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

Posts tagged ‘positivity’

5th Blog Birthday

Happy Birthday Dystonia and Me!

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Can you believe it’s been 5 years of blogging already? I can’t quite wrap my head around how quickly this has come around. It feels like just last week, I searched for a webhost desperate to spread awareness of Dystonia after feeling like I was floundering in a sea of uncertainty with little resources to pursue in my quest for answers. Now I confidently tackle my condition head on and happily refer people to resources  I have come  to know and trust.

When I started blogging it was completely in the mindset that it would be purely to raise awareness. Over the last 5 years this has evolved to be a space where I can openly and honestly express myself without fear, safe in the knowledge that someone out in the vast vacuum of the web will be able to relate to what I am going through. My blog has become a site for awareness, expression and connection; I cannot get over how many online friends  I have made. Whilst I am sad that so many of you have to live with this life altering condition, I am thankful for each one of you that has become a vital part of my day to day support network.

Over the last few years this blog has been nominated on several occasions for awards, won one, and even become a resource that several neurologists hand out when diagnosing new patients (this still flatters, astounds and thrills me). I’ve had other sufferers pounce on me with hugs and their stories at hospitals; I love this, it shows me that I am doing something right.

Just a few years ago, reaching this milestone seemed ridiculous. I didn’t know how to live each day let alone 5 years with this hideous condition. Now, several diagnoses later, I have learned to find joy and laughter in my spasms, to treasure every moment that puts a smile on my face and be thankful that drs like my neurologist exist, for without my neuro my world would be darker (literally). So instead of being disheartened that 5 years on I’m still battling, I’m lifting my chin, defying my alien and celebrating each little success.

Here’s to another 5 years.

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Chair…Twitch…Floor

When ill with any condition it can become very easy to allow yourself to be wrapped up in the negativity of it all. Recently I slipped, I fell off the positivity bandwagon if you will. I don’t think this slip is necessarily a bad thing. After all it is only natural that in life we have our highs and lows. Ironically it was Dystonia that reminded me to try and see the positive that does exist within and around the condition again.

My left arm and shoulder spasms/twitches rather violently, flinging itself out to the side. I always hope silently whenever this happens that nobody is within hitting range. I have had one to many awkward apology conversations following such a spasm. It was following a rather forceful one in a hospital Costa last week that I found myself out of my chair and on the floor, slightly stunned, sore and in a complete fit of giggles. A small part of me knew that one flailing arm had tried to grab the table, in a useless uncoordinated attempt to stabilise myself.

This incident was exactly what I needed to break the haze of negativity that I had cocooned myself up in since my Complex Regional Pain Syndrome diagnosis. I had forgotten to tackle this condition with the same approach I had the others. I was frankly too scared, I know how bad the pain can get and even though I am not at the same pain score I was in 09, mentally I jumped ship. Embarrassing myself by ending up on a busy Costa shop floor was the exact laughter filled wake-up call I needed. As much I crave a life without chronic illness, my Dystonia never fails to provide laughter, I’ll give it that much.

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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Simple Lessons

Every day I have plenty of spasms. Some are short and not to bad, others last hours and cause agony, and some simply make me laugh due to the positions I find myself in, for example I once ended up doing the splits! Thankfully the muscle relaxant that my GP put me on has helped and has slightly reduced the frequency and intensity of these spasms.

Earlier this afternoon my whole body decided to spasm, it was slightly painful and was not the most comfortable position to be in, but despite that I managed to laugh through it with my mum. Knowing that the spasm would eventually release was a big comfort and made it more bearable. I have included some pictures of the spasm below, in them you can see that my eyes, neck, arms, stomach and leg are all in spasm.

In today’s culture people often seem to want to focus on what we cannot do rather than celebrate what we are able to do. Even the term Disabled focuses on it. I don’t like being labelled  but if I have to be then I would rather be termed as Differently Able, as I am capable of doing the same things as any body else, it might just take me longer, I may even do it slightly differently but at the end of the day I can still do it!

One of my symptoms causes me to go blind. My eyes go into spasm and my eyeballs roll upwards in their sockets. Being blind on and off has taught me to appreciate the beauty that surrounds me in daily life. I previously took my sight for granted, the day I went blind for the first time terrified me, I was having a big panic that I would not be able to read again. Now when I am able to read I appreciate the ability more than ever before. Control of our bodies and good health is such a precious but fragile gift that people tend to abuse. We need to open our eyes to the world and learn to appreciate what we have. Society needs to understand the gifts that senses such as sight brings us and learn to focus on the positive side of things.

I could easily allow myself to drown in a pool of negativity but by focusing on the little things in life like being able to see, and by pushing myself to achieve what ever I set my mind to, I am able lead a positive life. I have my moments of being down, just like everyone does but I wont ever let having Dystonia beat me.

 

Benedict’s revenge

I have had a rather busy and sociable week. It has been completely brilliant and was a slight taste of ‘normality’ for me. Normality and independence are something that I desperately cling to, as I refuse to give in to Benedict’s attempts to seize control and conquer my body. However, when you have Dystonia a busy day is enough to exhaust you, so a busy week was perhaps a step to far. I still think this week was so worth the last few days of Dystonic  antics though!

Benedict, my little unwelcome Dystonia alien, decided to start playing up on Friday night. My right hand/arm had gone into a spasm, and started to tremor, my head also had a tremor going on that looked like I was shaking my head to say no very fast, and my back decided to bend backwards, in an attempt to fold me in half. As you can imagine this was extremely painful and rather distressing.

Then last night my leg decided to spasm. Now normally I can just about control my emotions when my Dystonia plays up. Usually it is only a few choice colourful words that escape beyond my spasming lips. However this particular leg spasm was agony, and had me in floods of tears due to the pain. Then my arm decided to join in. By this point I was extremely upset, and rather angry at myself for giving in and letting out my emotional response to the spasm. Yet they do say that a cry now and then is healthy, so perhaps I actually did myself a favour.

Today was also eventful. Even though the day was relaxed, we just sat quietly at home, as my grandparents and my man were visiting, my body still deemed it necessary to act up. I can only presume that the many activities I have done this week had triggered the hideous spasms I have experienced over the last 48-72 hours. I woke up at 5:30 am this morning to my arm spasming and my head doing its no no tremor. Then my leg put up a big fuss when I attempted to get dressed. Through-out today my arm/hand has been having spasms and tremors often and violently. At one point I honestly though that if the spasm carried on for much longer then my shoulder would end up dislocated – thankfully it eventually ceased. At other moments in time the tremor in my arm was so violent that I ended up hitting me sister.

I have currently given in to the spasms and pain, and retreated to the quietness of my room. However I have not come here to dwell on the problematic issues that Dystonia causes. I have returned to my room, to relish in the memories of the week, to mentally high five myself for the accomplishments I have made and to look forward to the days ahead. I cannot wait for tomorrow afternoon to have a consultation with a personal trainer that I hope to work with. The beauty of having Dystonia is that you know that even on bad days that things can only get better! There is so much to look forward to!!!!

A Step In The Right Direction.

Today has been a slightly better day, in comparison to the last 5 or 6. The last couple of days I have been almost unable to even hobble around the house, without one or two members of my family holding my arms, and helping me. Today however was different! My right leg still shook like mad, and my knee still over extended, but I managed to hobble around unsupported. I only managed a short distance, however I am still overjoyed by this as it is a big improvement compared to the last few days.

I am thinking about asking my Occupational Therapist for a walking stick. At 20 years old, I did not expect that I would have to consider this, however if it helps that’s what counts.. My theory is that having a walking stick will either go one of two ways. The first being that it helps me with my balance, so hobbling around the house becomes slightly easier and less dangerous. The second is that with my natural ability to fall over everything and anything, the walking stick will become yet another obstacle for me to try to avoid, yet will still fall over. However I will never know unless I try, and it is not the end of the world if it does not help. Anything is worth a shot at this point.

Tomorrow my new wheelchair is arriving! It is a self propelled one, which will give me some much wanted independence!  I am really rather excited about its arrival and cannot wait to go out in it! It will put my mind at ease as well. When ever I have someone pushing me, I have a mental freak out, I know that they are not going to deliberately through me out of the wheelchair, however I still end up muttering under my breath “stay away from the curb…watch out for the hole” over and over.

My hand also seems a lot better today, I have my fingers crossed that it stays this way. It has improved so much that I did not wear my splint today. This is really positive as I don’t like strapping my hand up, but it helps contain the spasm so I can’t complain.

I have also started to slowly increase my dose of Gabapentin, I am currently taking 1800mg a day and am hoping to get it up to 3600mg a day. As I am finding it to be a very beneficial medication my consultant thought this would be a good idea. I am doing it in steps of 100mg in case I start getting any side effects, that way I know how much my body can handle.

Overall today has been a very positive day and I am hoping that the rest of the week continues to stay positive.

 

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