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

Posts tagged ‘leg spasms’

Leg Spasms; Lyme or Dystonia

The issue with being chronically ill is that when a new complication arises it can be hard to know whether it has been caused by a preexisting condition, and if so which one, or if a new condition has popped into the question. Over the last few weeks I’ve had increasing amounts of pain in my knees, calf’s and feet. I tried to brush this off but slowly and surely my feet and legs have started spasming. So now I find myself trying to work out if this is due to a spread of Dystonia or a relapse of Chronic Neurological Lyme Disease.

I had a long chat with my neurologist on Tuesday, he’s of the thought that my Dystonia has progressed as I’m still within the 5 year time frame for a spread of symptoms. Personally I’m hoping it’s Lyme related, as whilst still hard to treat, the possibility of remission again is real.

The idea that it could be Dystonia scares me due to the painful nature of the spasms; but I know I can get through it. I just have to take it one wobbly step at a time. I never thought I’d see the day when I would have to strap my leg splints on again but they’re worth the discomfort.

So here’s to crossing my fingers and seeing where the next 12 weeks takes us, by which point we will have a better idea to the cause and therefore treatment options.

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Ambulance Trip

After two weeks of no seizures, and no ambulance trips since July, my seizure free luck ran out yesterday. Having had a fantastic day at college, I collapsed outside my house after my legs went into a bad spasm. I feel sorry for my poor friend who took me home that day as it was not a nice experience for her.

I gave my body a good whack on the ground when I collapsed, triggering my seizures. Normally with my Non Epileptic Seizures I come round, even if it is just for a second, between them. However yesterday this did not happen, I remained unconscious in between. Luckily my younger brother and one of younger sisters were at home, so they were able to bring pillows, blankets etc out  to keep me warm whilst my friend kept me safe.

An ambulance had to be called, thankfully I always tell everyone that I have a letter from my neurologist in my handbag instructing paramedics and doctors on what to do. This letter meant that the paramedics quickly administered diazepam to me. As I was remaining unconscious and had been unconscious for so long I was given oxygen and taken to the resus unit at the hospital, where I was monitored for several hours.

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I feel sorry for the first doctor in charge of me as he was very unsure of my condition and therefore seemed to feel frustrated as he was unable to help me. My body being its usual unhelpful self did its typical vein disappearing act. It took the poor man seven attempts to get a line in me and bloods out of me.

Despite this incident ruining my good streak, I am still viewing it as progress! Hopefully these blues and twos trips to hospital will continue to be less and less, until they fizzle out completely all together. It may take time, but it will one day happen. I am so thankful for my letter from my neurologist, I am sure with it out I would not have received diazepam so quickly, and that was much-needed to help bring me round.

I am now home and shall be spending the next couple of days recuperating from yesterdays events.

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.

 

Acrobatics

The ability my Dystonia has to twist my body into any position it desires never ceases to amaze me. Having hypermobility syndrome aids it somewhat. The two conditions are both painful and amusing. Over the last year my body has got itself into positions that are simply not natural. I always knew my hands moved in ways that were not normal, but never realised that the rest of me could.

Some of the positions Dystonia has put me in has reduced me to tears of both pain and laughter. Take for example last October, I ended up on the floor doing the splits, something that I had never done before. A month or so ago, the spasm in my leg caused my leg to turn back to front, a movement that shocked those around me and triggered a non epileptic seizure.  At other times it has caused slight embarrassment, but this is something I accepted as part of the Dystonia parcel a long time ago.

This evening I was crawling to the next room as I did not want to use the wheelchair, my right leg quickly spasmed sideways, I ignored it as it was not preventing me from moving. However whilst I was crawling through the doorway my hip went into a spasm causing my spasming leg to shoot up and my foot to become caught under the door handle. Both my mother and step dad came to help me. My mum supported me incase I had a seizure and my step dad wrestled with my spasming foot to free it. I was on my hands laughing. The situation was ridiculous. At 20 years old I am crawling around trying to have some sort independence yet even this simple act is not alway possible. It is so ridiculous that I did not feel cross or upset, all I could do was laugh it all.

Throughout the last year my spasms have shown me just what my body can do, and it amazes me. I often joke that I would make a fantastic acrobat or ballerina. Though the spasms cause pain and pull my muscles, I refuse to let it get me down. Instead I see it as a strange talent that provides entertainment for all.

After all why cry when you can laugh?!

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!

 

A Step In The Right Direction.

Today has been a slightly better day, in comparison to the last 5 or 6. The last couple of days I have been almost unable to even hobble around the house, without one or two members of my family holding my arms, and helping me. Today however was different! My right leg still shook like mad, and my knee still over extended, but I managed to hobble around unsupported. I only managed a short distance, however I am still overjoyed by this as it is a big improvement compared to the last few days.

I am thinking about asking my Occupational Therapist for a walking stick. At 20 years old, I did not expect that I would have to consider this, however if it helps that’s what counts.. My theory is that having a walking stick will either go one of two ways. The first being that it helps me with my balance, so hobbling around the house becomes slightly easier and less dangerous. The second is that with my natural ability to fall over everything and anything, the walking stick will become yet another obstacle for me to try to avoid, yet will still fall over. However I will never know unless I try, and it is not the end of the world if it does not help. Anything is worth a shot at this point.

Tomorrow my new wheelchair is arriving! It is a self propelled one, which will give me some much wanted independence!  I am really rather excited about its arrival and cannot wait to go out in it! It will put my mind at ease as well. When ever I have someone pushing me, I have a mental freak out, I know that they are not going to deliberately through me out of the wheelchair, however I still end up muttering under my breath “stay away from the curb…watch out for the hole” over and over.

My hand also seems a lot better today, I have my fingers crossed that it stays this way. It has improved so much that I did not wear my splint today. This is really positive as I don’t like strapping my hand up, but it helps contain the spasm so I can’t complain.

I have also started to slowly increase my dose of Gabapentin, I am currently taking 1800mg a day and am hoping to get it up to 3600mg a day. As I am finding it to be a very beneficial medication my consultant thought this would be a good idea. I am doing it in steps of 100mg in case I start getting any side effects, that way I know how much my body can handle.

Overall today has been a very positive day and I am hoping that the rest of the week continues to stay positive.

 

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