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

Posts tagged ‘movement disorders’

Another Referrel

Eye-chartSitting back in the upright, green leather chair, I stare straight ahead at the wall with my left eye covered up, where supposedly I should be able to see two rows of letters. I can’t see a thing. Not even there outline. I can see a white blurry box on the wall but that’s about it. The optician is quite frankly horrified at the deterioration of sight in my right eye. It has only been eight months since my last appointment, this dramatic result shocks us both. I thought my glasses prescription just needed a slight tweak. As it turns out new glasses cannot fix this issue. By the end of the examination she murmurs a simple sentence that chills me. “I need to refer you to the hospital, the muscles in your eye are not working properly”. What?! This was meant to be a routine appointment.

I questioned whether it could be my Dystonia, and while it was a possibility, she was not convinced it was. She explained the three different medical specialists I would most likely see at the hospital, the last being a neurologist. It always seems to end up there.Can I just have a new brain? As it always goes with these things it shall most likely be a wait before I am seen. In the meantime the possibility of another intruder controlling my body, my sight, hangs in the air. If it turns out to be Dystonia then other than piling me with more medication there is very little they can do, as they are unable to inject these particular muscles.

Over the years I have always been told that my left eye has compensated for my right. Its doing this now more than ever. With both uncovered I can see, things get blurry now and then but generally I’m okay. Cover up my left eye and the words in front of me are blurry, I cannot even focus on my own hands! It’s times like these that I want to take the faulty parts of my body out, line them up and just yell at them. Realistically I know it’s not going to get me anywhere, I’ve also banned myself from googling my symptoms, I know it will just tell me I’m  going to die, it’s one of the things google does best! I’d rather wait for hopefully a much more optimistic diagnosis from a Doctor.

So I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it’s not the Dystonia, and that it is a condition that they can easily treat! It would make a nice change.

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Top Tips to Beat Cold Induced Spasms

The weather is getting colder and colder each day, and as my little Dystonia alien hates the cold and loves to spasms more I have been investigating different ways to keep myself warm, without looking like a marshmallow. I’m sure many of you know the feeling of when you have so many layers of clothing on, you begin to look less like a human more like a marshmallow. As I know many other Dystonia sufferers find the cold worsens their symptoms I thought I would share with you all my top three products that I have found helpful – and for those of you without Dystonia who are reading this, it may interest you as well, after all everyone likes to keep warm!

1) Tozies – I am one of those people who if my feet are cold the rest of me is cold. My reflexologist recommended I invest in some Tozies. Tozies are slippers which are double fleece layered, and without a hard sole on them. Not having a hard sole means I don’t worry about my spasms bending them out of shape. I have to say these are fantastic, I am actually going to buy a second pair, but this time  a microwavable version for the really cold winter nights that leave you shivering. I wear my Tozies constantly, some nights I even sleep in them, as I find if my feet are toasty warm then the rest of me does not feel as cold. If you want to check them out here is the link to where I purchased mine http://coziewarmers.co.uk/ladies-slippers-shoe-size-3-12-22-c.aspImage

These are my Tozies.

2) Reusable heat pads – are my second favourite method for warming myself up. They are pads with a metal bit in, they come in all shapes, sizes and colors. When you bend the metal an internal chain reaction is set off which warms the pads up and causes them to harden. The warmth lasts for several hours. I have taken to wearing these pads in my shoes under my feet and inside my gloves. To reuse them you simply put them in a pan of hot water for a minute to return them to their original state. It’s a cheap, but effective method.

3) Thermals – Now I know saying wear thermals is an obvious one, but in all honesty how many of you actually remember to put some on under your clothing? I purchased some thermal socks, leggings and vests, and make sure I always have at least one, if not all, of them on. I got my thermals fairly cheaply off marks and spencers (you could probably get them even cheaper if you shopped around). It’s an obvious, but often overlooked, step to keeping warm.

I am always searching for ways to keep warm, to avoid the extra spasms that the winter brings. I hope some of these ideas helps those of you who find the cold causes extra issues.

 

Generosity, Kindness & Fundraising

Several weeks ago, I had the chance to meet some fantastic women at a fundraising event where I gave a talk about Dystonia and life with it. Two of the women – Beth and Sheila – decided to do some of their own fundraising to enable me to get a special bath lift with chest and pelvis harness.

On Saturday I went over to the last event to meet 12 amazing women, who I must say are impressively creative. The had raised an incredible amount of money which will mean I can now have baths and showers safely. In the summer when we went away thanks to a downstairs wheelchair accessible shower as I was able to shower for the first time in a year, and I have been really missing that since.

It is amazing the mental boost a shower or bath can give you. Obviously being clean gives you a boost, but the natural pain relief and relaxing element of hot water is such a fantastic way to get alternative relief to pain.  Currently I use a basin of water, some lovely lavender body wash and a sponge, and whilst I know that I am clean it is not the same cleanliness feeling that a bath or shower gives you. I am so excited to be able to bathe/shower again!

Once I figure out how to get the photos off my phone I shall upload some photos from Saturday. These women were so generous and I feel so privileged to have gotten the chance to meet them!  This is one of those moments when in a way I am glad I am ill as I would have never met such kind wonderful people otherwise.

 

Start of Something New

Happy, on top of the world, ecstatic, over the moon. Put this combination of emotions in to one and that is me now. Today has been a fantastic success. I attended my first day at college and loved every second of it. The lecture today was on Anatomy and Physiology, which was just perfect as I find it an incredibly interesting subject. A lot of what we covered today I had already learned at university so it was a bit like revision, I loved this as I had remembered everything, which enabled me to contribute to the lesson more.

Tomorrow’s lecture is a practical one. This excites me and makes me nervous. I am sure my body shall be fine with it, but as with all things in life you can never be a hundred percent certain especially with Dystonia, hopefully tomorrow’s practical shall put the tiny worries to rest. The four hours tomorrow shall all be practical but from next week onwards the Friday lectures shall be 2 hours practical and 2 hours focusing on business and how to set up your own business. This is fantastic as once qualified I shall be setting up my own business so that I can work from home.

I decided not to attend riding today as my sight has not been great. I have been full of the cold which has caused more spasms. It has particularly been causing an increase in spasms in my eyes. Annoyingly the spasm that has occurred most is the one that causes my eyes to roll up into my head, leaving me blind, the pain of this particular spasm causes me to have a Non Epileptic Seizures most of the time. This happened today at college, thankfully before the lesson started, but reassured me that I was making the right decision not to ride as I would be putting myself and the volunteers at risk. I am looking forward to next weeks session though.

I feel like a ball of positive energy! I am brimming with happiness and full of excitement for tomorrow. Being able to study again is so satisfying and opens many doors for me. In a way I feel normal.

I’m so happy!

 

Blog Birthday!

I have been blogging for a year today! I started my blog to help raise awareness of Dystonia and what it is like to live with it. I was inspired to do this as when I first became ill and got the diagnosis I realised just how unknown this condition is among both the public and the medical society. I decided I wanted to educate as many people as possible about Dystonia, and blogging seemed like the best starting point as society use the internet and social media so much.

Since I started this blog I have had many highs and lows, I have fought to get help, I have had many ambulance trips, and experienced so much more. If you told me a year ago how completely different my life would be as to when I started this blog I would have been adamant about my inability to cope with being in a wheelchair and would have been terrified. Now I admit I have been terrified on many occasions especially when the Dystonia spread through my body, and I don’t like being in a wheelchair, however Dystonia has made me a much stronger person and has inspired me to do my utmost to spread awareness .

I knew when I started this blog that I would have to be extremely honest in everything I wrote and not sugar coat any negative experiences as that would be counterproductive. I have tried my best to write an equal amount of positive and negative posts, however Dystonia is an unpredictable thing and it does not care whether it bring tears to my eyes with laughter or with pain. Many blog posts have been hard to write, such as when writing about my legs being affected by Dystonia I found myself in tears.

Blogging to raise awareness is just the beginning. It has been a flicker of light in the bleak unknown that surrounds the condition but if all of you who read my blog, go on to share it on your Facebook or Twitter etc then that glimpse of light shall slowly become a burning torch, which will enable change to start taking place. Change needs to happen so that Dystonia is no longer a condition hiding in the shadows of its neurological brothers. The more awareness there is, the more help sufferers shall get and the more likely it is that a cure shall be found.

I would like to say big thank-you to my family who have put up with disruptions at all times of the day and night, care for me, support me, and keep me strong. I don’t know how I would cope without you all. An especially big thank-you to my mum, who has been my rock and has put up with my tears and frustration, I love you so much!

I want to also say thank-you to all the sufferers who have supported, given me coping tips and kept me sane! Especially Karen, Shannan, Andrea and Pamela – you guys are amazing!

 

Basking in Positivity

The last few days have been truly fabulous! I got into college to study a Level 3 diploma in reflexology, had a meeting with the learning support team who were completely wonderful about my Dystonia, and today I have been out for lunch with two of my best friends who I had lived with at uni.

My course starts in just under two weeks, and at first will be only be for 3 hours one evening a week and then progressing to each saturday as well when we start working on clients. It is nice to have found something I can be passionate about and to study towards. Being able to study Reflexology is also rather reassuring as I can go on to work from home. I have spent months thinking I would never have a carer, but since taking the antibiotics which have calmed down my Lyme symptoms, I feel empowered and full of hope.

I was thrilled to go out to lunch with my friends this afternoon. Having lived with them at uni, I miss them a lot. I got a taxi up with one of them to the Beefeater, which was a good experience. Normally my mother or a family friend takes me if I’m going  out somewhere, so it has given me confidence knowing that I am able use a taxi service with ease. I felt like a ‘normal’ person and did not feel extremely conscious  like I normally do when in a restaurant.

Having everything go right the last few weeks and has been amazing, I have not had to fight to get what I’m after, which has been a nice change. I feel extremely relaxed. My little Dystonia alien is by no means letting me forget he is there, but I’m giving him no attention and basking in the positivity that is filling my life currently.

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A subtle Reminder

 Today I decided to have a nice long hot bath, as I felt like I had been run over by a truck repeatedly . After managing to bottom bump up the stairs, it was heavenly to be able to relax in the bath. I cannot describe how blissful it was to let my muscles relax in the heat. However it turned out that the relaxation was not to last. Without thinking I poured the shower gel onto my right hand. Immediately my right hand and arm went into a rather painful spasm.

This was rather disappointing, as for the last few weeks my arm and hand have actually behaved rather well (as long as I am not cold), and I had reached a stage where I was not to worried about it if I was indoors. The only reason for my arm and hand going into spasm, which I can think of, is that the coldness of the shower gel on my hand, in comparison to the heat of the bath, set of the Dystonic reaction.

This seemed to then set the tone for the rest of the day. I attempted to get on with the day and relax, however my little Dystonia alien seemed to have other ideas. My leg over the whole day has played up, so I have tried to avoid using it as much as possible. During dinner my arm and hand again went into spasm, after I attempted to pick up my spoon with my right hand. This spasm then went on to last a good 40 or so minutes before relaxing.

However I am trying to think positively as this is the first time in awhile that my right arm and hand have played up. This is a reassuring thought, so I am not panicking to much. Today has reminded me that I cannot take the days when bits of my body behave for granted! I need to value each day of peace, as there is no way of knowing what will happen one day to the next!

 

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!

Fingers crossed

After months of battling with the NHS I have finally received a date for an appointment with a neurologist up in London who specialises in movement disorders such as Dystonia. Im trying not to get my hopes to high as I have met many doctors who just are not able to treat me, but I am hopeful that this doctor shall 🙂 

Finally feel like I am heading in the right direction finally.   

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