Its been a few weeks since I blogged and it is hard to know where to start as so much has happened. I have had hospital appointment after hospital appointment, and I find that I am still trying to wrap my head round them all. I’ll keep todays blog brief and just mention a couple of appointments.Thankfully though my Dystonia has not been too bad as of late, my legs are tolerating my splints with more ease which is making life and physiotherapy much easier.
Last week I had an appointment at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital to see a specialist to do with my Joint Hypermobility syndrome, she has decided she wants me put on an outpatient program there building up towards being put into a 3 week intensive rehabilitation program. It was extremely a positive appointment that has left me feeling very optimistic. Joint Hypermobility Syndrome combined with Dystonia means my body can end up in some weird and wonderful positions, which can be rather painful, so I am hoping this program will give me some coping tools.
On Wednesday I attended a local private hospital that treats Lyme Disease to see if they would consider treating me. The Dr was rather lovely and very thorough in her examinations which left me feeling quite confident. They took blood to test for a number of things including Lyme Disease, and explained the treatment process if the results they needed came back. Having treatment through this hospital will be extremely expensive however you cannot put a price on health. Lyme disease has robbed me off so much of my life, and in many cases literally takes people lives, I don’t plan on being next. The NHS turning a blindeye on this condition will be one that in years to come they will look back on with regret.
This coming week is filled with more appointments. I am rather looking forward to seeing my neurologist, I am going to ask if he will botox my calf again and see if this helps with learning to walk!
I intended to write this on Wednesday but this week has been extremely busy – I’m not complaining, I’m loving it, even if Benedict my Dystonia alien doesn’t. Between neurology appointments, college, horse riding and more college, I have been wheeling around like crazy, and sleeping fantastically well due to exhaustion.
I visited my wonderful neurologist on Tuesday, and got my six usual injections. Two to the eye area, jaw and neck. Receiving my injections makes me so happy that I have a trusting relationship with my neurologist, as I really dislike needles and would not let anyone else stick needles near my eyes! He even cracked a joke when cleaning the area with alcohol wipes that he was sorry it was not the good stuff…this really made me laugh as I’d just informed him I was going to try to come off some off my medications over the christmas period so that I could have a drink on christmas day, my 21st birthday and new year.
Whilst I was at my appointment my neurologist diagnosed me with chronic migraines. I have had what I thought were just normal but painful headaches for years. The opticians told me to tell my doctor but he just advised I drank more water which did not help. Recently I was having pains in the back of my eyes that have been so bad that I have had to shut them and go to sleep. I had been concerned that the pains were caused by my blindness, so have been relieved to have this diagnosis. He has promised to look into what treatment he can give me for them, so I look forward to my next visit.
Last week I hurt my back and neck when I had an episode of functional paralysis whilst sitting in my wheelchair – I ended up flopped out the side. This has resulted in a long recovery process. So I am extremely pleased that I have managed to cope with such a full on week.
Despite a repeat incident at college today, my back is not to bad! I find this reassuring as I hope this means that even though my Dystonia still acts up constantly, my body is finally getting used to all the extra activities I have started doing.
I feel like I have gone from drowning in this condition, to treading water, and now I have reached doggy paddle stage. I am not swimming up and down life like a good swimmer, but I’m moving around better, my head is firmly above water and I’m living life to the full.
It never fails to amaze me just how long my body takes to recover from illnesses and accidents these days. Pre-Dystonia I was one of the those people who always had some of thing going on be it sinusitis or a broken bone, but I always bounced back. I fell and ended up in the hospital a week and a bit ago, and yet I still don’t feel back to my usual dysfunctional self.
Many Dystonia sufferers have informed me if they get an infection or have an accident it takes them longer than most to get back to their selves again. So I know I’m not alone, but its irritating. I’m still sore, tired and my spasms and paralysis are being triggered more than usual. I know I sound grumpy! I do not mean to, but lack of sleep and some new sensations in my legs have set my teeth on edge. At least I know I shall sleep tonight after todays Reflexology session.
A couple of days ago this new sensation hit my legs (knee down). It’s extremely hard to put it into words exactly what it feels like. It sort of feels like sharp pins and needles mixed in with a numbing sensation. I try my best to distract myself but the sensation is rather uncomfortable. Part of me wishes that it would hurt enough that my brain would disconnect from my legs so I that I would not be able to feel it just for a little while.
On a far more positive note I would like to thank the lovely people who have nominated my blog and Facebook page for a WEGO health activist award. It is extremely touching and uplifting! I have had a number of people ask me how to go about nominating me, I put it on my twitter and Facebook page, but for those who have not seen it, here is the link http://awards.wegohealth.com/ .
Terror. That one word sums up how I felt for 7 hours last night. My face had not been good for most the day, and by the evening my tongue didn’t want to stay inside my mouth and my jaw was slightly deviating. This eventually became rather painful so we resorted to Oramorph and I tried to take a nap in the hope of sleeping the spasm off. However the symptoms I woke up to terrified me to the point of tears.
My brain had disconnected from the lower half of my face leaving me functionally paralysed. This meant I could not open my mouth, talk, eat, drink, swallow, take meds etc. I could do nothing, and I could feel nothing. I was terrified. Now I’ve had a similar thing happen to my legs before but whilst that unnerved me I could deal with it as I could communicate what was going on and they always came back fairly quickly. However this time it took 7 hours to come back and with each passing hour I grew more and more scared. I had no idea what to do.
Doctors have no idea why this happens hence the term functional put in front. My neurologist thinks that for me this is my body’s way of coping with pain. When the pain triggers a response from my flight or fight system, my body chooses to flee by shutting itself down. I have no control over this and it scares me. The medication that can help with it I am unable to take as it interacts with other medications that I rely on.
Last nights 7 hours of facial functional paralysis was a new level of fear. I had no idea what to do. I could not communicate my fear. I tried my best to sleep, in the hope that relaxing and resting would help. However I found it very hard to relax and get to sleep. I managed some sleep but it was very on and off, every time I woke up to discover that it was still paralysed I became more unsettled. Thankfully at 3am my brain reconnected and I quickly took all the pain meds I could and went back to sleep.
This morning everything seems to be working, however I am on the weary side of it all, and still rather nervous. I am only eating very soft foods and trying not to talk to much to try to avoid triggering anything else off. Luckily I have an appointment coming up on the 8th with my neurologist so I can discuss this incident with him and get an idea of what to do should this happen again – hopefully it won’t.
I hope that I shall never experience this disturbing symptom again.
Over the last couple of days I have not felt to great and my spasms have been awful. I have found myself going from being boiling hot one moment to shaking with cold the next, along with some interesting spasms. My legs latest trick is to spasm so that the leg is completely back to front, which is not a comfortable position to be in. I am going to try and get my mum to capture a picture of it the next time it happens.
Thankfully today I am feeling slightly more like myself and my spasms have been less extreme. I don’t know if the antibiotics that I am on as a trial for possible Lyme Disease caused the increase in spasms or if I was just under the weather.
I am still waiting to hear from my consultant in regards to being admitted for a week so that I can get some help. We last heard from him on around the 15th April and despite us sending him several emails and chasing his secretary we have heard nothing. When ever I have an appointment with my consultant he seems great, however I am getting more and more frustrated with the lack of help I am getting! Everything that was being arranged for me seems to be not quiet what he gave me the impression it would be. Last October he put me on the waiting list for an inpatient intensive therapy program, and told me that the waiting list for the program was about a year long. However I had an appointment up at the hospital the other day where I was interviewed by two members of staff who will at some point decide IF they are going to admit me to the ward or not. IF I do get admitted it will not be until around June 2014.
I struggle to believe that there is no other help out there that could be put in place for me now. I understand that hospital wards are busy, however surly there must somewhere be at least an outpatient Neuro Physiotherapy service that I could be referred to This is going to be something I will discuss with him when I eventually get to see him. I am hoping that I will at least have an outpatient appointment with him soon as I am in need of my Botox injections for my jaw and neck to be redone.
Until my consultant sorts everything out I am going to keep my fingers crossed that Lyme Disease is what has caused this mess, as at least then I know the cause and that is one thing I can stop worrying about.
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.
Today started out on a bit of a low but ended on a high. This morning my step dad and I, set out rather early to battle the snow, to get me to a hospital appointment in Chelmsford, Essex. The drive normally takes an hour from Tring (Hertfordshire) but due to snowy conditions took a lot longer than expected and at times we were doubtful we would make it there on time. Thankfully we arrived at the hospital 20 minutes early so had time for a quick coffee before going into see my consultant.
I was getting the results back from some procedures I had recently had (2 different types of Endoscopy’s) , in relation to difficulties I have had for some time with vomiting regurgitation and acid reflux. It turns out I have a condition called Rumination syndrome. For many years this condition was thought to be a psychogenic condition that only affect infants and mentally disabled people. However, more recently it has been discovered that it can affect healthy infants, adolescents and adults as well, and in the majority of cases is not psychogenic… yet they still have not found out what causes this. It is poorly understood and is often unheard of by the medical profession, patients and public. Unfortunately there are no pills or surgery to cure the condition My consultant also believes that I have Dystonia affecting my Oesophagus and thinks that this aggravates the Rumination Syndrome. However, the Rumination Syndrome, does not really bother me at the moment, so I am not to fussed about it. I know that by the time I wake up tomorrow I will most likely have forgotten all about it. That may sound silly but I do not see the point in concentrating on the negatives in life.
On a more positive note however, whilst I was in Chelmsford today, I went and met up with one of my close uni friends, and had a fabulous girlie day out shopping! I tried to push myself around the shops, however my arm was not at its best and after sending a number of objects flying in New Look, we deemed it sensible for Emma to spend the rest of the day pushing me around. The poor girl.
I had such a fantastic time. Not only did I get to have a good catch up with her but I also felt like a normal everyday young adult! I did not have my parents with me, which gave me more independence, and I felt like I was on top of the world. The day went perfectly minus one or two spasms. It gave me so much confidence.
I was rather sad to leave Chelmsford, as when I was at uni there, I completely loved the city, and could not imagine ever moving away from it. The last time I was there was the day I moved out of the uni accommodation in July last year, after Dystonia put a stop to my Midwifery training.
However I refuse to focus on the negative. I am concentrating on how much of an amazing day it was and it was so good to see my friend. I am completely exhausted from it, so I am going to bed early tonight. I have a great week planned, a friend is coming to see me on Wednesday, I am going riding on Thursday, another uni friend is coming to see me on Friday, my boyfriend is coming round on Saturday and my grandparents are coming over on Sunday! It is going to be a good week.
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