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

Posts tagged ‘neurology’

Functional Paralysis = Quality Floor Time

Pain at the moment is my constant companion. After weeks of agonising, seizure inducing pain, and more hospital visits than I care for, I was informed I’d dislocated two ribs. I normally handle dislocation rather well; if my thumbs have popped out, it’s no big deal, I can pop them back in with ease, my jaw causes a fair bit of pain and in some cases I need help relocating it, but the majority of the time I can manipulate it back into place myself. My ribs however are a completely different story, there’s not a lot that can be done about it. I’ve had several medical professionals try and get them as close to where they should be as possible, a tear-jerking process might I add, and every time within hours they are back out of place. Sometime it’s simply because I twisted too fast or I sneezed or, if I’m a real dare devil, I tried to get out of bed. Everyday basic activities cause enough pain for me to be on regular codeine four times a day, and tramadol if I start seizing. The hospital doesn’t know what to do with me at first, they admitted me to: rule out anything more serious such as gallbladder problems; keep a close eye on the baby (who’s coping miraculously well with my faulty body) and keep me on regular doses of paracetamol, codeine and oramorph. Whilst they thankfully didn’t find anything on the scans that needed surgery, they did notice that both my kidneys are distended which won’t be helping my pain.

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Most days I’m a 6. Currently I’m a 9.

Now I’m back at home and it’s hard to know what to do with myself. There are some brief moments in the day when my pain feels manageable, like earlier today. Foolishly this afternoon, I decided to take advantage of feeling okay and fold some baby whilst clothes sitting on the floor. You would think that this is a job that shouldn’t take too long and isn’t exactly taxing, right? Wrong. The pain quickly got extreme enough, despite codeine, for me to realise if I didn’t lie down flat on the floor asap I was going to risk hurting myself as I knew my ability to stay conscious was fading. Whilst being on the floor was enough to keep me conscious for the majority of the time (I’m pretty sure I had 2 or 3 seizures), it wasn’t enough to stop my brain from going into functional paralysis mode. I spent just over an hour unable to move any part of my body, struggling to get my eyelids to flicker and completely unable to make a sound. I knew I needed help and that my partner was in the next room, but I had zero ways of indicating to him that I was in trouble.

It’s like having your mouth gagged, your eyes taped shut, and your entire body rolled up and bound tightly in a weighted blanket; the entire time even your thought processes become sluggish and it takes effort just to think. There’s so much temptation to just give in to unconsciousness, I can feel it on the horizon, creeping closer and there’s not a lot I can do to keep it at bay. Some days I admit I welcome it; being functionally paralysed terrifies me, I can’t bare being aware of how helpless I am at the moment in time. Other days simply managing to remain conscious feels like the biggest victory I could ever ask for and achieving it is my way of fighting back.

After about an hour on the floor I had regained enough control of my body to make small noises and through the blessing that is voice technology instruct my phone to call my partner. Eventually we got tramadol into me and managed to move me to our bed. I’m exhausted, it sounds bizarre but having your brain cut off from the rest of your body is shattering. I’m now curled up, wrapped in a fluffy blanket, relishing in the slightly duller pain. I’m admittedly scared to even consider moving but the pain killers have enabled me to feel my body and I’m in a safe place which is all I can ask for.

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Dystonia and Pregnancy So Far

Each of my conditions have reacted differently to my pregnancy and some new complications with my body have also arisen. So I’ve decided to incorporate these experiences into my blog with each condition being addressed in its own post as they are all unique and confusing in their own way.

At four weeks, pregnant my neurologist told me I needed to come off all of my medication due to the risks they presented to the baby as he developed. At that time, I was having six weekly Botox injections to my eyes, jaw, neck, and left shoulder, and I was on a range of oral medications including Gabapentin, Tramadol, Cetirizine, Topiramate, Dantrolene and more. My dosage for each of these medications were not particularly low which meant coming off them was a bit a of worry, luckily only the Gabapentin caused withdrawal symptoms (something I knew to expect after having the dosage adjusted several times over the years). I’m not sure if you’ve experienced withdrawal from Gabapentin, so picture uncontrollable weepiness because a cloud looks so beautiful, paranoia to the point you’re convinced that the shadow of the tree you just walked past is going to murder you and hideous night sweats. It’s not a walk in the park by any means but thankfully these symptoms didn’t last too long.

My main concern was how I would cope without Botox and my muscle relaxant Dantrolene. Over the last four and a half years I have been reliant on my six weekly Botox to keep me resembling an almost functional person, and Dantrolene was the only muscle relaxant that I found effective and can stay awake on for more than 5 minutes at a time. After expressing my concerns to my neuro he reassured me that I may not find these 9 months as terrifying as I expected, as some women reported experiencing an improvement in their symptoms in pregnancy. I wanted to believe him badly, any improvement I would take in a heartbeat, but at the same time I found it extremely hard to believe that something as natural as pregnancy could offer me an improvement that medication was unable to provide. Now I bow down to the wonder that is pregnancy, I’m currently almost 6 months’ pregnant and unbelievably my Dystonia isn’t too bad.

For the first 12ish weeks I only had minor symptoms, which was a relief as my severe morning sickness (I was diagnosed with Hyperemesis Gravidarum) meant that I wasn’t by any means well enough to cope with any severe spasms. By week 14 however I was admitted to hospital after spending 24 hours with my jaw dislocated and in spasm, unable to eat or drink. In the end, I was in the hospital for a week whilst they attempted to figure out what to do with me; without fail several times a day a Dr would look at me and be shocked that my jaw was still dislocated. I think my let’s laugh through the pain attitude confused them further. Eventually, after my midwife got involved and advocated on my behalf (amazing woman!) my neuro agreed to administer botox to my jaw and restart me on a small dose of Gabapentin, which has allowed me to remain fairly normal with the exception of the odd spasm; but I’ll take the odd daily spasm over an agonising spasm that refuses completely to go away.

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Late November, day 5 in the hospital after being moved to maternity high dependency unit

Whilst my Dystonia is without a doubt very much present still, as it likes to remind me by leaving me functionally blind or distorting my jaw, I’m coping far better than I had ever imagined. I had truly expected to spend my pregnancy bed bound in hospital stuck on a feeding tube with irritable limbs, the fact that this hasn’t (touch wood) materialised feels like a miracle, especially as a feeding tube was at the start debated. If it could just stay like this for the remainder of the pregnancy I’ll thank my lucky stars.

Orthotics, and Neurology Consultation

Last Friday I attended my rescheduled Orthotics appointment. I was unsure whether there was anything they would be able to but my worries turned out to unfounded. The decision was made that no permanent alterations would be made over the christmas period as that would involve my splint being taken away. Instead elastic type material (but not as stretchy) was attached in a figure of 8 pattern to my splint over my ankle area, my normal velcro strap then went over this to reinforce it. If this design manages to hold my foot in place then my splint will be sent off to have these made permanent. At the moment it is looking positive and doing its job.

Yesterday I went up to London to see my Neurologist. He gave me my usual six injections, which have such a fantastic result. After showing him a photo of my foot in spasm that I took the other day, he has offered to next time administer some Botox injections to my calf and foot. I would be very interested to hear from anybody who has received injections at these sites!

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I am still taking medication to treat Chronic Neurological Lyme Disease, since I started these medications around six months ago I have had amazing progress in areas affected by it. So much so that my neurologist even remarked how happy and amazed he was to see the improvements. I am still, with the support of my neurologist, battling to receive IV treatment for Lyme Disease which will hopefully get rid of anything the Oral antibiotics have missed.

Everything seems to be quiet calm for once. Now that the Botox controls my most painful spasms I have been able to reduce the amount of painkillers and muscle relaxants I take. This has resulted in me feeling much more with it and my brain feels less foggy. It all seems to be calming down just in time for Christmas and my Birthday, which is perfect!

 

The Battle Against My Neurological Demons!

Today has involved yet another fierce battle against my Dystonia and my Non Epileptic Seizures. A battle which is still yet to be won. I try to defend myself against my neurological demons by sitting up as slowly as possible  attempting to use distraction techniques as I attempt each task, but so far my neurological demons are one step ahead of me, constantly ready to launch their next attack on my body.

I am spending most the day in bed at the moment, to recover from Tuesdays incident. Just to get up to go to the toilet is almost impossible. 9 out 10 times just by sitting up a seizure will happen, this then means I have to try to sit up again, which is rather painful due to the sprains and soft tissue damage caused by Tuesdays fall and seizures. Once I have won the battle to get up, my mother and one of my siblings have to help me walk to the toilet and back. This can take a long time in itself as if I collapse and seize on the way there, I find it extremely hard and painful to get back up.

We  are still unsure of how many seizures I am having, as some of them I am completely unaware of. My body hurts a lot but my head is the worst. I feel dizzy often and have a constant feeling of there being too much pressure in my head. I feel like someone needs to put a needle into my head and drain out whatever is causing it. It is a rather painful feeling.

This battle for control is very physically and emotionally draining. I desperately want back the control of my body, but my Neurological demons seem to have other plans for me at the moment. I am hoping that my consultant (when he bothers to get back to us) will be able to provide us with some advice.

 

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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