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

Posts tagged ‘The Dystonia Society’

My Novel & The Dystonia Society

 

Preorder a copy of my debut novel here & help raise money for The Dystonia Society – https://www.britainsnextbestseller.com/beta//books/?id=55

Check out the trailer for my upcoming novel here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDgQZ1zrS8Q

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Awareness Week Draws To A Close

So Dystonia Awareness Week 2015 has officially drawn to close for another year. It’s been great seeing pictures of people dressing in green and wearing green wigs to promote awareness on social media. I must admit I’m still struggling to get parts of the green dye out of my hair, I may have vague tints of green streaks for a few more weeks but that’s not for lack of trying.

Whilst Dystonia Awareness Week may officially have drawn to a close, our annual fundraiser for The Dystonia Society has yet to take place. We shall be throwing this in June, and shall be announcing the upcoming date this week. So keep your eyes and ears peeled! We hope to see as many of you as possible for tea, cake and some awareness!

I am thrilled to report that over the awareness week almost 1500 people viewed my blog. Of which 937 were new visitors. This completely hit last years numbers out the window. Hopefully everyone learned something new or helpful.

Discovering Dystonia

When I was diagnosed with Dystonia in 2012 it took a few days for reality to really sink in. But after allowing myself to accept the diagnosis I launched myself into researching the condition. Something I’m sure many of you sufferers do. The problem with the internet is that you can find just about anything you want to find on it. Researching useful information can be problematic.

I was lucky and stumbled across The Dystonia Society’s Webpage quiet quickly (http://www.dystonia.org.uk/). Their website is packed full of easy to understand information and resources. It helped me come to terms with my condition and understand fully the condition I was dealing with. Previously I had not understood that it was my brain sending incorrect signals to my muscles causing them to go into painful spasms. I had simply thought they were just spasming.

The Dystonia Society over the last couple of years have been a wealth of knowledge and their helpline has been of great comfort. Another fantastic site is The Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (https://www.dystonia-foundation.org/). This is the American equivalent of the The Dystonia Society and is another resourceful website, providing fantastic information on the condition and advice. Websites such as these two are a great resource for suffers to use as a tool to educate Doctors, health professionals and family members who don’t understand the condition. They even have a have section for schools. I find myself checking these sites constantly for new material I can use to help advise others and am never let down.

Please also check out today’s awareness VLOG on Youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEGq26wHwpo&feature=youtu.be

Dress for Dystonia

As I mentioned the other day I did some fundraising and campaigning at my college this week to raise awareness of Dystonia. On the Dystonia Society’s website they have a list of fundraising ideas one of them being Dress for Dystonia. This title inspired me. I encouraged both students and staff members of the college to get involved with my awareness raising campaign by putting on a Dystonia Society top. This ticked off two awareness ideas at once as the tops are green and it was twist on the Dress for Dystonia idea. Everyone who put on a top posed for a photo which I put into an awareness photo collage. Lots more people were willing to get involved than I expected which was great! The college have even done a news article on it and put it up on their website which is amazing as this too provides more awareness of Dystonia. Image

Raising Awareness

Raising awareness of Dystonia is vital. The Dystonia Society’s website says that an estimated 70,000 people in the United Kingdom have the condition. Considering just how many people this is, it is still such an unknown condition to both the public and the medical society. By raising awareness and funds more research can be done. Dystonia may not be life ending but it is life limiting. Without research there is no improvement in treatments for the condition and there is no cure.

When I became ill with the condition I had never heard of it, I had lived my life blissfully ignorant. Now it’s fast approaching the two-year mark of my being ill. Dystonia may have taken away many things from me but it has also inspired me. The only way change will happen is if we bring it around. We can sit and moan about Doctors not understanding the condition all we like, but what difference will that make? By actually having the condition and experiencing it we can choose to empower ourselves with knowledge and spread awareness.

I spent yesterday sat in my College canteen raising money and awareness for Dystonia. The age range of students at the college is from 16 to mature, yet all no matter how old or young were prepared to listen to what I had to say and asked lots of questions. I went with lots of leaflets that The Dystonia Society had provided me with and every single one of them got taken by people wanting to go away and read more.

Awareness is key to a cure being found and weeks like this one are the perfect time to do it. Tea parties, joining in with campaigns like the Go Green for Dystonia  one or getting involved with Thunderclap, are all so easy but so effective!! Dystonia Awareness Week is not over until the 11th May, so if you’ve not joined in yet, why not now, every voice counts! https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/9777-dystonia-awareness-week

Oromandibular Dystonia

Oromandibular Dystonia affects the mouth area, this includes the tongue, jaw and lips. It is part of my Generalised Dystonia and I find it affects both my jaw and my tongue. I have often found myself in situations where I have found myself sounding like I am drunk because I am unable to pronounce my words due to the spasm going on in my tongue.

Oromandibular Dystonia often affects the sufferers ability to chew and speak. When my spasms are bad I find that I can only consume liquified foods and yoghurts, as the spasms that are taking place leave me unable to chew. Some people may just have Oromandibular Dystonia or they may have it with Blepharospasm (Eye Dystonia), or as part of Generalised Dystonia like myself. If it is a focal Dystonia (just on its own) then it normal appears between the ages of 40 and 70.

Oromandibular Dystonia was one of my first symptoms. I was at university, and to be honest I didn’t really think too much of it at first, but then when the spasms became extreme and caused my jaw to dislocate I began to realise just how much pain they could inflict. As there is no cure for Dystonia a combination of Botox injections and medications are used to manage it. I find Botox injections to be particularly effective at managing it. Botox seems to only work for around 5/6 weeks for me, luckily I have a very lovely neurologist who is willing to administer the injections every 6 weeks. This works fantastically well for me, as without this my jaw spasms are extreme. Some people find pressure points or chewing gum helpful in managing their symptoms.

I would highly recommend for anyone wanting to know more on the condition checking either out The Dystonia Society website http://www.dystonia.org.uk/index.php/about-dystonia/types-of-dystonia/mouth-or-tongue-dystonia or The Dystonia Research Foundation http://dystonia-foundation.org/what-is-dystonia/forms-of-dystonia/focal-dystonias/more-on-oromandibular-dystonia .

Dystonia Awareness Week

From today to the 11th of May is Dystonia Awareness week! To celebrate it and help spread awareness I have taken apart in the Go Green for Dystonia campaign. I decided that I would do this in a similar way to last year and have dyed a section of my hair green for the week (luckily it will wash out quickly).

Photo: Green streak in my hair and wearing green for Dystonia awarness week.

I have a of couple awareness activities planned for this week besides being part of the Go Green for Dystonia Campaign. The first of my awareness activities is to do a blog every day, minus today’s entry I plan for each one to focus on a different aspect of Dystonia and how they can impact on day-to-day life. On Wednesday I am running an Awareness event at my college which I am really excited about, it’ll be a fantastic opportunity to educate lots of people on the condition and raise a bit of money for The Dystonia Society.

I have also signed up to Thunderclap, which is something all of you lovely readers can get involved with too! Thunderclap sends out an awareness message via your Facebook/twitter/tumbler (depending on what you choose) at 1:30pm on May 9th. It’s a great way to spread the word about Dystonia. Even Stephen Fry has signed up for it! If you would like to join in here is the link https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/9777-dystonia-awareness-week.

 

 

Tea Party Fundraiser

Saturday we held our Tea Party fundraiser for the Dystonia Society. The day was a complete success with many more people than last year showing up which was an incredibly uplifting sight. My body was still playing up a lot, this meant that I had several pain triggered seizures as my new leg spasm was aggravating the torn ligaments in my knee. However I view having these spasms in front of everyone as a complete positive, they got a good look at what Dystonia can do you.

A good family friend had offered to make a cake to raffle off for the occasion. She is very talented, and the cake looked so delicious! 

Our house was packed all day long which was amazing to see. The Dystonia Society had sent us lots of useful leaflets which we had put on display around the house, everyone seemed to enjoy these and it sparked lots of different questions. Raising awareness has become such a big passion of mine, so I was overjoyed at how successful the day was. One of the elements I loved about it was that the people who had come along could also ask members of my family questions and talk to them about it. Even though they don’t have the condition their lives are still affected by it.

In total so far we have raised £425.00 for the Dystonia Society and some more people have said they would like to drop in donations which will boost our total even further. I am so grateful to everyone who came along, it was such an incredible day.

This weekend my cousin David and his friend Sam are running the London Marathon to raise funds and awareness for the Dystonia Society. They are aiming to raise £3000! He was interviewed by his local newspaper the other day, which has raised more awareness of Dystonia! If you would like to read the article here’s the link http://www.thewestonmercury.co.uk/news/seaquarium_boss_inspired_by_cousin_to_run_marathon_1_3533729 .

Feeling Good

Last time I posted I felt that I was balancing on the knifes edge and was feeling pretty negative, well I’m feeling darn good today and I plan on enjoying it. My legs have not been as bad the last couple of days, the swelling in my knees is going down and the pain in them is tolerable. This improvement has made such a mental difference as the pain was really beginning to get me down.

Having my pain levels go down has made the biggest difference as it is the pain that I struggle to deal with the most. I can cope with my body spasming, tremoring and getting into unnatural positions but the pain is what I can’t cope with. Normally it would be my jaw that causes the unbearable pain, so at least having it in my knees made a change.

I am now on half term, which mean no college and no riding 😦 however I know that it is best just to let my body rest and recover this week, before I throw myself back into everything head first next week. On a positive note I made into college last week!! After being too ill to go in the week before I was determined to drag myself out of bed and into college – trying to get dressed whilst my legs where on strike was interesting but  I managed it and it was the best thing I could have done. I know that I tire very easily these days but doing normal things like college make me so happy.

As I have mentioned before my cousin David and his friend Sam are running the London marathon for The Dystonia Society in April. I woke up to see a small article had been written on them in their local newspaper (Somerset). Its so positive to see awareness of Dystonia spreading!

I often say that I wish I could see inside my brain so I could have a better understanding of what exactly is going on. As other than all the medical jargon I have no idea what exactly it is doing…this picture describe it perfectly and makes me smile.

Short and Sweet

Todays blog i am going to keep short and sweet…you can all breathe a sigh of relief ;-p.   I want to start by saying thank-you to all of you who have nominated me or endorsed me for a WEGO Health award, it is extremely touching! Below are some links that I think are really worth checking out! Happy reading.

I was doing my usual surfing of The Dystonia Society’s website and came across the link to The Global Dystonia Registry. This is a huge international database of Dystonia sufferers that scientists and researchers are using to understand Dystonia better. The more sufferers that register themselves on the database the more research can be done, and that can only lead to a more optimistic outcome for us all! For anyone who wants to know more here is the link to The Dystonia Society’s page which explains a bit more http://www.dystonia.org.uk/index.php/about-dystonia/global-dystonia-registry .

This year is full of exciting things, one of those is the London Marathon which my cousin David and his friend Sam are running in, to raise money for the Dystonia Society. I admire them for doing this, despite the weather we have been having, they have both continued training out along muddy canal paths and fields. They log their progress on Facebook and twitter so please follow them as they train to raise money for such a fantastic cause!

https://www.facebook.com/Davidandsamrunthelondonmarathon?fref=ts

https://twitter.com/DavidandSam2014

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