Today has been utterly heavenly! As we are going on holiday on Sunday I went shopping with my sister, mum and a family friend to get some last-minute summer clothes as I didn’t really have any. It was nice to out in such nice weather and for a change trying on clothes was great as I was able to go down a size in both tops and bottoms which really made my day.
I bought the basic tops, leggings and shoes I needed, and treated myself to a beautiful summer dress that I am in love with. It was a fantastic day out, and whilst it left me exhausted it also put in the holiday spirit. Going out always takes it out of me and after trying on so many clothes and being out for hours I was so tired that I fell asleep on the drive back home.
I normally see my reflexologist on a monday, however as we are going away on sunday I decided to see her today as well so that I will hopefully be able to stretch out the benefit I get from it over the majority of the holiday. It still amazes me just how well reflexology works for me. I get several nights of good sleep out of it which leaves me with more energy to tackle my Dystonia with during the day.
In the winter I quickly discovered that cold weather and Dystonia do not mix, my body spasmed constantly and I had to leave the house with several layers on and a hot water bottle or two! I never worried about how the heat may affect my Dystonia, and if our weather had stayed typically British then I am sure my spasms would have stayed to their ‘normal’ rate.
Now don’t get me wrong I love the fact we have had a lovely stretch of untypical heat, which in turn has led to BBQ’s, evenings in the garden etc, however I don’t love that it is sending my feet and legs barmy. I get through the day but by the evening I want to beg my feet to uncurl. In desperation I bought a desktop fan for my room to help me at night, which is so far working a treat. It has been a delight though to see the blue skies and watch birds on the bushes outside my bedroom window. Summer always brings a little uplift in mood for me which is fantastic.
My Botox is definitely kicking in now and I have barely any pain thanks to the spasms disappearing. I have some pain in my TMJ‘s (your jaw joints) but this is nothing in comparison to what I was in. It is amazing how much of an impact these injections can have and I feel very lucky that I respond well to them.
Thanks to the permission of some amazing people I have compiled a letter for the Health Secretary containing the different stories of people with Dystonia and their struggles for help. The Health Secretary told me he could not deal with just one case so I decided to compile these stories and open his eyes to the struggles we go through to receive treatment! Whilst I recognise some people have had fantastic service from the medical society, so many people have not and their voices need to be heard.
If you would like to help me open up the government and the NHS/private doctors eyes and try to get more help for us sufferers then please contact me with your story at either email@example.com or here https://www.facebook.com/dystoniajourney .
The human body is an amazing thing, it is a complicated being that relies completely on the brain to be able to function.However if there is one tiny glitch in the brain then dramatic abnormal changes occur. I am completely fascinated by my brain, I would love to have electrodes on my head for a few days to monitor it, so I could get a glimpse of what my brain is doing wrong.
Take yesterday for example, I don’t remember the day at all, but my mum found me unconscious due to my Non Epileptic Seizures in a chair, where I remained unconscious for a few more hours. My poor mum had to spend five hours in my room looking after me. Due to my lack of memory we have no clue what exactly caused me to started having seizures, when I came round I apparently complained about my knee a lot, however my knee other than being a bit bruised is fine today. It is times like this that I would just love to know what exactly is going on in my brain. Whilst Dystonia is extremely painful it is also utterly fascinating.
I consider myself to my extremely lucky that Dystonia is not fatal. I may moan and complain about living with it, but in comparison to so many other people on this planet I am considerably better off. I simply have a misbehaving alien bouncing around my brain pulling strings to make different parts of my body react or knock me out.
On the 28th of this month, I am going away to the Cotswolds with my family. I am extremely excited as I have not been on holiday in a few years. Even though my spasming body will still be with us it will be fantastic to have a change of scenery. I plan on relaxing, taking lots of photos and enjoying every single second of our holiday. I am now on a countdown to the 28th!
This week my blog has received well over a thousand views! I would like to say a humongous thank-you to everybody who is reading it. I hope it is raising awareness and helping others!
Yesterday I phoned the Breakspear hospital in Hemel Hempstead which has a reputation for being fantastic at treating Lyme Disease. It is unfortunately a private hospital so is costly, however my health means a lot more to me than money. I spoke to one of their patient liaison officers about what I was aiming to get from the appointment, specifically the information I need as to exactly what medication I need to be taking and in what form, such as oral or intravenous, so that I can go back to my GP and ask to have the treatment done on the NHS. The P.L.O reassured me that they could tell me all of this in the appointment and that it was up to me where I seek treatment afterwards. I am hoping the NHS will treat me but if not I shall use this hospital. I am very lucky that I don’t live very far away from it.
As I did not want any tests done whilst I was there they are able to see me on the 7th August. This is fantastic as they originally offered me an appointment for the end of September. I am slowly composing a list of questions for the Specialist, as I do not want to forget to ask something vital whilst I am there. I am really looking forward to this appointment and hope it will be all I want it to be.
This morning i went blind and as usual due to the pain it triggered off a seizure. Unfortunately I was sitting a little too close to the edge of the bed and seized off it on to the floor. I think I hit my head on my scales as when I came round my head was really throbbing. My body did not take kindly to my fall and has since played up for the rest of the day.
This evening my poor mother has spent hours in my bedroom looking after me and preventing me from having another fall whilst my whole body spasmed and I had many seizures. My Non Epileptic Seizures really take it out of me, and as a result they leave me wanting to just curl up in a ball and go to sleep. Tonight I am feeling more tired than usual but I think this is because I had to take a diazepam to try to control my spasms and seizures.
Despite my body misbehaving today I am still on a high from Tuesdays consultant appointment and from the excitement from my upcoming appointment with a Lyme Disease Specialist. Things are finally looking a bit better!
My appointment with my Consultant today went amazingly well! I was so relieved that I did not have to argue with him, some of my questions he brought up before I could ask which was fantastic. He has offered to do my injections every 6 weeks – Guidelines state 12 weeks so this is a fantastic offer. I have left with an appointment booked for the end of the August!
He listened to all my concerns and questions and was very understanding. Knowing that I will be seen every six weeks is so calming, I feel like a huge part of me has breathed a sigh of relief as this will mean no more weeks on end of being in agony and my seizures should stay under control.
At my appointment today he administered injections to my jaw and neck, which was thankfully relatively painless, though my jaw did decide to go into an even more extreme spasm after the injection which was slightly amusing. I raised with him the issue that I am now unable to wear my glasses (which I am meant to wear for everything but walking – or in my case being pushed around) as when I do it causes a spasm around my eyes that makes me look sort of permanently surprised, he was unsure whether this was also related to my jaw spasm so has agreed that if this is still happening when I next see him he will do Botox around my eyes as well – this would be fantastic as it could help some of my eye spasm as well.
I spoke with him also about having IV treatment for Lyme Disease, he was a bit hesitant about what to say as he was unsure on what meds I would need and for how long. I explained that all I needed him to do was give the OK to my GP and that I would find a specialist Lyme doctor to discuss IV medications and length of time with. He has agreed to write to my GP saying Ok, which is fantastic. Now all I have to do is find someone to treat me.
The appointment overall was excellent and I really felt he listened to me. I am ecstatic that I have left with an appointment for six weeks time. I am going to be having an early night tonight as I am exhausted from todays trip to London, but I shall be going to bed an extremely happy bunny.
Days like today I wish someone could just wave a magic wand and fix all this! After spending half the night awake due to bad spasms in my feet, now my jaw and neck spasms have decided to be extreme today. The pain my Oromandibular Dystonia causes is pretty much indescribable. It feels like my jaw is dislocating and that the spasms are trying to force my jaw off my face. The pain often causes me to grab my face, as I feel like I need to try to force it to stay in place. The pain then leads to seizures, I have had many seizures today, and all of this mixed together consequently leaves me exhausted.
I have had to resort to taking my Diazepam today which adds to the tiredness and is currently leaving me feeling spaced out, which I suppose is a nice distraction from the pain. I have always said to myself that this blog will be nothing but pure honesty, and to be honest right now I would just like to cry due to the pain.
Knowing that I can have my injections done tomorrow afternoon is a calming thought . They say that you are to try to live a stress free life when you have Dystonia as stress can worsen your symptoms. How are you meant to live a stress free life when you spend weeks in agony? When your Neurologist, the person who is meant to help you, has become someone you have to battle? How are you meant to be stress free when your life is upside down and the medical profession who are meant to help you are making things harder!
I don’t have down days very often but today is a very bad one. I know there so many positives around me but it is very hard to focus on them when the pain is this bad. I have no energy whatsoever today. I am still in bed and am trying to muster the energy to get up and changed but I would so much rather roll over and go back to sleep.
I have well and truly had enough, my Neurologist is going to have to do a hell of a lot tomorrow to convince me to stay with him. 7 weeks overdue for my injections is ridiculous and I am not prepared to go through this experience ever again, it is just too much!!
I am now on the final countdown until Tuesday when I have an appointment up in London with my Neurologist. Over the last few days I have gathered lots of different information so that I will be able to present a concise, confident and convincing argument to him. I do plan on letting him administer my Botox injections first though before getting into any debates with him!
I have a number of issues that I need to discuss with him. The first being the timing of the injections. When I see him on Tuesday I will be 6/7 weeks over due for my injections, this is ridiculous especially as the spasm and tremor in my jaw is actually now loosening my teeth! He has always insisted that the best and quickest way to get an appointment is by emailing him, however the recent months have proved this method to be useless so I shall not be leaving the hospital without an appointment.
Another issue I would like to discuss with him is Lyme Disease treatment. I am currently on oral antibiotics, however for late stage neurological Lyme Disease a mixture of different high dose IV antibiotics is needed. I asked my GP about this the other day but he wants me to get my consultants approval for the go ahead first. I am not sure how likely I am to get it, but I am going to try my best and will not give up easily.
I feel this appointment will decide if I shall stay under his care or not. As much as when I am with him I love him and have confidence in him, since April he has let me down. He has dangled hope in front of me and then never come through on his offer. I know this is not deliberate but at the end of the day I need to be under a consultant who can provide me with the treatment I need at the correct time and who will stay true to what he says.
I am very much looking forward to Tuesday though as I will finally get my very much needed Botox treatment for my Oromandibular Dystonia and my Cervical (neck) Dystonia.
When I first got ill last summer I thought it was the end of the world, life as I knew it was over. What I should have thought is that my life is a bit like a snow globe and someone simply tipped it upside down and gave it a good shake and that eventually everything would settle into the right place. Now it may have taken a while but everything is beginning to settle for example why I still hate Dystonia and battle against it, I also embrace the opportunity it gives me to make a difference.
This last week has been extremely busy. Something I am not used to and left me feeling exhausted and wiped out yesterday. I was also overjoyed. I had been busy, and not just in lots of hospital appointments kind of way but in a social interactive enjoyment filled way. It’s like a distorted mirror image of what my life was like previously and you know what I am happy with it!
I may moan that I don’t like what Dystonia does and that I hate the lack of control I have, but at the end of the day I am happy. Compared to a lot of people I have an amazing life. I am surrounded by loving people all wanting to help me, and I am so thankful for them.
This morning I had a fantastic long catch up with a good friend from school who I had not seen in awhile. It was great and it felt just like old times. This evening a lovely friend I lived with at uni is coming round for a cheeky chinese. I am able to be sociable and have a social life, and I am embracing every second of it. I have even started dating, something I thought would not happen for years.
I am doing things I thought I would never do again, that Dystonia had ruined. Now I realise Dystonia never ruined anything, it restricted me and all I needed to do was find the courage in myself to fight back and find ways to get my life back on track.
My life is my own, no matter how much my little alien tries to interfere, it is mine and mine alone.
Independence has been a big issue for me ever since Dystonia hit me. I went from living at uni and being very independent to moving back into my family home and relying on my family to do everything for me. Simple things like just going to get a drink or going to talk to a member of my family in the other room became impossible tasks. To get around my house I relied on my parents to put me in a wheelchair and wheel me round. I often found and sometimes still do, that I push myself too far in my attempts to do things for myself and end up causing more spasms, however this never bothered me as I still get that sense of achievement by accomplishing the task.
In the beginning simple things like that fact I could dress myself and do my own hair and makeup were enough for me, as even though they were hard I managed to do them without any help. Sometimes this meant it took hours but I loved it. Over the months though my desire for more independance built up. I managed to fulfill this desire once a week by riding, where I was in complete control of both body and horse.
Recently though I have been trying to explore ways where I could expand my independance without risking setting off more spasms. At first I was drawing blanks, then it hit me! I could bum shuffle! For those of you who are unfamiliar with bum shuffling it is when you sit on the floor and move using your legs and hips to pull you along, it takes awhile but it gets the job done.
This simple technique has left me thrilled. There are still moments where I need to be in a wheelchair as my spasms are bad and I am simply not well enough to do it, but the majority of the time I am able to. Things like going into the living to watch TV with my family or have a gossip are now so much easier.
Last year I felt like it was the end on the world and that Dystonia was consuming every aspect of my life. Now I am an empowered determined fighter, craftly finding ways to get around the Dystonia. One day I shall be completely free!
I am now a year into my battle against Dystonia and life has changed dramatically. A year ago I was a student midwife, now I am disabled and spent a lot of time trying to raise awareness of Dystonia. When I first received my diagnosis it seemed like the end of the world, I did not know how I was going to be able to cope with life. Now I am much stronger person filled with determination to make a difference.
I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason and even if you cannot see the reason at first, eventually you will. I believe I have Dystonia so that I can help raise awareness of the condition and help bring about a change so that sufferers receive better treatment. I still have a long road ahead of me but its one that I won’t give up on.
I visited my GP today to ask about further treatment for suspected Lyme Disease. I responded extremely well to the first month-long course of antibiotics, due to this my GP has prescribed me 8 more weeks of antibiotics to see if I have any further improvement on them. My main improvement so far has been in my hands, which has been an extremely exciting development for me. When I see my consultant on the 16th of this month I am going to put across to him that Lyme Disease could have caused my Dystonia. As Lyme disease is curable with enough antibiotics some of my current symptoms could disappear for good, and only the Dystonic spasms shall remain.
I also visited my dentist this morning to have my teeth cleaned. I can not rate the dental practice highly enough, despite my spasms and seizures whilst I was there they were extremely kind and patient with me. As my tremor is dislodging some of my teeth it is calming knowing that the dental practice will do all they can for me.
This afternoon I have a session with my reflexologist. I am so glad that she is coming today as I am extremely exhausted. It amazes me how quickly my body gets tired. I used to be able to be on the go all the time but now just two quick visits have left me half asleep.
I still cannot believe that I have suffered from Dystonia for a year now. Whilst I hate this condition, I also embrace it. By embracing Dystonia I am able to put all my energy into raising vital awareness and funds. The more awareness that is raised the sooner a cure will be found. My next awareness challenge I have set myself is to turn parts of my blog into a book. I hope that by doing this more people will learn of the condition.
Dystonia may control my body, but I control the path I take in life. I choose to make a difference!