Today I had my first Hydrotherapy session, this was the first in a course of six. This morning I found myself feeling a mixture of emotions. Part of me was incredibly excited, I previously had hydrotherapy back in 2009 to treat Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, and found it to be very helpful, so I know just how beneficial it can be. However I was also slightly nervous, I could not help but wonder how my quirky body would react to the therapy now. Would it set a seizure off? And if it did how quickly would the staff react? The one positive being, if I had a seizure, that the hydrotherapy takes place at my local hospital and the A&E staff know me very well.
The session could not have gone better. The pool was wonderfully warm which helped relax my rather achy muscles. Having the water support my joints whilst I did the exercises was great as while the water in itself provided a challenge, it also meant I could not hurt myself. For example whenever I twitched in the pool the water provided a resistance to my arm, slowing it down slightly and supporting it, which meant I didn’t hurt myself like I normally do. We had lots of laughs during the session, with my spasms ending up with me splashing my physio repeadedly in the face, and the floats that we had been using during an exercise going flying across the pool. It was great for it to happen in a safe, pain free enviroment!
Below I have put a sneaky photo (I was trying to avoid capturing other patients) that I took at the hospital earlier, it lists some of the benefits of Hydrotherapy. This includes pain relief, and reduction of muscles spasms. It shall be interesting to see if it will help with the spasms I experience! If you have had Hydro, feel free to drop me a line I’d love to hear your experiences.
Today is my first appointment with a new neurologist. I was meant to have another appointment with my wonderful consultant on the 29th of this month. I had a phone call the other day telling me he had left earlier than planned and that my appointment needed to be bumped up to 3:40pm today. So here I am now sat in the café of the hospital, coffee in hand, desperately trying to not freak out.
I brought one of my favourite books with me, Twilight, to help pass the time. However sitting here observing other patients around me, who are also in various states of unease, I can’t help but feel trapped. I know that my anxiety is mostly likely heightened by those around me, yet even knowing that doesn’t quiet the voices in my head. Will this be one of an endless list of consultants? Will he give me the time to ask my questions? Will he aggravate my CRPS?
My first thought is to leave, and hop on the next train home, and just put up with the increase in spasms. Crazy I know. I doubt I’d make it two months before I’d be back begging for my injections. I know that life without my botox is not worth it. It is not a life. It is ambulance trip after ambulance trip, and I won’t go back to it. So where does that leave me? It leaves me cowering over twilight determined to loose myself in its love story.
Botox makes the biggest difference to my life. But the administration of it terrifies me.
When ill with any condition it can become very easy to allow yourself to be wrapped up in the negativity of it all. Recently I slipped, I fell off the positivity bandwagon if you will. I don’t think this slip is necessarily a bad thing. After all it is only natural that in life we have our highs and lows. Ironically it was Dystonia that reminded me to try and see the positive that does exist within and around the condition again.
My left arm and shoulder spasms/twitches rather violently, flinging itself out to the side. I always hope silently whenever this happens that nobody is within hitting range. I have had one to many awkward apology conversations following such a spasm. It was following a rather forceful one in a hospital Costa last week that I found myself out of my chair and on the floor, slightly stunned, sore and in a complete fit of giggles. A small part of me knew that one flailing arm had tried to grab the table, in a useless uncoordinated attempt to stabilise myself.
This incident was exactly what I needed to break the haze of negativity that I had cocooned myself up in since my Complex Regional Pain Syndrome diagnosis. I had forgotten to tackle this condition with the same approach I had the others. I was frankly too scared, I know how bad the pain can get and even though I am not at the same pain score I was in 09, mentally I jumped ship. Embarrassing myself by ending up on a busy Costa shop floor was the exact laughter filled wake-up call I needed. As much I crave a life without chronic illness, my Dystonia never fails to provide laughter, I’ll give it that much.
…and I don’t mean Beauty and the Beast style. This Beast of mine, is not going to transform into my Disney fairytale prince charming. Sitting in the Drs office earlier this afternoon, the Dr uttered words I had hoped I would never hear again. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. The newest diagnosis to my add to my growing list, but not new to me. I have battled and conquered this hideous beast before. It took months and months in hospital. I never thought I would have to deal with this condition again. Last time it was in my leg. Now it is in my shoulder.
Emotionally I am numb, exhausted I know from the little sleep I have got due to pain. Part of me wants to draw the curtains, grab a pillow and just cry. But what good would that do me? It wouldn’t fix me, it wouldn’t take the physical pain away. I made the mistake last time round of avoiding everything that inflicted more pain, such as trousers (I lived in shorts), I couldn’t bear bed sheets, etc, anything touching me was agony. By avoiding touch I made the condition worse. I’m forcing myself to lie down on my back, to wear clothes that hurt, to put my handbag on shoulder even if only for a moment. By doing these things repeatedly hopefully my brain will relearn, again, that all is well.
The Dr went through my meds and was a bit stumped, as medication that he would have put me on to try to treat the condition, such as Gabapentin, I am already on the maximum dose of. We therefore agreed to trial Sertraline on the lowest dose. It may or may not work, but I’ll try anything right now.
In the meantime I’m going to close my eyes, and breath. Things could be worse after all. I defeated this beast once before, and I’ll defeat it once more.
So I know Dystonia is thought of by the medical society as incurable but I have to disagree. Personally I think that the medical society know so little about Dystonia, that to say it is incurable is madness. Just because they have not found a magic treatment plan or pill that works for everyone does not mean it cannot be cured. Why accept such such a depressing prognosis? Why not stand up and say NO! I am going to beat this thing and prove you all wrong!!
Life has thrown a hell of a lot at me and so far I have beaten every single thing. I plan on beating Dystonia too. In 2009, I suffered from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and I was hospitalised for six long months, yet I didn’t let it win! It took about 9 months but I beat it! I had to teach myself to walk again, I had to retain my brain to understand that things touching my leg weren’t actually harming me. It was agonising but I beat it!
If I can beat CRPS then I can beat Dystonia. The doctors all admit that CRPS and Dystonia are very similar, and treatment for them both is again very similar. So in my eyes if I can beat one, then I can beat both! Before all of this happened in July, I was so happy, I was training to be a midwife and loving it! I refuse to let Dystonia stop me!
So little Dystonia alien, if you can hear me, I would be very afraid! You have had your fun and now it is time for you to leave! I have had enough of you controlling my body! I am going to take back my body and I am going to go back to my studies!
Back in 2009 I was admitted into my local hospital with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome in my right leg. I stayed in hospital for a total of six months and still suffered with the condition for a few months after that. The condition meant that despite the fact that I could see my leg so I knew it was there, I didn’t feel like I was connected to it. It would change temperature, colour and sensations. I could not bear even the touch of clothes, and was not able to move it. As a result I had intensive physiotherapy and Hydrotherapy, which thankfully worked a treat for me. I had to learn to move my toes/leg/walk again and retrain my brain to understand that the floor or clothes etc. were not actually harming me.
Due to what I went through with the Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, I can understand how/why my Neurologist has recommend an intensive physiotherapy and rehabilitation treatment plan. I completely get how it will hopefully (fingers crossed) help with my symptoms in my arm and leg. What I am curious about is how it will help with my facial spasms and eye spasms!
When I had intensive therapy before, I basically had to bombard my nerves constantly. I was given exercises to do every hour (in the day) if the physiotherapists were not with me. This meant standing and putting my foot on the floor or running brushes up and down my leg etc. They were all extremely painful but it was by forcing myself to do this constantly that my nerves resumed normal activities. I am expecting that my upcoming treatment will be similar, I am presuming that I shall be made to do movements/activities that will bring on a spasm repeatedly in an attempt to retrain my brain. To me this makes sense, however with my facial spasms they tend to be pretty random, though sometimes I feel this has something to do with eating. Again my eye spasms are random and vary between the length of time they last, with the shortest being seconds long and the longest being 15 hours.
I know that I cannot get any answers to my musings until I am there and taking part in the treatment programme, but I am so curious! The whole disorder intrigues me so much. The human body is such an incredible thing, and although we know so much about it, when it comes to the brain we know very little. New things are discovered all the time, and each new discovery allows for more research to be done. We learn more and more each day. I may not even get the answers during my treatment. One small thing could trigger another. I can’t wait to see what my treatment plans does for my dystonia! Its a big unknown but hopefully one with a positive outcome.