Fighting Dystonia, Chronic Lyme, EDS Type 2 & more… any questions?

Archive for the ‘February’ Category

Hospital appointment & My views on the majority of Doctors I have met

Every time I attend a Doctor or Hospital appointment, I go with a calm, polite manner, banishing the memories of the countless impolite Doctors I have met before and hope that the one I am seeing will be a good listener and polite. Yet 97% of all the Doctors I have met have squashed my hope.

Yesterdays appointment was not for Dystonia, however Dystonia still managed to impact it. It started like all Hospital appointments, I waited to be called through and when the Consultant did call me through he seemed to be polite. This helped up my hope for a nice Consultant. So you can imagine how devastated I was at the end of the appointment, when I left wanting to tell him exactly what I thought of him (I refrained from this and kept up my polite attitude). Through-out the appointment he talked over me, consequently he ended up having to ask me the same question 4 or 5 times, as he never let me say more than 3 words before interrupting. He made me feel like a complete inconvenience and that the procedure he would have to carry out at a later date was even more of an inconvenience.

This feeling was proven to be correct after I expressed my concerns that the procedure may set off a Non Epileptic Seizure or a spasm, to this he replied “Well, we shall to give you a small sedation in your hand before hand. I cannot see why we have to, it’s rather inconvenient”. I immediately apologised and explained I was not trying to make things difficult for them, I was simply expressing my concerns as I did not want to turn up on the day and then the procedure not be able to be done because I had a seizure etc. However I do not think he listened to a word of this, as he went on to keep expressing that the 3 changes that had to be made were a huge inconvenience for him. He then expressed that he felt the issue I had suffered with for 6 months was most likely not serious, this was great news, however he then implied that he considered that whatever was going wrong in my body to be due to my weight or my disability by saying “it would not surprise me in someone like you”. Now I understand that he most likely was not trying to insult me however to me that came across as a dig at either the fact I am overweight or the fact I am disabled.  The appointment just kept going down hill from there.

Now I understand that not all Doctors are like this, and there are some who are genuinely nice people, who want to help you, such as my Neurological Consultant and my GP. However the majority of the Doctors I have met are arrogant, insensitive and extremely bad listeners. These traits that do not go well for a Doctor. Even if you do have these traits surely you could at least act like you were listening and wanted to help! I am fed up of Doctors talking to me as if I am not a human but just an illness, or not listening to me etc. I am a human, I have feelings and I deserve to be treated with respect. I would not dare to be disrespectful to a Doctor, or insult them, so why on Earth should I be expected to put up with it??

I know from talking to many people, all with different types of conditions, that running into these types of Doctors/Consultants is becoming a frequent issue. I have seen patients leave appointments in floods of tears. On placement, there were occasions where I was left to deal with the patient myself, and calm them down after they had seen their Doctor. This is not right! A person should leave an appointment, feeling like they have been listened to and that their Doctor is going to try and help them.

It is terribly sad that the Doctors who care seem to be so few and far between. I count myself to be extremely lucky to have two that actually want to help me, who listen and respect me. They truly are outstanding in their profession  Every Doctor should take a leaf out of their books. I can only hope that with time, Doctors start to change, that they start seeing patients as vulnerable beings who have come to seek help from them and not as inconvenient illness that has been shoved in front of them.

 

Benedict, Dystonia, Rugby & Wine

This morning  pain has slowly been spreading down from my TMJ area into my jaw. I had done my best to ignore the pain, distracting myself with getting things ready for tomorrows hospital appointment (a non dystonia related one). However the lack of attention I was paying, seems to have seriously offended Benedict. To punish me, he has chosen the most painful part of me and decided to twist and pull it in as many ways as he can possibly find.

The right side of my face/lips has been pulled diagonally upwards and outwards. Consequently my right eye has been forced shut and it look like I am trying to bear half of my teeth. I must admit, if I was trying to scare someone away by bearing my teeth this spasm would do a very good job. The left half of my face/lips has been pulled diagonally downwards, and the whole of my jaw has been shoved to the left as well. I feel like my face is going to rip in two and my jaw is going to dislocate!! It is disappointing that despite having Botox not that long ago, Benedict is already able to manipulate my jaw. I have at least 4 weeks to go, if not more, before I can have any-more Botox injected.

Having Dystonia in any part of you body is a horrific thing. However now, in this moment of time, I would rather have my hand or my foot go into spasm. Whilst they are still ridiculously painful, I find them a hell of a lot easier to deal with. With the way Benedict seems to be playing with me today, I am sure that he will find some twisted way to add my wish to today’s neurological games.

I am refusing to let this spasm get the best of me though! I am going to enjoy today’s rugby match – Come on Scotland – I am going to have a nice glass of wine or Disaronno, even if I have to drink it through a straw, and I am going to relax. I am hoping that my pain medications kick in soon! Before I do anything else today I am going to meditate, as I often find this to be a very helpful way to help keep myself calm and to put off any unwelcome seizure.

 

 

Dealing with Dystonia in Day to Day Life

The last few days have been rather interesting and positive. We have upped my Gabapentin even more, so that I am now taking 900mg three times a day. The reason for upping was a) to try to counter-act the tremors that had started in my leg, arm and head, b) I was intrigued to see if an increase dose would help enable my attempts to get back the ability of walking I had before the unfortunate incident on New Years day. I find that when it comes to increasing my does of Gabapentin, it is necessary to do this in baby steps. I am lucky that the only side effects this particular medication causes me, is when we increase the does, and even then these effects only last 24-48 hours.I find that an increase in the does, no matter how small, turns me into an irrational weeping wreck! I feel extremely sorry for people who encounter me during this. I am not going to up it any more for a while, as I do not want to get to the highest dosage and then find that it is not giving me any more benefits than the original dosage had. I do think that whilst the increased dose has not stopped these tremors, it has decreased them significantly, which is a huge relief! I have also received a letter from Surgical Orthotic’s with a date to seem them! I am hoping they will make me a brace to help me deal with the Dystonia that is affecting my leg! I am really looking forward to this appointment!

As many of you know, I had my last lot of Botox treatment for Ormandibular Dystonia back in January (on the 15th I think). Previously Botox has worked amazingly well for me, which led me to be rather naïve and presume that this would always be the case, or if did start to be less effective it would be later down the line after a few years of treatment. However my last treatment course only lasted 8 weeks, and this course seems to be heading the same way. I think it has been around 5 weeks since the injections and yet my little Dystonia alien is already trying its best to play with my jaw. Yesterday morning, just eating my breakfast set my jaw off into a spasm that caused the jaw to physically deviated (I am hoping this was just a one-off). Within seconds I went into one of my Non Epileptic Seizures, and then a few moments later I had one of my ‘silent’ Non Epileptic Seizures.

I have made a little of note of this, so that I can talk to my Consultant Neurologist about how quickly the Botox is wearing off. I know from his letters that he injects a lot less than my maxiofacial Consultant did, so I am going to ask if an increase in dosage could be considered, or if he can suggest anything else that we can do.

Last night I attended my pain support/research group, which as usual was a bundle of laughs! I entered feeling very stressed due to the fact that I  had my emotional imbalance from the Gabapentin dosage increase going on and the cold had set a spasm and tremor off in my right arm/ hand and my head. However by the end of it I felt full of energy, was laughing hysterically and was so relaxed. I even lowered myself out of my wheelchair onto the floor and did all the stretching exercises and partner exercises with them. This support/research group really does do me the world of good!

A few weeks ago, I decided that I wanted to lose some weight, get fit and just generally try to keep myself healthy. A friend, who also has Dystonia, recommend finding myself a Personal Trainer, so I rung around all the gyms in my local area explaining what Dystonia was and that I also suffered from Non Epileptic Seizures. Many of them literally freaked when I started explaining it to them, which I can complete understand, however I eventually found someone who was prepared to take on my neurologically faulty body!

After meeting him on Monday we decided it would be best do sessions from my home, he then came round to assess my house and what I was able to do today. I must admit I was amazed at how well my body behaved!!! My arm had the odd moment, as did my eyes, but overall it was great. I was able to do so much more than I had originally expected to be possible.

Things are really looking up at the moment! I am adjusting to this ‘new life’ and learning new ways to approach things. I am slowly building confidence back up in myself, and don’t get out of bed everyday terrified of my body. Instead I get up with a can do attitude, accepting that my little Dystonia alien may make things difficult for me, but they are not impossible!!!

Lastly, a massive thank-you to everyone who voted for me in the WEGO Health awards. I was up for three awards, however I have not made it through to the finals, but there is always next year. It meant so much to me that so many of you nominated me!!!  So Thank-you!!!

 

Late Night Antics

Yesterday my body was seemingly well-behaved. The only time it got irritated was when I went out for an hour or so, and my foot really did not want to be put in my shoe, and my eyes went blind a few times due to the lighting. However all in all, I found this to be an extremely positive and promising day.

As I was still feeling shattered after the busy week I had had, I decided it would be best to go to bed early. Meaning that when I went to bed, I would actually go to sleep and not pick up Harry Potter (I am rereading the series for what must be the 40th time) and read for hours. My little Dystonia alien, Benedict, however had other plans for me. I was just beginning to drift off to sleep when I felt the familiar tightening sensation in my leg and foot. I decided to ignore this and carried on trying to get to sleep. Benedict, unhappy that he had not managed to grab my attention, then decided to bend my foot as far back as it could possibly go. This roused me, however I tried to stay calm, and implemented my breathing exercises from my meditation CD. My leg then started doing two rather painful movements. It seemed to be trying to rotate so it was completely back to front, whilst going slightly upwards and pulling outwards, as if trying to go in the air whilst attempting to dislocate itself. This completely woke me up, with all hope of sleep gone,  I flipped myself over, so that I was lying on my stomach, to try to counteract the spasm by forcing it into the mattress.  I then started doing distraction techniques, such as making my good leg do movements, reciting lyrics in my head etc. In the end I switched on my Ipod, and just focused on my breathing. I did this to not only to keep me calm, but also to try and lull my body into a state of relaxation.

It was 3 am by the time the spasms relaxed, it only took 5 long hours, and I was finally allowed to drift off to sleep. Whilst this was an irritating experience, as I like and need my sleep, it was also a positive one. I manage to cope with it all without panicking. I kept calm, and did all the distraction techniques I knew, and tried each one for a fair amount of time, before allowing myself to give in and just let the spasm run its course.

Today has been a fairly good day. My Dystonia had not been that bad, so I am rather happy. I did not have my usual soup for dinner today as I am trying to up my protein intake, so I had mashed up fish fingers, mashed potato and beans instead. Whilst this was nice and extremely filling, it sadly set my jaw off. Recently when my jaw spasms, it has just been my lips going – thanks to the Botox treatment. However this evening my jaw also deviated to the left when it went into spasm. Thankfully the deviation was nowhere near as extreme as it has been before. I am hoping that this deviation is a fluke, as my last lot of Botox treatment was only administered about 5 weeks ago, so I still have 7 more weeks to go before I can have any more.

I am hoping for a quiet and relaxed day tomorrow. Which will be full of positivity!

 

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!!!!

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!

 

Benedict’s Obstacle Course.

 Imagine this: You wake up in the morning, your eyelids open but you can see nothing due to a spasm pulling your eyes back. You massarge around your eyes blinking violently, trying to beat the first obstacle of the day. Suddenly your sight is back! You celebrate silently, not wanting Benedict to realise you have won, in-case he wants to take revenge. Next you decide to dress quickly before he wakes up and realises what you are doing. You have your top half done, and one leg in your jeans, when suddenly Benedict strikes! Your right leg contorts, as if it’s trying to physically turn backwards, meanwhile your foot has turned under and is dragging along the floor. You stop, take a deep breath, and then start attacking your own leg. Desperately trying to get your jeans over it.

Bang! Your hurried attempts have caused you to fall backwards on to your bed. However you keep on wrestling with your leg until finally you have won. You are officially dressed. You look in the mirror, do you dare attempt to tame your hair and do your make up? With a quick glance at the clock, you decide to attempt to do it. Nervously you brush through your hair, and quickly put it up in a simple pony tail. Relief sweeps through your body. Now on to the make up. Your doing well, almost done. Then, suddenly, pain sears through your eye. Your right hand, which is holding the mascara brush, has spasmed, causing the brush to go straight into your eye.

It has now been two hours since you got up. You have finally managed to get dressed, with hair and most your make up done. Now you need to get through to the living room, so you can grab your bag. Splinting your right hand up first, so as to contain any more unwanted spasms, you slip your arms through your crutches and hop out your room into the hall way. You glance down at the shoes and bags scattered around on the floor like a minefield, and hop around them. Careful not to misplace a crutch or slip.

Now you have reached the penultimate hurdle. You squeeze yourself past the sofa and clothes horse into the living room. Reaching down you pick up your handbag, and swing it over your shoulder. You give yourself a satisfactory smile. You are beating Benedict’s obstacle course so far. You start hopping forwards. You go to squeeze back through the gab between the sofa and the clothes horse…when your right knee collides with the end of the sofa. The knock immediately triggers a spasm. Your leg is twisting side ways and upwards. Pain is taking over. Your balance is now lost. You haphazardly try to place your crutches in a position that will stabilise you. It is a losing battle. You fall backwards onto the other sofa that is just behind you.

After the spasm has calmed down, you decide to take on the final hurdle. This time you choose to leave the crutches behind. Hoping that it will enable you to pass through the dangerous gap between the sofa and clothes horse with ease. You jump up onto your good leg. Keeping your right one off the floor, bent slightly. With arms whirling round widely to prevent you from falling, you hop successfully past the sofa and back into the hallway. You have finally reached the front door! You do not have much further to go. You link your arm round a family member for support and hop out the door. In front of you lies three large steps. Each one looks like a mountain. It fills you with dread. Half of you wants to turn back around, go back to bed and claim defeat. However you hold your ground and preserver, refusing to give in to the evil Dystonia alien, Benedict. You bend your good knee, and cling to the railing with your working/free arm and hop up the huge steps.

You have finally reached your goal. You have reached the car that is waiting to take you to your doctor’s appointment. For the mean time, you have beaten Benedict the Dystonia alien.

Welcome to my life!

 

It is just the beginning…

I found this picture earlier on today, and felt that it would be appropriate to share it with you all. Yesterday I was rather down in the dumps due to having a bug for a few days and my Dystonia was playing up big time, then I got emotional about all the changes it had made to my life. This picture really got me thinking about the situation I have found myself in.

Dystonia is life changing! I am just at the beginning of a life long road and it is going to take time to adjust to everything. However just because parts of my life are no longer the same does not mean that it is all over and that it is time to give up. I need to recognise and accept that I am going to have down days now and then, where I grieve for the parts of my life I have no longer have. Yet at the same time I need to recognise the amazing things that have happened to me since the Dystonia hit me, such as the people I am in touch with, going back to riding, etc. If I did not have Dystonia then I would not have set myself a new life goal, I would never have even thought about aiming to compete at the Paralympics, but now that is something I strive to do.

It is going to be a long journey, and the beginning is always the hardest part, but you never know what is waiting for you round the corner. You only live once, you need to make the most of what you have!

 

Blunt, Honest, Emotion.

When I started this blog, one of my many aims was to bring light to the suffering Dystonia causes by being as open and honest as possible.

On days like today when I am tired, ill, in pain and really emotional, I cannot deal with Dystonia!! I hate it! I am angry! I am fed up! I am so physically and emotionally drained from dealing with it and I don’t want to deal with it any

 

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