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

Posts tagged ‘horse riding’

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 😉

 

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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.

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.

 

Troublesome Tremor & Consultant Conundrum

On Friday my jaw developed a painful tremor (see video on previous post) that has caused me more and more issues. Since Friday I have visited the out of hours doctors, been rushed by ambulance to hospital, and had an urgent visit to the dentist as the tremor is actually dislodging my teeth! It all is beginning to get a little bit too much and I desperately want the pain to go away. Knowing that the tremor is actually dislodging some of my teeth concerns me a lot. I still have a few baby teeth with no adult ones underneath them, so to know that this tremor is dislodging them is rather alarming. The Dentist I saw was an extremely lovely chap who reassured me that everything would be done to keep my baby teeth in for as long as possible.

As I have mentioned previously we have been emailing my consultant for several weeks now asking if he could book me in for Botox injections. Today I finally got a date, for three weeks time (July 16th). This is 5 weeks later than normal. Now this may not seem like a long time, but being in agony 24/7 and struggling to eat and drink makes the situation almost unbearable, I am currently only just about coping by taking Oramorph (morphine) and Diazepam. It is also extremely debilitating. I have pain triggered non epileptic seizures, not only does this often result in me ending up in hospital but it also puts major parts of my life on hold. I normally go to my local Riding for the Disabled stable on a thursday for a riding lesson, this is an activity that is extremely important to me and one that I thoroughly enjoy, however I am unable to ride when I am having so many seizures.

There was also no mention of my week admittance into the hospital that was meant to happen over two months ago in this email. I am now sadly looking into transferring to another consultant at another hospital as I feel completely neglected by my consultant. I feel like he dangles hope in front of me and then snatches it away without warning.

On a more cheery note I got my splint for my left leg yesterday! This makes things like getting in and out of the house so much easier and has so far been a joy to wear. It is amazing how much of a difference the little things in life can make!

Blissful Days!

I am in such a fantastic mood! Today, after about 8/9 weeks of not being allowed to ride due to Non Epileptic Seizures, I finally got to get back on Connie. It was a fantastic riding lesson, and Connie was perfect as usual! I feel so confident when riding her, and really enjoyed every second of the lesson. I had been worried about the lesson, as my dystonia had spread since the last time I rode. However I need not of worried as my body behaved itself and I managed to do everything with ease.

I am completely and utterly exhausted but in bliss at the moment. The last few days have been great! My tea party was a fantastic success, the Go Blue Movement is going incredibly well and so far I have raised over £662 for the Dystonia society! It has just been the most amazing couple of days. It has all been so positive and I have been so overwhelmed by how successful it has all been.

If you would like to help me raise money for the Dystonia society please click on this link which will take you to my just giving page http://www.justgiving.com/Rebecca-Moller1 .

And if you would like to join in with the Go Blue for Dystonia movement then either dye you hair blue or wear something blue and take a picture of it and post it on the following Facebook event page link https://www.facebook.com/events/450399491712134/?fref=ts

 

Twisting Limbs

On Sunday afternoon my ‘good leg’ spasmed for the first time. I choose to simply ignore this, as I was having lots of spasms and seizures as it was. Other than having the odd spasms in a toe or two yesterday, my leg and foot were fine, and I choose to completely forget about it, as I felt there was no use in getting wound up over something that may or may not cause an issue.

However I woke up this morning to the bottom half of my leg and my foot in spasm. I breathed through the spasm and tried to think of calming thoughts. Once it relaxed I once again pushed it to the back of my mind and tried to go back to sleep. However any chance of having a peaceful day was destroyed when I woke up. My step-dad had been accidentally locked himself out, so I got up to let him in. What would normally be a couple of quick hops on the crutches to the front door, took a painful minute or two. My left leg was spasming badly and I struggled to balance myself and avoid setting off a spasms in right leg.

A similar situation arose later in the day when I got up to go to the other room. I really struggled to move at all. Which sparked a great deal of panic in me. I rung my GP and left a message asking for him to call me back, I knew that he would not be able to offer much advice, however the question he asked in response to my statement about my leg was “are you able to eat?”. I now have an appointment to see him tomorrow morning, I hold little hope for this though due to his earlier comment, after all since when have I used my leg to eat?

I am trying to stay calm and have mediated several times already today, however I have not been able to relax. Part of me is worrying about how I will be able to mount when I go riding on Thursday (I am going to go no matter what and plan on medicating myself to the max) and another part of me is having a break down over the impact that this is going to have.

I have tried standing in different positions over the day and if I stand on the side of my foot then this works to a point. It enables me to hobble around a little bit but I have no idea what else do. My whole body is now completely out of my control and I cannot stand it. I do my best to try to stay positive every day and fight against the spasms, but I am beginning to feel like I have fought one battle too many and they feel like they are never-ending.

However despite all my pessimistic thoughts I refuse to give in, I will keep trying to find new ways to get around the spasms. In the mean time I shall occupy myself with hounding the NHS for some form of treatment as I’m beginning to feel like I am drowning in a sea of untreated symptoms. I do not want to spend my days in bed, I want to be out and about!

Today marks the beginning of yet another battle against my Dystonia alien.

 

Trip to the Consultant

On Tuesday I went up to London to see my consultant, I went armed with a notepad full of questions. I must say that I was extremely pleased with how the appointment went. I felt that my consultant listened to all of my concerns and really wanted to help me.

After explaining to my consultant all of my new symptoms and how they have resulted in an increase of Non Epileptic Seizures due to the pain, my consultant had a couple of ideas. First of all, after demonstrating to him how my neck spasms (it goes down towards my right shoulder, whilst rotating left, so I am in a sort of diagonally skywards position), he decided to administer Botox to my neck.

He administered the first lot of injections to my jaw to help relieve my Ormandibular Dystonia, this was relatively painless. He then went onto my neck. I expected this to be fairly painless as well. I was wrong. It was painful, I feel sorry for my mums poor fingers that I was already squeezing as I really do not like needles that are aimed at me. However I would rather have a couple of seconds of discomfort than hours of a hideous neck spasm.

My consultants second idea, is to introduce Clonzepam into my medication cocktail. At first I shall only take it when I think I am about to have a seizure. If that does not work then I shall start taking it nightly. His theory is that when I am in severe pain, my body goes into fight or flight mode and my bodies way of fleeing is by going into a Non Epileptic Seizure, therefore the medication should prevent my body from feeling like it has to fight or flee.

We discussed the role of dopamine, and he feels that my Dystonia is not dopa-responsive, so does not want to do a trial of levadope. Whilst this is disappointing, I can understand why he feels this, I know that I was only hoping I could try it, so that if did work I would be able to return to university in September. However I am not totally giving up on this idea. From the way my consultant spoke I was given the impression that many treatment avenues are closed for me because of the Non Epileptic Attacks. I am hoping that if the Clonzepam does its role right and stops them, then my Dystonia will be able to viewed in a light that is not tainted by them, it is at that point that I shall bringing up trying Levadope again.

For now I am going to sit back and count down the days to April 18th, when my riding lessons start-up again. I cannot wait to get back to it, its my happy place.

 

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.

 

Life through my eyes.

When someone gets diagnosed with a condition that it is going to make an impact in some way, it is then that people show their true colours. I am sure many of you are aware of this or have even experienced it. For me it happened gradually, some people quickly disappeared out of my life, some stuck themselves firmly to me, and others decided to bow out later on into it. Although losing people you were close to is a painful thing, it also shows you the people who truly care about you.

Since being diagnosed with Dystonia I have met the most amazing people, with such beautiful souls. To them they don’t see the wheelchair and its occupier, they see a girl whose personality counts more than her physical capabilities.  For example, the incredible volunteers at my local riding school, who are part of the Riding for the Disabled Association. They are such vibrant beings, who managed to get me on a horse, despite all odds. There are no words to describe how much I love these volunteers, how much joy they bring into my life. Then there are my uni friends. They are such loving people. Despite the fact I moved back home, they are always there for me when I need them. They have rushed me to hospital at 2am, and joined me at many hospital appointments and a&e visits. Then there are the amazing people I know/have met through day-to-day life, who are caring and inspiring individuals.

My family has been amazing. They have coped with the spasms, the hysterics, the seizures, the pain, the hospital visits, the hospital admittances, the day-to-day challenges that Dystonia brings. It is their ongoing love for me that helps me through each and every day, that inspires me to keep fighting for control of my body.

At this time all the people above and so many more that have stayed close to me, have been a fantastic fountain of support. They help me through hard times in my personal life and with Dystonia. They show me the light, on days when I feel like hope is gone…and then they hand me some chocolate buttons.

Life is tough for everyone, in different ways for whatever reason. We are challenged by different issues. Some may seem big or small to others but you can never judge how a challenge is affecting someone without experiencing it yourself in their shoes. I can only hope that everyone has a support network like mine. As you never know just when you will need it.

Today has been a good one, full of much-needed distractions. I went riding and despite falling out the front door on the way there – I am ridiculously clumsy – I still managed to do rising trot without setting off a spasm. I am so lucky to be surround be such fantastic volunteers when I am up there, and I ride an incredibly patient horse who I completely and utterly adore! I also attended my pain support/research group. It is a fantastic group which does me the world of good. I can be so open and honest as everyone there can understand to a good degree what I am going through, yet I can also laugh with them at the same time.

Life is too short to be defeated by inconvenient challenges. Just because my brain has decided it does not want to work, does not mean I should hold my hands in the air and admit defeat. If anything it should fill me with determination to show my Dystonia alien just what I can do. My life goals may have to change because of it, but by no means should they get any smaller, if anything I should aim higher. You never know you may one day see me at the Paralympics, or I may be a best-selling author. Who knows what could happen! Who knows what life has planned for us! Embrace whatever style of life you have! Mould it to suit you, push you boundaries and never give up.

I think the picture below sums up my thoughts perfectly.

Amazing Progress!

Today has been truly wonderful! I had my third R.D.A lesson, and I made so much progress today. I really shocked myself! In the last two lessons I have had, I have had a leader and two volunteers on either side of me, so that they can catch me if I have a Non Epileptic Seizure whilst on the horse. However at the start of my lesson today I only had a leader, and by the end of the first ten minutes it had been decided I did not have a need for a leader!!! This was fantastic and I was extremely happy.

We spend the majority of the lesson in trot, and practising changing the rein in trot etc. This I adored, as I was being allowed to do even more than I had done in my previous lessons. I normally just do sitting trot and I just try to stay as still as possible in the saddle, however as my Dystonic leg was behaving rather well today, my instructor and I decided that I should give rising trot a go. I was slightly nervous at the idea of it, as I did not know how my leg would react. It turned out that I had no reason to worry!! I put as much weight as possible through my left leg (the working one), and started doing a slightly lop sided (but who cares about that) rising trot. To say I was in heaven would be an understatement. I felt so carefree and alive. I could have cried with happiness when I realised that all my leg had done in reaction was to twist sideways!!! This was such amazing progress and has given me so much confidence!!

There are not enough words to describe how much I love riding!! I treasure every single second of it, and feel very lucky to have the opportunity to ride among such a vibrant and supportive group of people.

I also attended my support/research group. As usual I had a laugh with the group, and really enjoyed the session. I had also made progress in the group, by being able to do some of the relaxation methods more successfully than I had managed previously. I left feeling very relaxed and over-joyed from having such a great day, full of amazing progress!

 

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