Saturday evening, after a drizzly but fantastic day spent at Ascot racecourse, I found myself lying on my side in the living room in a fair degree of pain after my hip gave way. After a quick feel I was certain that it hadn’t dislocated and the fact I had remained conscious and had not slipped straight into one of my seizures reassured me that nothing too untoward was at play. However my hip, when not spasming, has never been the reason for me falling before, so the fact I was not seizing I felt could not be 100% relied upon. Perhaps my brain had functionally paralyzed that part of my body? Even momentarily, would have been enough, after all my hip had caused me increasing amounts of pain all day.
I still don’t know why this happened. After spending a couple of hours on the floor we eventually got me to my room, and I spent the following day, on bed rest, taking plenty of regular painkillers and ant-inflammatory’s. It is only now on Tuesday that I am walking around without as much discomfort, though I’m still taking regular anti-inflammatory’s. One of the issues I often find with my myriad of medical conditions is judging when to get arising issues checked out. With my bones I usually go by whether the complaint is swollen or not, this is on the advice of a plastic consultant, due to my EDS. However when it comes to the rest of my conditions it can be pretty hit or miss.
When I end up in Accident & Emergency, or when I’m at my GP’s, I often feel like I’m wasting their time because of how often I’m there. The best they can do is patch up the new issue; like sticking a fabric plaster on a cut before getting in a bath. It’s almost pointless because you’re just going to have to stick another one on when you get out, but for the mean time it’ll do. The reasonable part of me knows this isn’t the case, that I need their help and I’m extremely thankful for it. But whilst I’m there I can’t deny that’s how I’m feeling, especially when a lot of appointments involve me battling to receive treatment I need.
Judging when to get checked out is a minefield. So often I leave things until they have reached a point where I probably have made it worse for myself. This seems to be a common issue among people with chronic health conditions. Many of us have accepted that we are chronically ill and that we will have falls or spasms etc., we just don’t want to make a nuisance of ourselves or accept another symptom or injury.
I hadn’t planned on writing this. Originally I was going to keep it pent-up. But the whole point of Dystonia and Me is to share with you all the highs and lows of this condition and the many battles I fight along the way. As I mentioned in a post during awareness week, I was abused physically and emotionally as a teenager. I have since had a lot of therapy to help me come to term with this and move on from that period of my life, which I have done. I have always strongly believed that you should be completely honest with your doctor. After all how else are they meant to successfully treat you if they do not have all the information they need?
The way many doctors have treated me after learning I have a history of abuse has left me wishing I had never informed them of it. This specifically applies to my GP. It seems that every aspect of my sanity has been called into question. I have never been so insulted. Yet it would seem that I am expected to roll over and accept this as the norm?!
My GP called me into a meeting to explain himself last week. At the time I was slightly pacified. Yet as I sit here, redrafting blog posts for college (exam prep), I find myself becoming incensed. This same routine has gone on for years now. Is it really so hard to believe that an abuse victim can move on with their life and be coping well, despite having a movement disorder? I am absolutely fed up of having to reassure him over and over that I am not depressed, that my past is not the route of all my problems. Even informing him that the genetic test showed that the Dystonia was genetic did not seem to make a dent in his warped view. As I keep pointing out to him, I am not the one dragging up my past it is him.
It worries me how little so many doctors know about Dystonia. My GP has looked after me since 2012, and yet still clings to the idea of abuse being the root of all my problems. This is despite having letters from my neurologist and my cognitive behavioral therapist telling him that my past has nothing to do with my Dystonia. I know that I am not the only sufferer experiencing this problem. Having to fight against doctors is hard. Standing up to them is frightening, I respect my GP, but at the same time he angers me so much because he is not taking the time to listen to myself or my neurologist. By standing up though there is a chance he may learn. I keep hoping…you never know. He may change.
I am now a year into my battle against Dystonia and life has changed dramatically. A year ago I was a student midwife, now I am disabled and spent a lot of time trying to raise awareness of Dystonia. When I first received my diagnosis it seemed like the end of the world, I did not know how I was going to be able to cope with life. Now I am much stronger person filled with determination to make a difference.
I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason and even if you cannot see the reason at first, eventually you will. I believe I have Dystonia so that I can help raise awareness of the condition and help bring about a change so that sufferers receive better treatment. I still have a long road ahead of me but its one that I won’t give up on.
I visited my GP today to ask about further treatment for suspected Lyme Disease. I responded extremely well to the first month-long course of antibiotics, due to this my GP has prescribed me 8 more weeks of antibiotics to see if I have any further improvement on them. My main improvement so far has been in my hands, which has been an extremely exciting development for me. When I see my consultant on the 16th of this month I am going to put across to him that Lyme Disease could have caused my Dystonia. As Lyme disease is curable with enough antibiotics some of my current symptoms could disappear for good, and only the Dystonic spasms shall remain.
I also visited my dentist this morning to have my teeth cleaned. I can not rate the dental practice highly enough, despite my spasms and seizures whilst I was there they were extremely kind and patient with me. As my tremor is dislodging some of my teeth it is calming knowing that the dental practice will do all they can for me.
This afternoon I have a session with my reflexologist. I am so glad that she is coming today as I am extremely exhausted. It amazes me how quickly my body gets tired. I used to be able to be on the go all the time but now just two quick visits have left me half asleep.
I still cannot believe that I have suffered from Dystonia for a year now. Whilst I hate this condition, I also embrace it. By embracing Dystonia I am able to put all my energy into raising vital awareness and funds. The more awareness that is raised the sooner a cure will be found. My next awareness challenge I have set myself is to turn parts of my blog into a book. I hope that by doing this more people will learn of the condition.
Dystonia may control my body, but I control the path I take in life. I choose to make a difference!
Whilst sitting in a waiting room the other day my mum stumbled across an article about Lyme Disease. Lyme Disease is carried by some ticks and can be transferred via a bite. Later that day my mum did some research about the disease after remembering that I had been bitten by one when I was six up in Scotland, and the area is known to have ticks carrying the disease. When reading through the symptoms she found that the majority of medical issues I have had through out my life fits with Lyme Disease.
Lyme Disease can cause a majority of problems. In late stages of the disease neurological problems can occur such as muscle spasms, memory loss, twitches etc and can cause Dystonia. I was never tested for Lyme Disease at the time as my parents did not know of the condition. The tick was attached to me for 24 hours and I developed a large rash afterwards. Testing for Lyme is unfortunately not accurate. The tests can result in many false positives and false negatives, some Lyme patients have been tested over 5 times before they got a positive result. The test is only about 30% accurate.
I visited my GP this morning with my mum to discuss this with him. We went armed with information from medical sites, and prepared to fight for a test. Amazingly we did not have to fight! My GP listened to us carefully and decided that instead of ordering the blood test he would start me on a high dose of oral antibiotics instead. I am to take these for a month and see if I get any improvement.
From what I have read if you have late stage Lyme Disease IV antibiotics are the best line of treatment and this goes on for several months. Often antibiotics do not show any positive results for months, in some cases it has taken up to a year. I know that I am unlikely to have any improvement on just one course of antibiotics and that I may have to fight to get another course of them, but I am extremely thankful that he has agreed to put me straight on them.
The information I have read is extremely interesting and whilst there is a chance that I do not have Lyme Disease and that is just a coincidence that my symptoms through out my life fit so well, I cannot help but hope that we may just have stumbled across the organic cause for my Dystonia.
Every day I have plenty of spasms. Some are short and not to bad, others last hours and cause agony, and some simply make me laugh due to the positions I find myself in, for example I once ended up doing the splits! Thankfully the muscle relaxant that my GP put me on has helped and has slightly reduced the frequency and intensity of these spasms.
Earlier this afternoon my whole body decided to spasm, it was slightly painful and was not the most comfortable position to be in, but despite that I managed to laugh through it with my mum. Knowing that the spasm would eventually release was a big comfort and made it more bearable. I have included some pictures of the spasm below, in them you can see that my eyes, neck, arms, stomach and leg are all in spasm.
In today’s culture people often seem to want to focus on what we cannot do rather than celebrate what we are able to do. Even the term Disabled focuses on it. I don’t like being labelled but if I have to be then I would rather be termed as Differently Able, as I am capable of doing the same things as any body else, it might just take me longer, I may even do it slightly differently but at the end of the day I can still do it!
One of my symptoms causes me to go blind. My eyes go into spasm and my eyeballs roll upwards in their sockets. Being blind on and off has taught me to appreciate the beauty that surrounds me in daily life. I previously took my sight for granted, the day I went blind for the first time terrified me, I was having a big panic that I would not be able to read again. Now when I am able to read I appreciate the ability more than ever before. Control of our bodies and good health is such a precious but fragile gift that people tend to abuse. We need to open our eyes to the world and learn to appreciate what we have. Society needs to understand the gifts that senses such as sight brings us and learn to focus on the positive side of things.
I could easily allow myself to drown in a pool of negativity but by focusing on the little things in life like being able to see, and by pushing myself to achieve what ever I set my mind to, I am able lead a positive life. I have my moments of being down, just like everyone does but I wont ever let having Dystonia beat me.
Normally I don’t really get any side effects to medication. With one of my medications, called Gabapentin, I find that for about 24 to 48 hours after upping the dosage I am a bit of hormonal wreck, but that soon calms down and I’m back to my normal self. So when I started taking Clonzepam I expected to have no side effects, or only minor ones.
Instead I have dealt with the joys of being fine one minute and a paranoid, weeping, agitated wreck the next. The smallest thing can set me off, for example my step dad simply asked what I wanted for breakfast this morning and I broke down into tears, then this afternoon I found out that due to Fridays trip to the hospital I am not allowed to ride this week, cue more tears. Right at this moment in time I am extremely agitated, if I was able to walk I would be out the front door, seeking a decent length stroll to calm down and get fresh air. Instead I am sitting telling myself over and over that it is just the medication making me feel like this and I will soon be fine…and then the paranoia hits again.
Due to how extreme these emotions are I spoke to me GP and expressed my concerns. He has suggested that I start taking Tramadol (a pain-killer/pain blocker) daily, so that my seizures will be triggered less which in turns means I wont have to take Clonzepam unless I really have to. This sounds like a good plan to me, so I shall try it out. I do not want to stop taking Clonzepam because I would like to see how beneficial it is, so I am just going to have to suck it up and learn to deal with the side effects.
Tomorrow is another day, which will hopefully be better and brighter,
I am seriously fed up with and disgusted by the treatment I receive from the medical profession! Even my GP, who is usually in my good books, has appalled me. Since 2:45pm yesterday afternoon my jaw has been clamped shut and deviated. I cannot eat, drink or even take my medication and have not done so since that time yesterday! We asked my GP to do a home visit, and after feeling my pulse and stomach he left. He claimed that he was sure my jaw would go back eventually and that he did not know what to suggest.
I know that eventually my jaw will go back. Eventually being the key word. We do not know how long it will take for my jaw to EVENTUALLY go back. I have not had a drink of water or taken any medication in almost 27 hours now. How long do they expect me to go without fluid or medication? Surly the logical thing to do is to admit me into hospital put an IV and administer me fluids, my meds and muscle relaxants/pain relief???
I do not understand why I should have to accept and put up with such disgusting treatment! I am disgusted and highly irritated!