Today I had my first one to one session with a local Yoga teacher. I had been inspired to give this a go after hearing a number of other Dystonia sufferers saying they managed to do it and enjoyed it. The teacher was lovely, she believed in completely looking at my body as a whole and worked out what I could do, not what I couldn’t! This to me was important as it took away the feeling of being disabled. For me interestingly enough I found that my hypermobility was my main issue more than my Dystonia during the session, as I had to work on controlling my flexibility so that I did not over flex the pose.
Research has shown that the benefits of yoga for movement disorders include improved strength, flexibility, balance etc. This is something that I am working towards (minus the flexibility) as due to my muscle spasms I am aware that the strength in places like my legs will not be as good as they were before I was ill. I never had a sense of balance, so if I can gain that then I’m not going to complain!
I found the whole experience to be actually quite relaxing. The fact that my Dystonia only played up a handful of times meant that I could really enjoy the session and appreciate what I was doing. My teacher was surprised at how much she could get me to do, this pleased me as I felt like I was achieving something. She explained as we went along what each pose would help with and what muscle it would stretch. By the end of the session we had a whole routine put together that I will do for half an hour every morning. I am hoping that by doing regular Yoga my muscles will get used to being stretched often, that way when it next does one of its extremes spasms – like the one that damaged my knee ligament – I won’t do as much damage to my body and I won’t be in as much pain. As much as I hope I never have to deal with that sort of extreme spasm again I know there is a good chance I will have to. I am extremely interested to see if this will help.
After Tuesday nights functional paralysis drama, I am pleased to report that my little Dystonia alien has not scared me witless with a repeat episode (so far). In fact other than a light and pain triggered seizure whilst at college yesterday, I have been rather good. I even managed to go riding on Thursday!
I spent Wednesday in bed resting, as I did not want to trigger off any spasms or seizures as I desperately wanted to attend both college and riding on Thursday. Amazingly my Dystonia gave me break from the recent dramatics and I only had to contend with my usual spasms. The normality of the usual spasms were a much-needed breath of fresh air. Both college and riding went fantastically well, with my spasms only acting up right at the end of riding – thankfully that was perfect timing,
Yesterday, for several hours my legs were functionally paralysed, this did not scare me as I am used to this happening several times a week. It turned out that it had been triggered by me strapping my splints to my legs too tightly – but hey its a lesson learnt. I now know to always check the tightness after strapping myself to them. I had a little light and pain triggered seizure whilst I was at college yesterday. I feel very lucky that the college dealt with this calmly and once I regained consciousness they let me carry on as if nothing had ever happened, which is just how I hoped they would react.
Today my body is extremely sore and I am experiencing an on/off functional paralyses to my legs. Therefore I am having a lazy day in bed. I am so happy that I am managing college and riding. I had been worried that the two would be too much for my body to cope with, but so far so good. It is days like the last few that remind me that despite being in a wheelchair and not really having control of my body, I can still make a life for myself and enjoy the things I love. I just have to remember to balance things out… I’ll get the hang of balancing eventually 😉
As each day goes by, I realise more and more just how much I used to take for granted. I never once thought twice about the fact that I could cook my own meals, come and go freely from my house, dress with ease, or climb stairs. They were just regular daily things that I did. I know now, how luck I was to be able to do all of those things.
At uni, I could wake up half an hour before a lecture and have had breakfast, gotten dressed, and been out the front door in 20 minutes. Now I wake up and have to decide whether I need to yell for someone to help me through to the kitchen for breakfast or if I think I can hop to it myself. I cannot cook or carry things due to the fact I am highly likely to end up having a spasm or go blind. Some days even just putting my trousers on can take a good twenty to thirty minutes. All in all, just getting ready for the day can take me a good hour and a half, and on bad days over two hours.
Getting me in and out of the house is yet another issue. First I have to hop down to get out the front door and then hop up three rather big steps. This would not be so bad if I had the ability to balance or had some coordination.Unfortunately I have neither, so trying to get me out or into the house normally involves me trying my best not to hop/fall into the bushes but I usually fail. In the past even with the use of both legs, I have managed to fall down these steps numerous times.
Despite having to battle with my dystonia daily, just so that I am dressed for the day or so that I can go out, I remain positive. I am convinced that with all the hoping I am having to do, I will eventually learn to balance and have some sense of coordination. Even if I don’t manage to learn these two skills at least I shall provide entertainment for those around me.