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

Posts tagged ‘neurological conditions’

Trainwreck Neurology Appointment

Yesterdays appointment with my new neurologist was pretty awful. Check out my VLOG from this morning to find out what happened

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Adjusting to Dystonia

When you become ill with Dystonia there are a lot of changes you have to make to your life. Mentally you often feel like you can still go out for that morning run, or dance the night away with your mates. The reality is extremely different. No two days are the same and spasms can cause simple daily tasks such as getting dressed to take hours upon hours.

Whenever I visit my Neurologist or my GP they both tell me to slow my life down and take things easy so as to give my body a bit of a break. They have been giving me this same piece of advice for over two years now. I know I should take their advice on board. After all they would not repeatedly tell me it if it was not necessary, however I find that I feel so determined/ stubborn to live as normal a life as possible that taking it easy just doesn’t seem to feel right.

I know that realistically my body would most likely thank me if I started taking it easy more often. Pushing the boundaries over and over only results in pain, I know that. However there is some small part of me that each time hopes that this will be the time I will achieve just that bit more. Instead my body goes in to hideous spasms that I have too spend a few days recovering from each time.

I think adjusting your life after diagnosis is one of the hardest parts of the illness. It’s not just your work life, but also your family and social life that are impacted. Having to explain to people that you yet again cannot do something because of Dystonia is incredibly disheartening, it helps if you are surrounded by people who understand and support you. At times it is not the spasms that prevents you from taking part but the fatigue from the treatment. I find the medication leaves me half asleep, which in turn impacts every aspect of life.

I have been living and adapting to the condition for around two and a half years now. I’m not sure if you can ever really adjust to it. I don’t plan on ever slowing down. I enjoy my life too much. I believe the best way to cope with this hideous condition is to take each minute as it comes.

To find out more about how my Dystonia started check out my VLOG https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HV_L-9vCGPw&feature=autoshare

Dream A New Dream

Today’s blog post shall be brief as I have been up to London for my Neurology appointment and am now very tired. My Neurologist was quiet apologetic and concerned that the last lot of injections had not worked, which left me with my normal extreme spasms. Apparently this sometimes does just happen for whatever reason, but to be on the safe side in the hope that this will work better, he upped the amount he was injecting everywhere. This has reassured me and helped to quell my fears that this batch of my injections may not work. I am now feeling decidedly more positive about it.

He confirmed the Hand Therapy’s diagnosis that the Dystonia is in my hand as well. However my symptoms in my hand are nowhere near as severe as the symptoms in my neck, jaw and eyes which is very positive. He stressed it was important not to aggravate it, I’m guessing this means I really need to learn how to walk without tripping over my own two feet…or my walking stick! This once again throws my Midwifery dreams out the window. I’m starting to realise that until a Neurologist hands me a pill and says this will cure you that I need to find a new dream. Now that’s not to say that I’m giving up on it, it’s more like putting it to bed for a long sleep until/if it becomes a realistic option again. I left university in the summer of 2012 on health grounds and for the last two and a half years I have built my Midwifery hopes and dreams up only to have them go up in flames around me more times than I can count. For my sanity I need to take a break from the emotional rollercoaster ride that that dream has taken me on. My year of training was the best experience of my life and I treasure it and for now that will do.

My reflexology career has now also been put on hold due to the hand Dystonia. Whilst my neurologist said he didn’t mind me doing the odd bit of Reflexology work, I have to be careful not to overdo it. I have always loved reading and writing. I can get lost in books for hours on end and will happily write all day. There are plenty of degrees out there in Creative Writing and Publishing, perhaps I shall discover a new dream down that road. For now though I must put my love of reading into action and brush up on information on another genetic condition I have been diagnosed with. I’ll fill you in on this new diagnosis next time.

 

Peace of Mind

The last several days have been very busy and very positive.  I finally feel that I am getting things in place that I need and have an aspect of control. As I have little control over parts of my body, having control over some aspects of my life is very satisfying and makes up for my Dystonia alien crazy ways.

This coming Monday I am going to my local hospital for an appointment with the Orthotic department. My splints have served me well over the last few months, however as it has gotten  colder my spasms in my legs have gotten worse. My right leg spasms so strongly that it often manages to escape my splints. I am hoping Orthotics may have an idea of what they could do to help. If not I have some images of some splints that I think may be able to contain my legs. It would mean having a solid front section to the splint as well as a solid back, this I think would work well as it would be a lot harder for my leg to break through. I’m looking forward to hearing their ideas.

When the Dystonia hit my legs I was given your standard NHS wheelchair – lets describe it as sturdy. My poor mother struggles to lift it in and out the car, and watching my friends lift it makes me feel awful. Recently however the functional paralysis that I experience on and off has meant that my wheelchair needs some extras added to it but this is not something that is possible. This has meant that  when I have an episode of paralysis affecting my back I have ended up flopping half out the wheelchair and being stuck till it comes back.

So after a couple of weeks of pointing this out repeatedly to the NHS Wheelchair service I am now being reassessed to see if I qualify for a voucher that would enable a chair to be customized for me.  Even better news is that the even with all the extra things added to it the chair will still be much lighter than my current one.

Knowing that my splint and wheelchair issues are going to be dealt with has given me such peace of mind and enabled me to relax. They are such small issues but in the long run have a big impact so having the two solved will make a big difference.

Last Saturday I attended a bring and buy sale at my local Church. One of the stalls was raising money for The Dystonia Society. In the end just over a £100 was raised, which is incredible. I would just like to say a huge thank-you to everyone involved.

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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.

 

Fantastic Neurology Appointment

This afternoon I was up in London seeing my lovely neurologist. As usual I went armed with lots of questions. I feel very blessed that I see such a lovely man, who listens to everything I have to say. His manner is very calming, I hate needles, but his calm attitude puts me at complete ease, I would never let anyone else stick so many injections in me. I was excited to see him and to show him how much progress I have made with creating my life around my symptoms.

We went through all my queries before my injections and he was so helpful with each one. He is going to write to my GP explaining that I need the IV antibiotics for Lyme Disease, I am relieved he has agreed to do this as it means I do not have to argue with my GP about it. I have a severe intolerance to Lactose, which unfortunately all but one of medications contain. At first this was fine as my body was coping with the small amount, but now that it has slowly built up in system my body is reacting and is making my other medical conditions, e.g IBS, worse. The most annoying issue with it is that no matter how much time I sleep for I wake up feeling like I never went to sleep and I find it hard to keep going in the days, my neurologist has offered to get the pharmacy at the hospital to look into alternatives for me. This would make such a big difference. We have also juggled around my next two appointment to make sure that my jaw is in working order for Christmas and my 21st birthday.

We spoke about my functional paralysis and agreed that in a way it was positive as it was less disruptive to life, although it is not ideal. There is not much I can do other than take pain killers and try to stimulate the part that is paralysed in attempt to disrupt the incorrect signals that are being sent – this has not worked yet but I shall keep trying. I had my eyes, jaw and neck injected with Botox so my spasms shall continue to my kept in check and my jaw tremor should soon settle down for a few weeks.

It was a fantastic appointment. I am truly blessed to have such a wonderful neurologist looking after me.

 

 

A change in Tactic

So my body seems to have decided to change its tactic. Normally when I am in a lot of pain I have a Non Epileptic Seizure. The last two weeks or so my body has disconnected from certain parts of me or all of me, leaving me functionally paralysed. I have had a handful of seizures as well but the functional paralysis does seem to be my body’s main coping mechanism now.

I am in two minds about this change. On one hand I am happy that there has been a decrease of seizures, as it means I am conscious more often, not forgetting hours either way of the seizures etc. On the other hand the functional paralysis can be rather scary. The first time it really hit me I lost the connection to the lower half of my face for 7 hours. A big part of me knew it was just my body coping with pain, but a small part of me was terrified that something worse was at play such as a stroke. When the functional paralysis comes out to play I either disconnect for one to two minutes or I disconnect for hours. There is no middle ground.

As I type my right foot is in spasm. It felt like the force of the spasm was trying to break my big toe. I was in a lot of pain and was beginning to think that I should be sensible and shimmy down the bed a bit so that I did not hurt myself if I ended up having a seizure. However instead of seizing both my legs ended up functionally paralysed despite my left leg having no spasm in it at the time.

I am seeing my neurologist on Tuesday for my injections and a chat, so am going to add functional paralysis to my list of questions. I’m not sure if there is anything he can suggest to help but he may be able to advise something. I think I prefer my body coping this way but at the same time it scares me slightly.

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!

 

Finding My Feet

So after a few days of feeling a bit rough due to a viral infection, I am finally feeling more myself. I try to avoid picking up any illness as much as possible as when I get a bug my Dystonia acts up. It is like my little Dystonia alien waits until I’m feeling under whether to kick it up a few notches and go “Haha, so you want to rest? Well I’m going to distort both your legs, try to rest now!”. My alien really is a pain.

I finally feel like I am beginning to find my feet and learn to live life alongside Dystonia. I have accepted that I can’t live life with it in the background because it disrupts things too much, but I can live alongside it, and ignore it as much as I can. I kept my life on hold for a year, and now I’ve taken it off pause and from next Thursday I am shall be studying again.

In life people define themselves by their achievements and what they have done. I was considering this the other day and trying to figure out what I would define myself as/by. My thoughts flicked from Dystonia advocate, fundraiser, Author (My novel is almost finished), and reflexologist (when I qualify). It took awhile before I realised I didn’t have to choose just one, I can choose them all, as each one of them makes me proud. This last year I could have sat at home feeling sorry for myself doing nothing, instead I decided to try to educate the world on Dystonia – an ongoing task, fundraising for The Dystonia Society (I have raised over £1000 so far), started and almost finished my first novel, and found myself a new career path. I am proud of me!

Tomorrow I am attending a craft fair, where half of what is raised will be given to a Dystonia charity. I am rather looking forward to this. I like to Crochet so it shall be interesting to browse whilst helping raise awareness for Dystonia.

I saw this quote below, which has been taken from one of my favourite Disney films. For me it rings true. The path I am now on is by no means easy, and I struggle often, however it will lead me to where I need to be.

 

Video

Jaw tremor

A few days ago my jaw tremor returned, it is an on/off tremor at the moment and the more I use my jaw the more it tremors. I am using a baby teething dummy to protect my teeth and tongue, however the pain it triggers when the tremor causes my bottom teeth to bang against the tooth it has loosened on my upper row of teeth or my tongue often triggers off a seizure.

As you can see from the video, it is not to extreme yet, so the Botox must still have some sort of hold over it, but not much. I cannot wait for Tuesday when I see my neurologist for more injections.

 

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