That day my whole leg had felt odd, like someone was trying to pull it out of its socket. I found myself to be rather upset by the spasm. Part of me had hoped that I would have a miracle recovery and I would return to uni in September without a worry. Now I know this whole miracle recovery idea was a bit silly, after all Dystonia is not known for being predictable, it does what it wants, when it wants, how it wants, for as long as it wants. However there is still hope for Uni, I have ten months to somehow get better/get my dystonia under control in, so I am remaining hopeful. I have thrown myself into studying/revision, as I think that it is the only thing keeping me sane at the moment.

Last Sunday, my consultant finally replied to our email stating that he would administer Botox injections into my jaw for me, and that he would do that next week. This created some confusion about when he would do it. However a whole week has passed since we heard from him, so that rules out that week. So it shall be interesting to see whether he contacts us to do the injections this week or if we shall have to chase him some more.

In January I am going to meet my local MP, to discuss with him the many pitfalls of the NHS. I have composed a long list of points, that I wish to discuss, over the last few months. I am looking forward to how he shall respond to my questions or if he shall try defend the system.

I am looking forward to celebrating Christmas and my 20th with my family. I am praying that it shall be a happy occasion with no Dystonic movements and be Seizure free.

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Fantastic New Year!!

 

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