At the start of May my degree came to its close. After three years living in Oxfordshire it was time to start making new plans for the future; which is why on the 11th of May we packed up and moved to St. Helens, Merseyside. It’s a long way from my family which is hard but we are surrounded by my in-laws who I love dearly.
Happy in our new home
Getting to know a new area and work out the most disability friendly routes to places is tiring but so far I am feeling very settled and happy in my new environment. I’m now several hours away from my neurologist which is less than ideal but he has agreed that I can remain on his treatment lists. Whilst moving to a new neuro more local would be easier I don’t feel comfortable leaving his care as he has been my rock for the last six years.
I’m having a couple issues with my jaw spasms and the osteoarthritis at the minute but overall I’m coping well. I’ve introduced a new herbal supplement to see if it helps with pain relief and will be reviewing this soon.
Summer has arrived without a doubt, beautiful cloudless sky, sweltering heat and wonderful days out whilst I’m on my uni holidays. However, the arrival of summer also means that my body is working extra hard to compensate which has resulted in periods of tachycardia, eye and other spasms and an increase in pain. Sunglasses are now a permanent feature to try and relieve a bit of pressure on my eyes, but short of sitting in the freezer there’s not too much that can be done.
When I first became ill I found my focus was entirely on all the things I thought I wouldn’t be able to do anymore. Over the years I have conquered all the hurdles I was facing or found ways around them. Going to university was a huge deal and quiet the achievement for me. I’d been so reliant on others for years that living on my own and only having care for a little while a day was a nerve wracking decision to make. As you can imagine the idea of juggling a baby and uni has been a bit daunting.
Stefan’s first trip to Oxford Brookes University
At first, I didn’t know how I would manage both, but last week we ventured up to my university so I could sit my last exam of my second year. I was extremely lucky that my lecturer was willing to look after Stefan whilst I sat the exam. This has given me the confidence that I can do both, and that I’ll find ways to cope, for example little things like strapping the pram to my wrist so that if I have a seizure or have an extreme spasm he’s perfectly safe and can’t go anywhere. Small things like this put my mind at ease and reassure me that despite my conditions I can manage life as a student and mum.
Keeping the pram attached
Can you believe that today is the fourth birthday of Dystonia and Me? It is astounding just how much difference another year makes. My battle with Dystonia and my other conditions is one that for a long time I have felt I was drowning in. It has seemed like a constant tug of war, desperately trying to stay on top of my symptoms. For many years it seemed to me as if my little alien was always ten points ahead of me, and I was treading water trying to regain my lost control and catch up. Today I can quiet firmly say I am miles ahead of my alien, I am now basking in the peace of coping.
I’m not saying that I don’t have my down days, there are plenty of days when my spasms, seizures and dislocations just seem too much. However, what I am achieving makes those days worth while. In the last year I’ve completed my first year of uni, managed to live a life so full that it’s been beyond my wildest expectations for myself, I have been nominated for an award, interviewed several times by the BBC Three Counties, and I have had a blog post censored (which is why if you’ve been looking for the last one you have been unable to find it). I’ll let you guess as to which one of those I am most proud of.
When I started blogging it was to raise awareness of Dystonia, in a short period of time it has grown to encompass a whole host of conditions that I live with. In 2012 when I created Dystonia and Me, I had hoped a handful of people may read this site and learn something new that could have the potential to help others. I never expected this blog to become the lifeline that it is for myself. Blogging my experiences, good and bad, has enabled me to accept my complications and learn to love myself again. Through this blog I have come into contact with incredible people who I admire greatly.
If you had told me a year ago I would be writing this, I would have laughed. I was so caught up in my worries and excitement about starting uni that I never thought to think what could possibly lie ahead. Who knows what will happen in the next year!
With the exception of the last few days, the last few weeks my body (apart from my jaw) has not been too bad. Which has been a very nice break for me, but has also lulled me into a false sense of security. When my foot went into spasm the other evening I was rather shocked. That day my whole leg had felt odd, like someone was trying to pull it out of its socket. I found myself to be rather upset by the spasm. Part of me had hoped that I would have a miracle recovery and I would return to uni in September without a worry. Now I know this whole miracle recovery idea was a bit silly, after all Dystonia is not known for being predictable, it does what it wants, when it wants, how it wants, for as long as it wants. However there is still hope for Uni, I have ten months to somehow get better/get my dystonia under control in, so I am remaining hopeful. I have thrown myself into studying/revision, as I think that it is the only thing keeping me sane at the moment.
Last Sunday, my consultant finally replied to our email stating that he would administer Botox injections into my jaw for me, and that he would do that next week. This created some confusion about when he would do it. However a whole week has passed since we heard from him, so that rules out that week. So it shall be interesting to see whether he contacts us to do the injections this week or if we shall have to chase him some more.
In January I am going to meet my local MP, to discuss with him the many pitfalls of the NHS. I have composed a long list of points, that I wish to discuss, over the last few months. I am looking forward to how he shall respond to my questions or if he shall try defend the system.
I am looking forward to celebrating Christmas and my 20th with my family. I am praying that it shall be a happy occasion with no Dystonic movements and be Seizure free.
I hope you all have a Merry Christmas and a Fantastic New Year!!
My mother posted the photo below on my Facebook wall the other day. The words I find ring so true to me! I dream of being a midwife, and because I have experienced what the life would be like, I dream of it even more. So I will keep on fighting my dystonia, I shall push my body further each day, until my brain understands what it is meant to do! Its going to be hard, and I know that I am going to have good days and bad days, but next September I will return to uni and recommence my midwifery training! It may be hard to get there but that wont stop me!