Fighting Dystonia, Chronic Lyme, EDS Type 2 & more… any questions?

Posts tagged ‘life’

Positive Neurology Appointment

On Tuesday I went up to London to see my lovely neurologist. It was overall an extremely positive appointment. I was very much in need of my Botox injections as in the days leading up to it my Jaw spasms were back. I had my usual six injections (eyes, jaw and neck) and then two my calf. We are hoping that injecting Botox in my calf will prevent the spasms that cause my feet to turn upside down.

I like to keep myself busy, but my neuro has really stressed to me that this is something that has to take a step back for now. I need to slow down, and do less than what I am doing. Doing too much puts me at risk of running myself down and making my condition worse. This is not the first time I’ve been told this but I am really going to try to work on in this now. I don’t want to put myself backwards, I want to keep going forwards and if slowing down is what it takes then I’m going to make a conscious effort to do so.

I’m not seeing him again until the 18th March, which is 7 weeks from when I saw him on Tuesday. I would normally see him every 6 weeks for my injections but there was no clinic on the 11th. This concerns me slightly as the spasms in my jaw tend to come back around week 5, and I don’t want the pain causing a seizure or interrupting my college commitments. However I have not had a seizure in a while so I am hoping that if I fill myself up with painkillers then I should be fine.

This weekend, I went out and saw friends. Now it was just at a mates house watching movies with them all, so I’m hoping this doesn’t count as overdoing it!? It was so great to sit back and have a laugh, and just feel like me again! I can do a lot more now in comparison to a year ago, but activities like yesterday make me feel like I am still in there somewhere, Dystonia and Lyme Disease have not truly taken over.

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Pain Free Celebrations

Todays blog is only a quick one, but I just want to start it by saying I hope you have all had a fabulous Christmas. I have been extremely lucky and spent this Christmas and my 21st Birthday seizure free and with only a handful of spasms! I feel very blessed to have been able to spend both occasions in very little pain, especially as pain is 99% of the time my constant companion.

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Over the Christmas period I have felt the best I have in a long time. Between regular Botox injections for my Dystonia, antibiotics for my Chronic Lyme, and all the other meds thrown in, I have managed to reach an incredibly happy place. I have managed to reach a place where I am not scared to chew my food incase my jaw tremors, where I can speak clearly, where I can brush my hair without the brush getting stuck in my hand. I am in such a different place to where I was last year and I am so unbelievably happy.

Thinking back to last year, and then looking forward to the upcoming year I am filled with hope. So much has changed for the better this last year, and I hope it continues in this way. This time last year I had hoped that I would eventually learn to live with this condition, and in the space of a year I have learned to live with it, and tricks to sneak around it (the power of hot water bottles), I have learned that no matter how hideous things may seem it does get better, that I can have a life.  I have learnt so much, and I am sure I will learn more. In between kicking my Dystonia Aliens butt I plan on having as much as fun as possible.

Incase I don’t have time to blog again beforehand (I’m fantastically busy at the moment :-D) I wish you all a fantastic New Year full of joy.

 

Taking back control

As you will know from my previous blog post a couple of days ago I was withdrawn from university after being on sick leave for a year because of my Dystonia. I had a few days of “why me” and “I want to go back to placement” before I actually sat down and thought this is not the end of the world, I refuse to do nothing, what can I realistically do now.  So I had a look at my local colleges and what they offered, to see if I could find anything that interests me. I had been toying with the idea of going into reflexology for a while now and discovered that one of the colleges near me offers it. As my hands are behaving very well at the moment, I have taken a leap of faith and applied for the course. I am waiting to hear now if I have an interview or not. Not only will I be able to study if I get place but it will be a great chance for me to meet new people.

On holiday we discovered that my ability to go out and about had grown, so I was able to do much more than I was used to. Since coming home I have made a conscious effort to try to maintain this new tolerance level. I have managed to come through and spend some time in the living room and eat with my family in the dining room etc often, which is a huge improvement to before where I spent the majority of my time in my room. I even made it to Church today.

I have reached a point now where I am finishing a chapter and starting a new one so to speak. I have spent the last year hoping that some cure would magically be found and that this september I would be back at uni. Now that the reality has hit, I am closing that chapter an opening a new one that is full of possibilities. Maybe I shall get on to this reflexology course, maybe I won’t, who knows where I will end up.

Dystonia has been controlling my life now for long enough. I acknowledge that it’s always going to be apart of me, but I control my own life and I’m taking back the reins. I just need to know my body’s boundaries and respect them, so that I can start living my life again.

 

Life Is What You Make it

When I first got ill last summer I thought it was the end of the world, life as I knew it was over. What I should have thought is that my life is a bit like a snow globe and someone simply tipped  it upside down and gave it a good shake and that eventually everything would settle into the right place. Now it may have taken a while but everything is beginning to settle for example why I still hate Dystonia and battle against it, I also embrace the opportunity it gives me to make a difference.

This last week has been extremely busy. Something I am not used to and left me feeling exhausted and wiped out yesterday. I was also overjoyed. I had been busy, and not just in lots of hospital appointments kind of way but in a social interactive enjoyment filled way. It’s like a distorted mirror image of what my life was like previously and you know what I am happy with it!

I may moan that I don’t like what Dystonia does and that I hate the lack of control I have, but at the end of the day I am happy. Compared to a lot of people I have an amazing life. I am surrounded by loving people all wanting to help me, and I am so thankful for them.

This morning I had a fantastic long catch up with a good friend from school who I had not seen in awhile. It was great and it felt just like old times. This evening a lovely friend I lived with at uni is coming round for a cheeky chinese. I am able to be sociable and have a social life, and I am embracing every second of it. I have even started dating, something I thought would not happen for years.

I am doing things I thought I would never do again, that Dystonia had ruined. Now I realise Dystonia never ruined anything, it restricted me and all I needed to do was find the courage in myself to fight back and find ways to get my life back on track.

My life is my own, no matter how much my little alien tries to interfere, it is mine and mine alone.

 

A Fairly Positive Week

I have had some really positive moments this week! On Tuesday I had a meeting with a woman who works for a service called Cross Roads. Their service provides a range of support. On a Thursday morning, starting in a few weeks time, a guy is going to come over to care for me for a few hours. This means that my mum and stepdad will get a break from caring for me, instead this guy will socialise with me and help me with my meds etc. Not only will this give my parents a much needed break but it will be great for me to socialise with someone who’s around my own age. I am really looking forward to this starting.

My Jaw and neck spasms are rather bad at the moment. I am doing my best to try to ignore them but it is a bit had to ignore the spasms when your head is completely lopsided and your jaw is pushed right across. We contacted my consultant a couple of weeks ago asking to be booked in for Botox treatment, but as has been the case for over 2 months now, he has still not replied to any of our emails. We are going to phone his secretary tomorrow to ask her to chase him, however she never sees the consultants she works for and can only email them, so I am not sure how much she can do for me.

Yesterday and today have been amazing. Yesterday I had another fantastic session with my personal trainer that left me exhausted but extremely happy! I just love my Wednesday sessions. Today I went up to the stables and had a wonderful RDA riding lesson. I rode Nelly again, she is such a beautiful horse and fantastic to ride. She is slightly more challenging to ride than Connie but I love this as it allows me to work on and develop my skills more! Being around horses and riding puts me on such a high, if I did not have to dismount at the end of the lesson I would stay on the horse for hours! Riding is pure bliss!

As many of you know I took part in several fund-raising activities to raise money for the Dystonia Society and ended up raising more than £800!! Last week I had an email from the Dystonia Society saying that I was their fund-raiser of the month. If you would like to check out my interview please click on the following link http://www.dystonia.org.uk/index.php/component/content/article/5-get-involved/370-fundraiser-of-the-month

 

Stimulant Experiment Results

As many of you will know, around a month ago I attempted to cut all stimulants out of my diet to see if it would have any impact on my tremors. Over the last week I have slowly introduced stimulants in low quantity’s back into my diet to see if there would be a noticeable difference in my body.

The results from my little experiment were extremely interesting. Whilst cutting out the stimulants did not stop my tremors it reduced them greatly, I would say it almost halved the number of tremors I have in a day. When I reintroduced the stimulants back into my diet this week, the number of tremors I have been having shot back up! I was careful to only consume a small quantity of stimulants just in-case it caused an increase, I did not expect this small amount to have such a big impact!

It is interesting to know that stimulants do actually have a physical impact on my Dystonia. Now that I know just how much of an impact it has on my symptoms I am going to make sure that I avoid stimulants as much as possible.

I find knowing that it impacts me to be a comforting thought, as it means that by avoiding consuming stimulants as much as possible, then to a degree, I have control over the severity and frequency of my tremors. It gives me hope that there are natural ways to control and treat this condition along side medication.

I am going to do more research into foods that can impact Dystonia to see if I can find anything else that I may benefit from cutting out of my diet.

 

Inquisitive Nature

Two of the most common questions people ask each and every day are how and why. Why do people get ill? How do we know that colour is actually green? Why is it always me? How does this work? Sometime we are not seeking an answer when we ask these question and the question has been asked in rhetorical way e.g why me. However the majority of the time we are seeking an answer. As humans, like the majority of animals, our own nature makes us inquisitive, we like to know the ins and outs of everything and anything, but if you put us in a situation when we cannot find an answer, well then we become fixated.

Which is exactly what is happening to me now. I am completely fixated on what caused my Dystonia, what turned my whole world upside down gave it a good shake and then righted it with all the pieces jumbled up! The logical side of me knows that the chances of me finding out why is extremely small, yet still I try to work it out. I sift through pages and pages of information grasping at any small shred that could contain the answer I’ve been looking for.

No matter how often I tell myself that an answer is not going to make much of a difference, I still continue my search. I am almost amused at myself for how desperate I am for an answer. For even when I find the answer, other than it giving me some piece of mind, it is not going to change much.  However until the doctors agree to help me, I know that I shall keep looking, so that if the day comes when there is no answer, I can sit back and think well at least I tried.

For now though I am going to try to reign in my inquisitive self, and remind myself to spend less time looking for something I may never find and more time enjoying the wonders around me.

Struggles develop strength!

I have recently noticed that in life we underestimate our own strength and the strength of others. If you had told me two years ago that I was going to rely on a wheelchair, have seizures and suffer from agonising spasms every day, I would have told you that there was no way on earth I could deal with that. I also would have been terrified about the impact it would have on my family, my mum works full-time and studies for a degree, my step dad works full-time, my youngest sister is about to start her GCSE’s, my brother is just about to do his last GCSE’s exams and my other sister is just about to start her last A level exams, none of them would need me causing problems.

However now we are living that reality and strangely we are managing to cope. It is extremely hard and some days I have no idea how we are managing to deal with it all, but at the end of the day it does not matter how we are dealing with it, the fact that we are somehow coping is all that matters. I often feel like we are treading water and that at any minute something could go wrong, but it doesn’t.  Yes we have the odd incidence that knocks us back but as a family we support one another and that is what keeps us afloat.

There have been many evenings where my youngest sister, who is 14, has sat on my bed supporting my head and making sure that I don’t hurt myself while I seize or spasm. This sometimes upsets me because my 14-year-old sister should not be taking care of me, I should be taking care of her! Yet she is amazing and has the strength to do this, and she makes me laugh when ever I regain consciousness. My other sister and my brother have both also helped me on countless occasions. They are 16 and 18, again I want to look after them, however that’s not the reality right now.

The strength of my family amazes me everyday. Take this morning for example, I spent an hour and a half seizing and spasming on the kitchen floor, my mum also spent that time on the floor making sure I didn’t hurt myself. The rest of my family helped out, and then went around their own business like it was completely normal. I am so happy that incidences like this can be treated as normal as it takes away the ‘scary’ aspects of it.

I can’t imagine having to fight Dystonia on my own, and I am in awe of the people who do so everyday! Everything I have gone through over the last 10 months has been made so much easier by my family, I am so thankful that I have such strong, caring people in my life.

You never really know how strong you are until life decides to test you. A lesson I have learned from Dystonia is  never to doubt your inner strength, leap at every opportunity and fight with all your might every day. If you doubt yourself and back out you will never know what you are capable of doing. So embrace life and leap through every open door.

 

Life is a Lottery

I love this quote, and for me it rings true, I may only be at the beginning of my storm but I am already a stronger person for it. It can be applied to anyone and everyone as we each go through our own ‘storms’ at different times in our lives. The struggles we experience, no matter how big or small they are, change us. They allow us to develop and change so that we are stronger, so that we can carry on with our heads held high, it gives us the knowledge that no matter what life throws at us we can and we will beat it every time.

In life people always ask themselves ‘why me?’ or ‘why now?’, next time you feel like asking those questions stop and breath, understand that those questions will not solve anything. You just need to battle your way through to the other side of the storm. It will be hard, but if you give up, you won’t see the wonders that are waiting for you on the other side.

Life is truly a lottery, some of us soar through life with ease and others battle endlessly. However at the end of the day, what will be will be. All you can do is battle on with the knowledge that you are fighting for a reason, that things will get better, and you will conquer every storm life throws at you.

Dystonia: Its a bit of a roller-coaster, would you scream or enjoy the ride?

In life everyone has their own hopes, dreams, demons and struggles. We each suffer and achieve in situations others would not. None of us, are the same, yet we all judge each other and ourselves harshly.  As a society we are very quick to overlook all the positive and beautiful things that surround us, we focus intently on negativity like vultures. If you are not careful, the pessimistic world that we live in can appear suffocating.

Yesterday I decided that I felt well enough to push myself around a Garden centre that we visited. I was over-joyed that I was pushing myself for so long without setting off a spasm in my hands. I even managed to push myself up a slope for the first time. Now I know that does not sound impressive but it was a fantastic achievement for me, that I am very proud of. It took me a good minute to get myself up it, but I did it myself without any help!  I was having a great time,  and even had a sense of freedom due to pushing myself. However a handful of people who I came across that day, did not see the girl achieving her goals and enjoying a new sense of freedom, they saw someone who was slowing them down, a few tutted or stared as they paused to let me pass. Now I just smiled sweetly each time, as I was having too much fun to pause and give them a lecture on Dystonia. I wish those people had taken the seconds that it took me to wheel myself past them to appreciate some part of life instead of focusing on a negative, we were in a garden centre, a place where they could have easily focused on the beauty of nature.

Dystonia, like life, is one giant roller-coaster that will take you from feeling on top of the world to rock bottom in a number of seconds. You can choose to become a vulture like the majority of society, feed off endless negativity and suffocated in it. Or you can choose to accept there are days when you’re not going to be on top of the world and things will look bleak, but you can still take the time to appreciate what you have in life. I could very easily roll over and feel sorry myself, and stop trying to defeat this hideous illness. Instead I fight day and night against Dystonia, I try my best to be optimistic (though some days I can be a bit grumpy), I appreciate everything this illness has done for me e.g brought me closer to my family, showed me friends in the unlikely places and much more.

Dystonia is a challenge, and I plan on enjoying every little achievement I make. Small steps can lead to big things, who knows where I’ll end up.

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