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

Archive for the ‘March 2014’ Category

Ambulance Trip

I’d like to start this post off by apologizing in advance if bits don’t quite make sense. I have a fair bit of medication in my system and I am having to concentrate very hard as I do not really feel like I am with it today. Over the last few days my body has been very interesting. I presumed it was just in meltdown mode after the trip to London and back for my Botox injections last Tuesday. My right leg in particular has been bad. The spasms have been impressive but rather painful. I have found myself repeatedly over the last few days in the position in the photo below. which I can assure you is not a comfortable one to be in.

Photo: So its not a particularly bad spasm. But why my leg felt the need to spend more time next to my head baffles me and was rather uncomfertable

Last night my body did full body twitches, which was a new symptom for me, however this did not seem to stop, then my leg joined in spasming repeatedly into the above position. However several times whilst in that position my hip spasmed in one direction and my lower leg spasmed in the opposite direction. This caused agony, and according to my family they all heard a cracking sound. I then started to have lots of my Non Epileptic Seizures. In between seizures when I was spasming we tried administering our crisis medication, Tramadol and diazepam, but this did not seem to touch the pain or the spasms, which meant that an Ambulance had to be phoned.

The paramedics, Gareth and Amanda, were two of the nicest people I have met. They helped keep me as comfortable as possible, which is saying something considering the amount of pain I was in. It was decided that I needed to go to hospital to have my leg checked out as it was swelling and they thought I had torn a ligament. In the end they gave me IV morphine which made me slightly sleepy and giggle, to helped ease the pain enough to transfer me into the ambulance safely, where they then gave me Gas and Air. I now understand why the women I looked after on the labour ward loved the stuff so much. At first it had me creasing up in laughter like a crazy woman, eventually I then thought I was dreaming the whole situation, which was when we decided I had maybe had enough of it. I have to say I was so impressed by the standard of care they gave me. They didn’t know anything about my condition, but they treated better than half the previous doctors I have seen!

The doctor Teeto and the nurse Precious in charge of my care, were again wonderful people. I feel extremely lucky to have been under the care. Teeto actually knew a fair bit about Dystonia and was not fazed by spasms at all. He quickly had me sent down to x-ray to make sure I had not broken my knee, where I had some more seizures on the poor woman as she to move my leg about. Thankfully I have not broken anything!! I have just damaged and pulled some of the bits in my leg. Teeto, sent me home with a box of Diazepam, his plan is for me to take this at regular intervals over the next few days, in the hope it will break this new spasm cycle.

Whilst I am in a lot pain now, and feeling rather spaced, I am so thankful that I was under the care of four such wonderful people last night. They were all so caring, and you could tell really wanted to help stop my pain and spasms. It is amazing the difference incredible people like these can make during times when you are in agony!

Fundraising and Awareness

As many of you the Dystonia Society is a charity that is very close to my heart. Without the amazing work they do I would not have known who to turn to in the beginning, I would most likely still be looking for a diagnosis. The support they provide is invaluable to so many sufferers and the website is full of information that is constantly being updated. They also help provide funding for research, this is vital as you never know whose research will one day find a cure to Dystonia. For such a small charity they provide an amazing service, however they are reliant on donations. This is why each year I do lots of fundraising activities and awareness campaigning.

My cousin David and his fabulous friend Sam are running the London Marathon in a couple of weeks’ time. This is something I admire them greatly for doing. They are aiming to raise a total of £3000 for the Dystonia Society. Now some of you may be thinking that’s a mighty high target! Well, that’s because the London Marathon organisers charge charities £2000 a place! So for charities to actually gain any money from donations the targets have to be placed extremely high. However people who have not gained a place through a charity don’t have to pay anywhere near this amount of money to run!  If you would like to help David and Sam achieve there £3000 target here is their Just Giving link http://www.justgiving.com/DavidandSam2014.

A fab company called Recykilt are running a competition so if you like to win a one of kind Recykilt cushion, when you donate simply type the words Recykilt in the comment box, make sure you have included your name. You can see examples of previous cushions here https://www.facebook.com/recykilt/media_set?set=a.171278609595603.40296.100001403947434&type=3

David has been doing other bits of fundraising as well, with his previous company even joining in. So to help out we are throwing our annual Dystonia tea party earlier than normal to raise money to add to David and Sam’s total. As usual our tea party will consist of all the cake and tea/coffee you can eat and drink, along with lots of information on Dystonia. The Dystonia Society have been very kind and provided us with some fantastic leaflets so if anyone has any questions that I don’t know the answers to then I am sure they will be in there. 

Last year myself and a lady in America organised an event called Go Blue. Well this year, I am encouraging everyone to Go Green during awareness week (May 3rd -11th), which is the Dystonia Society’s colour.  Whether you dye a lock of hair green, dress in green, wear green make up etc., it does not matter as long as people know what you’re doing and why. Encourage as many people as you can to get involved, take a photo and spread the word.

The Dystonia Society are also using a website called Thunderclap that co-ordinates sending messages out for groups of people. The aim of this is that on the 9th May a mass message gets sent out at 1:30pm through the social media network saying ““Help us raise awareness of #dystonia, a neurological condition that causes muscle spasms. Do it for dystonia! http://thndr.it/1fXu9dr” The more people that sign up to Thunderclap, then more people will see this, it is a fantastic awareness tool, but it will only work if lots of us sign up to it.  You can register through your Twitter and/or Facebook account with them, and it sends out a message on your behalf at the set time during awareness week. You can register here https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/9777-dystonia-awareness-week?locale=en .

I have some other fundraising and awareness ideas up my sleeve, but until they are certain I shall keep them for another blog post. Raising funds, and awareness is the only way Dystonia will ever be cured, so please share this, donate, and sign up!

Hertfordshire Group meeting

Yesterday I attended the Hertfordshire Dystonia Group meeting. I cannot even begin to describe the joy it brought me. Finally meeting other sufferers face to face and hearing individuals describe their journeys to me and the different ways they manage their conditions was a very comforting and freeing experience.

A speaker, who has Generalised Dystonia, had been arranged and I must say Suzie was absolutely inspirational to listen to. At 16 she had won a scholarship to train as a ballet dancer at the London Studio Centre, unfortunately three terms in she started suffering with Dystonia, that has gradually progressed. However she is such a positive, determined, talented woman and has not let Dystonia stop her in the slightest. She now created ActOne ArtsBase which is a platform for young people and adults with and without disabilities to explore dance. The work she is doing really is amazing. For anyone wanting to check her work out – http://artsbase.org.uk/dancebase.php

Within the talk that Suzie was giving she mentioned how felt that exercising helped her manage her spasms. This is a theory that my personal trainer has touched on several times with me. Whilst certain exercises may trigger a spasm most tend not to. This is something that I have noticed, and it amazes me, for example I can ride a horse but I am unable to walk. One of my spasms involves a rather violent arm spasm/twitch, out of the many people I have spoken to online not one of them has had this particular symptom, which has gotten me into a few awkward but amusing situations. So I was delighted when it transpired yesterday that Suzie also has this spasm, having someone else say yes I do that too, made me want to laugh out loud and breathe a sigh a relief!

Meeting everybody yesterday has given me such a big positivity boost and in a way normalised Dystonia for me. Everybody was so lovely, if it had not been for the fact my body had been deteriorating I would happily have spent several hours more sitting there getting to know everyone. It was perfect.

Neurophysiotherapy

Today I had an appointment at Jacketts Field Neurological Centre for my neuro-physiotherapy assessment. I was slightly worried as I had heard very mixed reviews about the unit but was doing my best to go with an open mind. As it was an assessment I knew a lot of the time there would be spent answering questions verbally e.g how does your spasms affect your ability to swallow or do you have any walking ability? However some of it was going to be physical, this left me concerned as my body is currently in meltdown mode due to lack of Botox so moving about could be painful. Luckily my mother agreed to come with me which put my mind at rest, if the worst did happen and I had seizure after seizure and an ambulance needed to be called, I would be safe and my mother would be able to instruct them on what needed to be done – however all that worrying was for nothing as I didn’t have a seizure 🙂

After answering a lot of questions and having a good laugh with the physiotherapist, it was time to demonstrate just what my little Dystonia alien does to my legs. Figuring I would only have to take two or three steps with my walking sticks, plus the physio and my mum holding me up, I happily stripped off my splints and stood up. This promptly set off my spasms in my legs and the next things I knew I was on the floor! I had not even taken one step! Benedict obviously had been enjoying playing twister with my face and got his knickers in a right old twister when asked for my legs to join in…stroppy sod! As much as my body is now a little sore at least it gave the physio a good idea of what exactly I am contending with.

Due to how much my body does, the assessment did not get finished even though we majorly ran over time! So we have had to book another assessment in! I am really looking forward to this.

On a quick note this Saturday I am attending my local Dystonia Society Group meeting, this will be this first one I have been to and I am so excited to meet other people with my condition!

Oromandibular Dystonia

Since last Friday my Oromandibular (jaw) Dystonia and tremor has been rather bad. These spasms leave my jaw extremely distorted and the pain is constant. Unfortunately my Botox is a week later than usual, my appointment is not until the 18th of this month. Even though I know it is just under two weeks to go now, I am finding it hard to function due to pain.

However there is always a positive and I refuse to let this be a purely negative blog post. Despite the spasms that were severely affecting my jaw and neck last Friday I still managed to get into college. I cut down my workload as I knew it would not realistically get done without exhausting my body, but I managed to get in, which surprised me as I did not expect to in the state I was in.

It never ceases to amaze me just how exhausting pain is. Today my jaw has insisted on tremoring a lot. I use a teething dummy to protect my teeth and tongue, at the end of my last tremor however I was not quick enough at removing the teething dummy from my mouth, with the way my jaw then spasmed it got slightly stuck…I cannot even begin to describe how much this amused me, it took a whole hour before I was able to pry the dummy out from between my teeth. It really was hilarious.

It is moments like these that are vital. Dystonia is hideous. The pain that I am going through on a daily basis is enough that all I want to do is curl up in a ball and sleep until I can get my Botox injections. But sleeping won’t raise awareness of the condition, hiding away won’t beat the condition. Moments of pure hilarity are part of what makes Dystonia bearable and I am so thankful for these moments!

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