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

Posts tagged ‘Twitter’

Fiery Fury of Flare UPs

Being chronically means I live with the knowledge that at some point, someday I will have a flare of one or more of my conditions. I could go months without one and then have several back to back, or they could be fairly regular. Flare ups are unpredictable, sometimes it’s obvious as to what caused them, and other times there seems to be no rhyme or reason to them. Managing them is a joke. Other than knocking back the muscle relaxants and painkillers the only thing to do is try and ride it out.

I’m currently in the middle of an Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Type 3 and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome flare up. Agony is not a strong enough word to describe the sheer amount of pain that I am in. I knew my EDS flare up was coming, my pain had been getting dramatically worse over 72 hours and it felt like I had battered every inch of my body. What I wasn’t prepared for however was my CRPS to act up.

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It’s hard to communicate to people who don’t have CRPS exactly what type of hellish pain it is. The only way I can think to describe is this. Imagine you have several vegetable peelers the width of your leg, someone is dragging all of them down every millimetre of your leg with excruciating slowness. Digging the blade in to the point it reaches your bones. This evil being has a partner in crime, who is simultaneously pouring vinegar into your open wounds whilst dropping lit matches on to you. On top of all of this is Benedict the Dystonia Alien who is rejoicing in contorting your leg in every position imaginable heightening the pain further.

This pain is constant. Its at the point were it feels like a miracle if I manage 5 minutes without crying. My oramorph only makes a slightly dent in the pain. Sleep is a distant memory as my leg is ravaged with mind boggling pain.  All I can do is hope and pray that this flare up ends soon and does not once again become a fixture in my day to day life.

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Chronic Lyme Disease – An Open Letter to the BBC

Dear BBC

Today you published the article ‘Matt Dawson: I had to have heart surgery after a tick bite’. At first I was thrilled, it is always uplifting to see articles highlighting this condition being shared by the mainstream media. However as I eagerly absorbed each sentence , I could feel my heart sinking further in my chest. In fact I’m pretty sure it dropped straight out of me and into the flat below under the weight of my disappointment! You could have taken this opportunity to really highlight the world wide issue when it comes to diagnosing and treating Lyme and Chronic Lyme Disease. The fact that you didn’t leap at this opportunity is beyond me. What happened to the BBC being at the forefront of reporting, challenging the establishment, pushing boundaries?

You even went as far as mentioning that if Lyme goes untreated it can go on to attack and cause ‘debilitating neurological problems’. This was your perfect opening to delve into the devastating condition that is Chronic Lyme; you could have examined how the tests for Lyme disease are extremely inaccurate and false negatives are a frequent occurrence; you could have investigated how NICE guidelines have left the few doctors who are up to date enough with the research in the area to believe in Chronic Lyme, unable to treat their patients without risking their medical licence. You could have mentioned how, if you are in the unfortunate situation of having to fundraise money to pay for your treatment, you are looking at a minimum of £10,000 for private medical bills and that there is no guarantee that you will be cured. You could have investigated how many people that are given the early treatment are actually, years later, successfully cured.

I was bitten by a tick at the age of 6, at the age of 22 I was diagnosed with Chronic Neurological Lyme Disease. Almost 3 years on and I am still fighting. Last year I was informed by neurologists that they were 99% certain I had MS, but then my MRI came back clean, when I brought up Lyme my case was swept under the carpet. Sufferers are abandoned, left to battle their own way through the system, made to feel like a fraud whilst their lives and their health fall apart. Unlike your report suggests, it’s not as easy as walking into a hospital and stating you have Lyme and hoping for treatment. It feels like a life sentence.

I am living that life sentence.

 

Celebrating The Fabulous in Spoonie Life

I cannot believe how quickly this year has flown by, it feels like just the other month I was curled up writing my usual Happy Christmas blog post. Looking back at my blog posts from the last year it has been a rather hectic emotional roller-coaster. My blog was set up to raise awareness in 2012, but rather accidentally for me it developed into a rather useful therapeutic outlet. For you guys that means whilst I do post the happy stuff, the negative is slightly more frequent. This is simply because life is unpredictable and the good, bad and the ugly don’t come in equal measures.

So to help end the year on a positive spin here are just a handful of things that have kept me smiling this year that wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t chronically ill.

  1. January 2016 – After BBC 3 Counties found my Cosmo Articles and my blog I took part in a quick phone interview to discuss disabled dating and ‘The Undateables’. Having been approached by ‘The Undateables’ before I took advantage of this opportunity to express how labels such as the shows title really are not helpful when tackling social stigmas.12583607_824636114328836_1166901021_n
  2. February 2016 – I was invited down to the BBC 3 Counties studio to participate in a valentine’s day segment on dating and disability. I was extremely nervous but the humour I manage to find in my conditions meant that I had several great stories to tell. It was a surreal experience that received great feedback and really boosted my confidence.12695785_835851056540675_1209977806_n
  3. March 2016 – Finally I realised the importance of not apologising for being the way I am. My genetic makeup makes me who I am. So what if I am a bit of an oddball with misbehaving limbs? If you feel uncomfortable around me then take a look at yourself and your views first, because my genetic make-up isn’t something that can be fixed and I no longer feel like I have to apologise for it.
  4. April 2016 – After waiting just over a year I finally was admitted to The Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital Stanmore for a 3 week inpatient pain management program. I’d been extremely nervous about this, and if I’m being honest didn’t see how they could help me short of waving a magic wand. 8 months later and I’m still putting my pacing lessons into practice (I slip up now and then but on the hole I manage much better), and I have a flare up plan that works!
  5. May 2016 – this had been a hard month, between being assaulted and the Drs telling me they were pretty certain I had MS (turns out I don’t but that was a scary few weeks). I was pretty much at my lowest point here. Then at the end of May I was offered a preliminary contract with Britain’s Next Bestseller. Now sure I may not have reached publication due to not hitting the pre-order requirements but hell that was a confidence boost and a half. I had a publisher believing in my work and that’s good enough for me.thumbnail_Regan Final Cover (2)
  6. June 2016 – I was still being investigated for MS, but with a wonderful man by my side I was managing to take it all in my stride. I was starting to see the funny moments in being ill again rather than allowing myself to be swamped in fear.
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  8. July 2016 – This marked 4 years since I had had to leave my midwifery training. Usually  I would mope about and be quite tearful. This year whilst the sadness is still there I can smile when reflecting on it. For if I had never become ill all the wonderful opportunities I’ve had over the last 4 years would never have happened.
  9. August 2016 – my partner gave me a key. I think I just grinned for the rest of this month.
  10. September 2016 – I started my 2nd year at university. I’d survived my first year and am fortunate to be studying at a university that goes above and beyond to help meet my needs!
  11. October 2016 – I was pretty ill and hibernated for most of this month. The fact that I recognised this and took care of myself was a huge leap forwards for me.deacf0c45b71fe38bc45675bced94b07
  12. November 2016- I ended up back in the hospital for awhile. Nothing out of the ordinary in that respect other than the fact I have a huge fear of this particular hospitals neurology team. After being misdiagnosed by them before it was no surprise when I found them to be as pigheaded and ignorant as previous. The difference this time around was that I had the confidence in myself, and enough knowledge of my conditions to advocate for myself rather than allowing them to treat me incorrectly.15128841_1048302218628890_7420253256398203646_o

Everything that’s happened throughout the year whether big or small has been impacted by my health. Previously I would have told you that was awful, I wish I could be ‘normal’; whilst yes I’d love to be healthy, I cannot deny I have an exciting fun filled life that if I wasn’t a spoonie would have been drastically different.

Surreal Radio Experience

Today has been an experience to say the least. Whilst rushing around this morning attempting to persuade my non-cooperative arm into a jumper, I noticed I had a tweet from my local BBC radio station. I stood, gaping, one behaving arm in its sleeve, the other flailing through the air with a mind of its own. I’m not sure what I felt more, excited or nervous that I would ramble on faster than listeners could keep up with. Noticing this tweet a whole 40 mins beforehand wasn’t much prep time, but it wasn’t an opportunity I was going to turn down. As I discovered after a quick pre-interview chat, the show had decided to get in touch after reading my Cosmo article. The topic Disabled Dating, is one that many of you may be aware from my previous blog posts that I feel passionately about.

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It was fantastic to have the opportunity to discuss the stigma too often experienced because of disability. Whilst some people are absolutely fantastic, I’ve thrown my drink down my date before because I foolishly held it in my arm that spasmed; thankfully he laughed it off, others can be very closeminded and unwilling to consider the prospect of dating a disabled person. It was interesting to listen to George Dowell who was also on the segment and featured recently on The Undateables. Now don’t get me wrong, I haven’t changed my mind on the show. However it was thought-provoking listening to his experience.

If you fancy checking out the segment here is the link, the piece starts at 1h08, I come on at 1h16. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03dsjr5

Recovery & Sensation Overload

It never fails to amaze me just how long my body takes to recover from illnesses and accidents these days. Pre-Dystonia I was one of the those people who always had some of thing going on be it sinusitis or a broken bone, but I always bounced back. I fell and ended up in the hospital a week and a bit ago, and yet I still don’t feel back to my usual dysfunctional self.

Many Dystonia sufferers have informed me if they get an infection or have an accident it takes them longer than most to get back to their selves again. So I know I’m not alone, but its irritating. I’m still sore, tired and my spasms and paralysis are being triggered more than usual. I know I sound grumpy! I do not mean to, but lack of sleep and some new sensations in my legs have set my teeth on edge. At least I know I shall sleep tonight after todays Reflexology session.

A couple of days ago this new sensation hit my legs (knee down). It’s extremely hard to put it into words exactly what it feels like. It sort of feels like sharp pins and needles mixed in with a numbing sensation. I try my best to distract myself but the sensation is rather uncomfortable. Part of me wishes that it would hurt enough that my brain would disconnect from my legs so I that I would not be able to feel it just for a little while.

On a far more positive note I would like to thank the lovely people who have nominated my blog and Facebook page for a WEGO health activist award. It is extremely touching and uplifting! I have had a number of people ask me how to go about nominating me, I put it on my twitter and Facebook page, but for those who have not seen it, here is the link http://awards.wegohealth.com/ .

Blog Birthday!

I have been blogging for a year today! I started my blog to help raise awareness of Dystonia and what it is like to live with it. I was inspired to do this as when I first became ill and got the diagnosis I realised just how unknown this condition is among both the public and the medical society. I decided I wanted to educate as many people as possible about Dystonia, and blogging seemed like the best starting point as society use the internet and social media so much.

Since I started this blog I have had many highs and lows, I have fought to get help, I have had many ambulance trips, and experienced so much more. If you told me a year ago how completely different my life would be as to when I started this blog I would have been adamant about my inability to cope with being in a wheelchair and would have been terrified. Now I admit I have been terrified on many occasions especially when the Dystonia spread through my body, and I don’t like being in a wheelchair, however Dystonia has made me a much stronger person and has inspired me to do my utmost to spread awareness .

I knew when I started this blog that I would have to be extremely honest in everything I wrote and not sugar coat any negative experiences as that would be counterproductive. I have tried my best to write an equal amount of positive and negative posts, however Dystonia is an unpredictable thing and it does not care whether it bring tears to my eyes with laughter or with pain. Many blog posts have been hard to write, such as when writing about my legs being affected by Dystonia I found myself in tears.

Blogging to raise awareness is just the beginning. It has been a flicker of light in the bleak unknown that surrounds the condition but if all of you who read my blog, go on to share it on your Facebook or Twitter etc then that glimpse of light shall slowly become a burning torch, which will enable change to start taking place. Change needs to happen so that Dystonia is no longer a condition hiding in the shadows of its neurological brothers. The more awareness there is, the more help sufferers shall get and the more likely it is that a cure shall be found.

I would like to say big thank-you to my family who have put up with disruptions at all times of the day and night, care for me, support me, and keep me strong. I don’t know how I would cope without you all. An especially big thank-you to my mum, who has been my rock and has put up with my tears and frustration, I love you so much!

I want to also say thank-you to all the sufferers who have supported, given me coping tips and kept me sane! Especially Karen, Shannan, Andrea and Pamela – you guys are amazing!

 

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