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

Posts tagged ‘horseback riding’

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.

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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!

 

Yesterdays R.D.A Lesson & Support group

Yesterday I had a lesson booked with the R.D.A, I was a bit nervous about this due to the new tremor in my leg. I had emailed my instructor in advance to let her know that it may be slightly more difficult than usual to get me on. Her reply made me grin “Tremor or no tremor, we will give it our best shot”! She stuck true to her words, they gave it their best shot and managed to get me on! I hopped up the mounting block, then with my arms round two volunteers shoulders they lifted me up on to Connie so that I was sitting side saddle, I then swung my Dystonic leg over Connie’s neck and slid my feet into the stirrups.

After about a minute of having my feet in the stirrups my right leg decided to spasm, it shot out sideways and upwards. The volunteers and my instructors remained very calm and Connie did not even notice. Thankfully it was not a long spasm, once it had passed we agreed that until my leg had settled down completely, I would ride without the stirrups. I was completely fine with this, and happily rode round without them. After a while, when I was certain it was OK to risk putting my feet back in stirrups, I did so, this time my body did not react.

My riding instructor does fantastic lessons, and I was allowed to do a lot more trotting this time. We did trotting in general, trotted in and out of cones and over poles, it was complete heaven! The three volunteers that stayed beside me, kept saying that you would never know I was disabled if you watched me ride, as I sat so well and had good control. I must admit them saying this really made my day! I have to have three people around me at the moment when I ride, due to my Non Epileptic Seizures, as I only had my last one a few weeks ago, so we have to play it safe.

I cannot put into words that happiness that riding gives me. I literally sit and grin the whole time I am riding, taking in every magical second of it! I cannot wait until next weeks lesson!

Last night I also attended my support/research group. I love these meetings, they are so mad and positive that I just there and smile. Despite both my leg and arm playing up whilst I was there, I had a fantastic time. The group is extremely supportive and I find that the different methods we are taught for coping with pain are extremely helpful.

Overall yesterday was an absolutely brilliant day. It was so worth the aches I have today. Despite the aches, if you put a horse in front of me now, I would still try and get on!

 

My first RDA Lesson

There are no words to describe just how over-joyed I was yesterday. It was a day of sheer bliss!  Yesterday I had my first R.D.A (Riding for the disabled association) lesson. It had been 5 years since I had last ridden (when I was able-bodied), and I was desperate to get back on a horse! I must say that the volunteers who run the group are amazing! They are such caring, upbeat people and it is such a vibrant environment! You could not ask for a more helpful or nicer bunch of people.

As I am in a wheelchair, the volunteers had to be slightly inventive, as I could not mount a horse in the typical way. Instead, once I was on the mounting block, two of the volunteers lifted me by my knees, up on to the horse, so that I was sitting side-saddle. I then had to swing my Dystonic leg over the horse’s neck, so that I was sitting correctly. I was thrilled that I had managed to get on!!!! As I knew there was a very good chance that I may not be able to.

I then had 3 volunteers stay by my side throughout the lesson. So that if for some reason my dystonia played up or if I had a seizure, they would be able to keep me from hurting myself. I was expecting to only be allowed to walk in my first lesson, especially as we did not know how my leg would react. However I was in heaven, when I heard the instructor call my name and tell me to go for a trot!!!!! At first the trots were short, so that we could establish my strength, however throughout the lesson they got longer and longer. I could have cried with happiness. I have loved horses all my life, and started riding at the age of 5. Ten years later I had to stop due to injury. So you can imagine my joy at being able  to get on a horse again and then being able to do more that I expected!

I managed to do the entire lesson, which was incredible!!! To dismount from the horse, things had to get inventive again, as I was unable to do this in the typical manner. Instead I swung my leg over the horse’s neck again and sat side-saddle. Then with my arms wrapped round the volunteers, I let myself slowly slide down the horse to the ground. It was an amazing day! One that I will not ever forget. I cannot wait to go back next week for my next R.D.A lesson!

This is a picture of me riding Connie, just getting ready to dismount at the end of a fantastic lesson!

I also attended my support/research group last night. I really do love this group. It does a slight bit of meditation, free movement, discussion etc. To an onlooker, it would most likely look that we are all slightly crazy, however everything we do, I find leaves me feeling relaxed and peaceful by the end of the session. It was a perfect end to a rather heavenly day!

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