Posted in Archive, May 2013

Have we found stumbled across the cause??

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Whilst sitting in a waiting room the other day my mum stumbled across an article about Lyme Disease. Lyme Disease is carried by some ticks and can be transferred via a bite. Later that day my mum did some research about the disease after remembering that I had been bitten by one when I was six up in Scotland, and the area is known to have ticks carrying the disease.  When reading through the symptoms she found that the majority of medical issues I have had through out my life fits with Lyme Disease.

Lyme Disease can cause a majority of problems. In late stages of the disease neurological problems can occur such as muscle spasms, memory loss, twitches etc and can cause Dystonia. I was never tested for Lyme Disease at the time as my parents did not know of the condition. The tick was attached to me for 24 hours and I developed a large rash afterwards. Testing for Lyme is unfortunately not accurate. The tests can result in many false positives and false negatives, some Lyme patients have been tested over 5 times before they got a positive result. The test is only about 30% accurate.

I visited my GP this morning with my mum to discuss this with him. We went armed with information from medical sites, and prepared to fight for a test. Amazingly we did not have to fight! My GP listened to us carefully and decided that instead of ordering the blood test he would start me on a high dose of oral antibiotics instead. I am to take these for a month and see if I get any improvement.

From what I have read if you have late stage Lyme Disease IV antibiotics are the best line of treatment and this goes on for several months. Often antibiotics do not show any positive results for months, in some cases it has taken up to a year. I know that I am unlikely to have any improvement on just one course of antibiotics and that I may have to fight to get another course of them, but I am extremely thankful that he has agreed to put me straight on them.

The information I have read is extremely interesting and whilst there is a chance that I do not have Lyme Disease and that is just a coincidence that my symptoms through out my life fit so well, I cannot help but hope that we may just have stumbled across the organic cause for my Dystonia.

 

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Posted in Archive, May 2013

Inquisitive Nature

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Two of the most common questions people ask each and every day are how and why. Why do people get ill? How do we know that colour is actually green? Why is it always me? How does this work? Sometime we are not seeking an answer when we ask these question and the question has been asked in rhetorical way e.g why me. However the majority of the time we are seeking an answer. As humans, like the majority of animals, our own nature makes us inquisitive, we like to know the ins and outs of everything and anything, but if you put us in a situation when we cannot find an answer, well then we become fixated.

Which is exactly what is happening to me now. I am completely fixated on what caused my Dystonia, what turned my whole world upside down gave it a good shake and then righted it with all the pieces jumbled up! The logical side of me knows that the chances of me finding out why is extremely small, yet still I try to work it out. I sift through pages and pages of information grasping at any small shred that could contain the answer I’ve been looking for.

No matter how often I tell myself that an answer is not going to make much of a difference, I still continue my search. I am almost amused at myself for how desperate I am for an answer. For even when I find the answer, other than it giving me some piece of mind, it is not going to change much.  However until the doctors agree to help me, I know that I shall keep looking, so that if the day comes when there is no answer, I can sit back and think well at least I tried.

For now though I am going to try to reign in my inquisitive self, and remind myself to spend less time looking for something I may never find and more time enjoying the wonders around me.

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Posted in Archive, May 2013

Oromandibular Dystonia is Back

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Today has been one of those days where I wish I could have slept through it. My jaw has been trying to spasm for about a week and today I woke up with it in a full-blown crazily painful spasm. I manage to deal with most of my other spasms fairly well, however due to the amount of pain my jaw causes I find these spasms very difficult and exhausting.

I always try to carry on with my day as normal when my jaw spasms as I do not like to give in to the pain, however today has felt like a real struggle. On top of this my body in general has acted up today, with my eyes being the worst resulting in several prolonged periods of functional blindness due to either my eyelids clamping shut or my eyes spasming upwards in their sockets. Despite this however, I still did all my workouts which I am very happy about!

I saw this quote earlier and it made me realise that on days when the pain is too much and I am exhausted, it is ok to get upset/cross or sleep through it because you don’t have to be strong 100% of the time, you just have to pick yourself up and brush yourself off afterwards.

Even though it is still several more weeks until I can have any more Botox treatment done to my jaw and neck, I am still going to let my consultant know so that he can book me in for my next lot of treatment. I am hoping that tomorrow my body gives me a little bit of a break, so that I can feel a bit more alive than I have felt today.

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Posted in Archive, May 2013

GABA and Dystonia

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I often view The Dystonia Society’s website to check out the latest information on research, treatment and more. The other day I started reading an article on their website entitled The Basal Ganglia and Dystonia. It was an extremely intriguing article and for those of you who have not read it yet I suggest you do http://www.dystonia.org.uk/index.php/about-dystonia/dystonia-and-the-basal-ganglia .

The section that interested me most was on the role of GABA in Dystonia. At the moment the medical society think (but have yet to prove) that a shortage of an inhibitory neurotransmitter such as GABA could have an impact on Dystonia, as it seems that Dystonia is a failure due to inhibition. Many patients, myself included, who suffer from Dystonia are sometimes put on medications such as Gabapentin, Baclofen or Benzodiazepines. All of these medication increase the amount of GABA in the brain.

I was extremely interested to read this as I currently take both Gabapentin and Baclofen and have found both to have incredible effects on my spasms. The Gabapentin felt like a miracle drug when I was first put on it as has had a huge positive impact on my full body spasm and on my eyes! The Baclofen at the moment is having a fantastic effect on my neck spasms as well other spasms.

So I cannot help but wonder if I have found the answer I have been looking for to why I have Dystonia! I know that I will have to wait until the medical society have managed to prove if this theory is correct, but I cannot help but feel slightly excited. I am always trying to understand why I have Dystonia, and to have an answer would give me peace of mind. I may have a long wait ahead of me but I shall be keeping my fingers crossed.

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Posted in Archive, May 2013

Reflexology Session

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Yesterday I had my first reflexology session with a lovely woman. She was able to come to my house and do it, which was perfect for me as it meant if my body reacted badly to it then I was in the best place, with easy access to the necessary medication. I was hoping that by having reflexology I would be more relaxed and would be able to sleep better.

It was a fantastic session, that left me feeling extremely relaxed. I was so happy that my body did not react to the reflexology, which enabled me to relax and actually enjoy it. During the session she concentrated on areas that related to pain, my liver and my kidneys. The reason for this is that the amount of medication I am taking will not be doing my kidneys and liver any good, so by concentrating on them it should help to detox them.

I did not do much for the rest of the day as I was extremely tired from the session. In the end I went to bed around 8pm because I was struggling to keep my eyes open. Normally I would have read a book before I go to sleep to help relax my body, but I did not even have the energy to read. Most nights I do not get to sleep till the early hours of the morning and even then I will carry on to wake up 4 or 5 times due to painful spasm. Last nights sleep was amazing! I slept for a total of 13 hours and did not wake up once! I was even full of energy today which was fantastic.

I am so happy that I was able to get a good nights sleep, it made a real difference to my energy levels today. As the reflexology session appears to have had such a fantastic effect on me, I am planning to book more and see if these improvements carry on. I am extremely hopeful that these sessions will continue to have a beneficial effect.

 

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Posted in Archive, May 2013

Sleep & Dystonia

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One of the things I am struggling with lately is getting to sleep and staying asleep. When I am tired my spasms tend to get worse, which makes getting into a comfortable position to go to sleep in is rather hard. Previously when going to sleep I would lie down in bed fully stretched out, however I can’t do this any more and this is proving to be an issue.

One of the symptoms I am struggling with at the moment is in my legs. I have a constant tugging sensation along with pain in my knees and thighs, which I seem to only be able to relieve by pulling my legs up. Although this does get rid of the painful sensations it certainly lessons it, however I then find it extremely hard to then straighten my legs back out again. Some nights I have had to go to sleep with my legs crossed. The pain in my legs along with the current pain in my neck caused by my new neck spasms is really impacting on my sleep.

Sleep is an important part of dealing with Dystonia. Having your muscles spasm constantly on and off through-out the day is an extremely tiring experience, which leaves you exhausted. I have often taken naps in the day just so that I have some energy to carry on fighting against the Dystonia with. Dystonia normally disappears whilst you are in a deep sleep, however when in a light sleep the spasms can appear. At the moment due to pain I am finding it extremely difficult to get into a deep sleep, therefore I am constantly woken up in the night due to spasms. This leaves me feeling exhausted still when I wake up and starts a vicious cycle.

At the moment I have taken to going to sleep with a hot water bottle under either my feet or knees to try to relax my legs, and a heated lavender wheat bag around my neck. The combination of the two is thankfully providing me with enough temporary relief to enable me to drift off to sleep. I have debated taking sleeping tablets however I am unable to do so with the medication I am currently taking.

I am hoping that by increasing the number of times I meditate a day and by starting to have reflexology done that I may start being able to sleep better. Only time will tell if this combination will help. So I shall keep my fingers crossed.

 

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Posted in Archive, May 2013

Simple Lessons

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Every day I have plenty of spasms. Some are short and not to bad, others last hours and cause agony, and some simply make me laugh due to the positions I find myself in, for example I once ended up doing the splits! Thankfully the muscle relaxant that my GP put me on has helped and has slightly reduced the frequency and intensity of these spasms.

Earlier this afternoon my whole body decided to spasm, it was slightly painful and was not the most comfortable position to be in, but despite that I managed to laugh through it with my mum. Knowing that the spasm would eventually release was a big comfort and made it more bearable. I have included some pictures of the spasm below, in them you can see that my eyes, neck, arms, stomach and leg are all in spasm.

In today’s culture people often seem to want to focus on what we cannot do rather than celebrate what we are able to do. Even the term Disabled focuses on it. I don’t like being labelled  but if I have to be then I would rather be termed as Differently Able, as I am capable of doing the same things as any body else, it might just take me longer, I may even do it slightly differently but at the end of the day I can still do it!

One of my symptoms causes me to go blind. My eyes go into spasm and my eyeballs roll upwards in their sockets. Being blind on and off has taught me to appreciate the beauty that surrounds me in daily life. I previously took my sight for granted, the day I went blind for the first time terrified me, I was having a big panic that I would not be able to read again. Now when I am able to read I appreciate the ability more than ever before. Control of our bodies and good health is such a precious but fragile gift that people tend to abuse. We need to open our eyes to the world and learn to appreciate what we have. Society needs to understand the gifts that senses such as sight brings us and learn to focus on the positive side of things.

I could easily allow myself to drown in a pool of negativity but by focusing on the little things in life like being able to see, and by pushing myself to achieve what ever I set my mind to, I am able lead a positive life. I have my moments of being down, just like everyone does but I wont ever let having Dystonia beat me.

 

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Posted in Archive, May 2013

Dystonia Alien Gets Creative

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My Dystonia alien seems to have come up with yet another inventive spasm for me. Now my head and neck rather violently jerk to the left whilst my mouth opens and closes making a sort of popping noise. It’s rather painful and leaves me feeling like I have pulled the majority of the muscles involved.  The spasm happens all day, sometimes l go a few hours without it and then it will start all over again, I have noticed that when I get tired in the evening this spasm happens far more often.

My mum emailed my consultant for me last night, updating him and asking him if they were any closer to knowing when I would be admitted for a week. However it normally takes a fair period of time for him to get back to us, so I am not expecting to hear from him any time soon. I spoke to my GP this morning, asking him if there was anything he could suggest I do as I am in a fair amount of pain and getting to sleep and staying asleep is becoming almost impossible. At first he tried to persuade me to try the Clonzepam again, but as it turned me psychotic the last time and had me wanting to cut my hair off I told him I would not go back on it. So he has decided that I am to up my Tramadol, which is a pain blocker, to two pills in the morning and one pill in the evening until the pain side of things settles down, then I shall go down to one pill in the morning and one pill in the evening. I am also to go back on to a medication called Baclofen which is a muscle relaxant. I had been on this previously but my consultant took me off it as at the time it was not helping me, it made me forgetful and I was on a very high dose. My GPs thinking is that because so much more of me is affected by the Dystonia than previously the Baclofen may help, if it does help then I am to increase the dose.

I am really hoping all the medication does help, I feel like I have fought against Dystonia for a fair while now without a lot of help from the medical society, and a bit of help in this endless battle would be greatly appreciated. I have not been able to get to sleep easily lately and I am waking up often in the night due to spasms. Lack of sleep is beginning to add up and being rather tired in the day makes fighting against my Dystonia alien that little bit harder.

I am a big believer that when you suffer from any sort of illness you should always explore alternative therapies to see if you can get any relief from them as taking lots of pills (like I currently am) is not good for you. When I was little I suffered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and had reflexology for a period of time to help. It certainly relaxed me and I always had a great nights sleep afterwards. With that memory in mind I have found a reflexologist who comes to your house and is not too expensive. I have no idea if it will help me at all but my theory is this, when you have Dystonia you are advised to avoid stress and to try to stay relaxed, therefore having reflexology done, which is a relaxing/calming experience, should provide some sort of help, even if it is just having a great nights sleep afterwards. I am having my first session next Monday and I am really looking forward to it.

I am hoping that with a combination of medication and reflexology I should be able to feel ‘better’ in myself  and have more energy to fight Dystonia with!

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Posted in Archive, May 2013

Struggles develop strength!

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I have recently noticed that in life we underestimate our own strength and the strength of others. If you had told me two years ago that I was going to rely on a wheelchair, have seizures and suffer from agonising spasms every day, I would have told you that there was no way on earth I could deal with that. I also would have been terrified about the impact it would have on my family, my mum works full-time and studies for a degree, my step dad works full-time, my youngest sister is about to start her GCSE’s, my brother is just about to do his last GCSE’s exams and my other sister is just about to start her last A level exams, none of them would need me causing problems.

However now we are living that reality and strangely we are managing to cope. It is extremely hard and some days I have no idea how we are managing to deal with it all, but at the end of the day it does not matter how we are dealing with it, the fact that we are somehow coping is all that matters. I often feel like we are treading water and that at any minute something could go wrong, but it doesn’t.  Yes we have the odd incidence that knocks us back but as a family we support one another and that is what keeps us afloat.

There have been many evenings where my youngest sister, who is 14, has sat on my bed supporting my head and making sure that I don’t hurt myself while I seize or spasm. This sometimes upsets me because my 14-year-old sister should not be taking care of me, I should be taking care of her! Yet she is amazing and has the strength to do this, and she makes me laugh when ever I regain consciousness. My other sister and my brother have both also helped me on countless occasions. They are 16 and 18, again I want to look after them, however that’s not the reality right now.

The strength of my family amazes me everyday. Take this morning for example, I spent an hour and a half seizing and spasming on the kitchen floor, my mum also spent that time on the floor making sure I didn’t hurt myself. The rest of my family helped out, and then went around their own business like it was completely normal. I am so happy that incidences like this can be treated as normal as it takes away the ‘scary’ aspects of it.

I can’t imagine having to fight Dystonia on my own, and I am in awe of the people who do so everyday! Everything I have gone through over the last 10 months has been made so much easier by my family, I am so thankful that I have such strong, caring people in my life.

You never really know how strong you are until life decides to test you. A lesson I have learned from Dystonia is  never to doubt your inner strength, leap at every opportunity and fight with all your might every day. If you doubt yourself and back out you will never know what you are capable of doing. So embrace life and leap through every open door.

 

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