I have put off writing this blog post for a few weeks now. Not because I didn’t want to be open about what I’m currently experiencing, but because putting it all down into words makes it all very real and I am finding it extremely hard to deal with. As I have mentioned before the doctors believe my Dystonia is caused by damage to my brain by Lyme Disease. I contracted Lyme Disease when I was six and have been on oral antibiotics for it since May last year.
A couple of weeks of a go I finished the last of my oral antibiotics. Although I had been told that realistically I needed IV antibiotics to cure my neurological Lyme disease, I had hoped that a year on oral ones may have been enough. Unfortunately it had not been and over the last few weeks my hand spasms, back spasms, vocal tics, fatigue, on/off functional paralysis etc have all come back. I have been coping with this the best I can, its been coming back slowly so I have had a chance to ‘adjust’. However now and then spasms will happen and I will have a bit off an emotional wobble. I cannot write anymore, I struggle to do my make-up, getting dressed has always been hard due to my Dystonia but throw in Lyme Disease and it takes most the morning to accomplish on a bad day. Yesterday I was just trying to pay for an item in a shop and my hand spasmed around the card reader, I could not let go. My friend had to try to yank my hand off it whilst the till worker pulled the reader out. I was mortified!
Yesterday I visited my GP who does not believe in Chronic Lyme, my mother and I went prepared to do battle. He is normally very dismissive of anything to do with Lyme Disease and had previously said to me that even if my symptoms came back he would not be willing to prescribe me anymore antibiotics. Thankfully he seems to have had a slight change of mind and has give me 2 more months worth. In this 2 month slot I have an appointment at a private hospital that are known to treat Lyme Disease, I am hoping that they will be willing to give me the IV antibiotics that I need to cure me. I am not sure how likely it is that I will get anymore antibiotics off my GP after this 2 month supply runs out. I started them today, and should hopefully see an improvement in the next few weeks. For now I am keeping my fingers crossed that this private hospital pulls through!
On a much more positive note I had my Botox injections last week for my Dystonia which means my jaw and neck will be in place whilst I am on holiday!
Today I went up to London for an appointment with my neurologist. It went fantastically well. This was only the second time he has seen me with my jaw not in spasm, the last time was our first meeting last October, and he seemed very happy that I was not in agony this time. As usual I went armed with some ideas/questions that I wanted to discuss with him.
He brought up the fact that I had seen the infectious disease doctor the other week, and said that he was happy for me not to have the blood tests and lumbar puncture, but would arrange it if I decided I wanted it, and he was happy for me to get my gp to arrange for me to have 2-4 weeks of IV antibiotics. I am thrilled at this, as it was not a conversation I expected to have with him and it went completely in my favour. I have been on oral antibiotics for several months now, and adding IV antibiotics into the equation should hopefully get rid of whatever Lyme is left.
I had my usual injections in my neck and jaw, however after discussing the ongoing issue of my glasses setting off more eye spasms he decided to inject Botox around my eyes to see if this helps improve things. I am really hoping this helps as I am meant to wear my glasses for pretty much everything, so for a fair while now I have dealt with everything being rather blurry.
I brought up with my consultant that I would like to have CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) to help me manage my pain triggered Non Epileptic Seizures and neuro-physiotherapy to see if that will help me with my spasms. He was great with this and agreed both would be a good idea and that if I went through my GP I would be able to have it done locally. He has also offered to speak to the neuro-physiotherapist, when I get assigned one, about my condition so that the physiotherapist understands it better and therefore can treat me appropriately.
Overall I am completely over the moon with how well the appointment went, and have left with a date in hand for my next lot of injections in six weeks time.
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.