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

Posts tagged ‘Riding for the Disabled Association’

A Fairly Positive Week

I have had some really positive moments this week! On Tuesday I had a meeting with a woman who works for a service called Cross Roads. Their service provides a range of support. On a Thursday morning, starting in a few weeks time, a guy is going to come over to care for me for a few hours. This means that my mum and stepdad will get a break from caring for me, instead this guy will socialise with me and help me with my meds etc. Not only will this give my parents a much needed break but it will be great for me to socialise with someone who’s around my own age. I am really looking forward to this starting.

My Jaw and neck spasms are rather bad at the moment. I am doing my best to try to ignore them but it is a bit had to ignore the spasms when your head is completely lopsided and your jaw is pushed right across. We contacted my consultant a couple of weeks ago asking to be booked in for Botox treatment, but as has been the case for over 2 months now, he has still not replied to any of our emails. We are going to phone his secretary tomorrow to ask her to chase him, however she never sees the consultants she works for and can only email them, so I am not sure how much she can do for me.

Yesterday and today have been amazing. Yesterday I had another fantastic session with my personal trainer that left me exhausted but extremely happy! I just love my Wednesday sessions. Today I went up to the stables and had a wonderful RDA riding lesson. I rode Nelly again, she is such a beautiful horse and fantastic to ride. She is slightly more challenging to ride than Connie but I love this as it allows me to work on and develop my skills more! Being around horses and riding puts me on such a high, if I did not have to dismount at the end of the lesson I would stay on the horse for hours! Riding is pure bliss!

As many of you know I took part in several fund-raising activities to raise money for the Dystonia Society and ended up raising more than £800!! Last week I had an email from the Dystonia Society saying that I was their fund-raiser of the month. If you would like to check out my interview please click on the following link http://www.dystonia.org.uk/index.php/component/content/article/5-get-involved/370-fundraiser-of-the-month

 

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Life through my eyes.

When someone gets diagnosed with a condition that it is going to make an impact in some way, it is then that people show their true colours. I am sure many of you are aware of this or have even experienced it. For me it happened gradually, some people quickly disappeared out of my life, some stuck themselves firmly to me, and others decided to bow out later on into it. Although losing people you were close to is a painful thing, it also shows you the people who truly care about you.

Since being diagnosed with Dystonia I have met the most amazing people, with such beautiful souls. To them they don’t see the wheelchair and its occupier, they see a girl whose personality counts more than her physical capabilities.  For example, the incredible volunteers at my local riding school, who are part of the Riding for the Disabled Association. They are such vibrant beings, who managed to get me on a horse, despite all odds. There are no words to describe how much I love these volunteers, how much joy they bring into my life. Then there are my uni friends. They are such loving people. Despite the fact I moved back home, they are always there for me when I need them. They have rushed me to hospital at 2am, and joined me at many hospital appointments and a&e visits. Then there are the amazing people I know/have met through day-to-day life, who are caring and inspiring individuals.

My family has been amazing. They have coped with the spasms, the hysterics, the seizures, the pain, the hospital visits, the hospital admittances, the day-to-day challenges that Dystonia brings. It is their ongoing love for me that helps me through each and every day, that inspires me to keep fighting for control of my body.

At this time all the people above and so many more that have stayed close to me, have been a fantastic fountain of support. They help me through hard times in my personal life and with Dystonia. They show me the light, on days when I feel like hope is gone…and then they hand me some chocolate buttons.

Life is tough for everyone, in different ways for whatever reason. We are challenged by different issues. Some may seem big or small to others but you can never judge how a challenge is affecting someone without experiencing it yourself in their shoes. I can only hope that everyone has a support network like mine. As you never know just when you will need it.

Today has been a good one, full of much-needed distractions. I went riding and despite falling out the front door on the way there – I am ridiculously clumsy – I still managed to do rising trot without setting off a spasm. I am so lucky to be surround be such fantastic volunteers when I am up there, and I ride an incredibly patient horse who I completely and utterly adore! I also attended my pain support/research group. It is a fantastic group which does me the world of good. I can be so open and honest as everyone there can understand to a good degree what I am going through, yet I can also laugh with them at the same time.

Life is too short to be defeated by inconvenient challenges. Just because my brain has decided it does not want to work, does not mean I should hold my hands in the air and admit defeat. If anything it should fill me with determination to show my Dystonia alien just what I can do. My life goals may have to change because of it, but by no means should they get any smaller, if anything I should aim higher. You never know you may one day see me at the Paralympics, or I may be a best-selling author. Who knows what could happen! Who knows what life has planned for us! Embrace whatever style of life you have! Mould it to suit you, push you boundaries and never give up.

I think the picture below sums up my thoughts perfectly.

Positive Proactive Progress!

As I sit here, beginning another blog post that allows you all to witness what it is like to live life with Dystonia, I must admit that I have an almighty smile spread across my face. The last few days have each been perfect in their own ways. I spent the whole of Tuesday in bed recovering from Mondays lovely trip to Chelmsford. To some of you this may seem lazy or even a waste of a day, so let me reassure you this was completely and utterly necessary, I barely had the energy to sit up! Yet I was perfectly happy due to the fabulous day I had the day before. I am also enjoying some lovely choccies that my man brought me for Valentines Day.

Yesterday one of my oldest friends came to visit me. I had not been able to see him, in a long time due to me moving to Essex for university and us both being broke students. So it was fantastic to have a really good catch up, which was full of laughter. By the time he left, my spirits were soaring. Socializing does the world of good for me, it allows me to feel ‘normal’. He has promised to come and see me more often, as now I am only a 20 minute bus ride away from him. I shall hopefully see him again in just under two weeks time.

Today I had my riding lesson. Once again it was fantastic, I love the thrill riding gives me. There is nothing like it. The horse I ride, Connie, is so very lovely and patient, and puts up so well with my different style of mounting. We did lots of trotting whilst weaving in and out of cones today, which I loved. Towards the end of the lesson, with my instructor watching carefully, I stood up in my stirrups, whilst walking. I managed this fairly well, now and then my right leg would decided it had had enough and would shoot forwards, causing me to sit/drop back down into the saddle. However every time it relaxed again I stood straight back up. We did the exercise repeatedly until my right leg really had had enough and I lost the feeling/connection to it. Riding is not on next week as it is the local school’s half term holiday, so I am counting down the days until the 28th when I can go back.

Yesterday and today, I attempted placing my foot on the floor to see how it would react. When it was placed flat on the ground, it spasmed rather violently, and I had to wait a fair while for it to calm down. Once it had, I tried it again, though this time I only placed my toes very lightly on the ground. This time there was no reaction. This is good progress!!! I plan on doing this a few times a day, if this all goes well then in a weeks time, I shall attempt to put my foot flat on the ground again. I hope if I keep trying this, then I shall be able to get back some of the movement I had managed to build up back in December.

This week has truly been fantastic. With only one real hiccup,  my right hand decided it had had enough of me writing and decided to spasm violently. I happened to be holding a fountain pen at the time, so ink ended up all over my face, hand, quilt etc. However I found this to be quiet amusing.

I have several more brilliant days planned, which I am really looking forward to! I know that I am going to be completely exhausted by the end of it all and my body will most likely try to get revenge, however it is worth it! I have accepted that at this time because I have Dystonia and Non Epileptic Seizures, I am disabled, however I refuse to let these conditions control my life. I am going to live life the best I can, and I shall enjoy every second of it.

Just watch me!

 

Yesterdays R.D.A Lesson & Support group

Yesterday I had a lesson booked with the R.D.A, I was a bit nervous about this due to the new tremor in my leg. I had emailed my instructor in advance to let her know that it may be slightly more difficult than usual to get me on. Her reply made me grin “Tremor or no tremor, we will give it our best shot”! She stuck true to her words, they gave it their best shot and managed to get me on! I hopped up the mounting block, then with my arms round two volunteers shoulders they lifted me up on to Connie so that I was sitting side saddle, I then swung my Dystonic leg over Connie’s neck and slid my feet into the stirrups.

After about a minute of having my feet in the stirrups my right leg decided to spasm, it shot out sideways and upwards. The volunteers and my instructors remained very calm and Connie did not even notice. Thankfully it was not a long spasm, once it had passed we agreed that until my leg had settled down completely, I would ride without the stirrups. I was completely fine with this, and happily rode round without them. After a while, when I was certain it was OK to risk putting my feet back in stirrups, I did so, this time my body did not react.

My riding instructor does fantastic lessons, and I was allowed to do a lot more trotting this time. We did trotting in general, trotted in and out of cones and over poles, it was complete heaven! The three volunteers that stayed beside me, kept saying that you would never know I was disabled if you watched me ride, as I sat so well and had good control. I must admit them saying this really made my day! I have to have three people around me at the moment when I ride, due to my Non Epileptic Seizures, as I only had my last one a few weeks ago, so we have to play it safe.

I cannot put into words that happiness that riding gives me. I literally sit and grin the whole time I am riding, taking in every magical second of it! I cannot wait until next weeks lesson!

Last night I also attended my support/research group. I love these meetings, they are so mad and positive that I just there and smile. Despite both my leg and arm playing up whilst I was there, I had a fantastic time. The group is extremely supportive and I find that the different methods we are taught for coping with pain are extremely helpful.

Overall yesterday was an absolutely brilliant day. It was so worth the aches I have today. Despite the aches, if you put a horse in front of me now, I would still try and get on!

 

Benedict comes out to play!

Today Benedict (the dystonia alien) decided to really wake up and came out to play. I was happily curled up with my youngest sister watching the 8th Harry Potter film, and all of a sudden my index finger on my right hand started to tremor. This gradually progressed to the rest of my fingers and within a few minutes my whole hand was shaking. I laughed it off, not wanting to worry my sister, and carried on watching the film, trying to ignore my hand. It eventually stopped shaking.

For the next few hours it behaved rather well and I relaxed and forgot about it. However when my mum held my hand to help pull me up, later in the evening, it instantly went into spasm and the tremor returned. Again this seemed to last a fair while. Consequently I have decided to put my splint back on my hand and refrain from using it as much as possible until my little Dystonia alien has decided to settle back down.

I am trying to stay positive and not let the issues with my hand and leg get to me. Tomorrow I have my riding for the disabled lesson at my local stable, and I don’t plan on letting my Dystonia alien stop me from getting on the horse!  I know it will make mounting even more difficult and I know my body will be bad afterwards but riding makes it worth it!!!I cannot wait for tomorrows lesson!

 

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!

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