We recently got back from a beautiful family holiday on the coast. The weather was fantastic, and there is something relaxing about waking up to the sound of the sea lapping against sand. Going on holiday with Dystonia requires a fair amount of preparation. Every medication I’m currently prescribed has to be brought with us, just in case of an emergency, so that we can try to ‘contain’ the amount of spasms and deviation my body endures. Even though I can walk, both my walking sticks and my wheelchair were also packed. In all honesty I thought that packing the wheelchair was overkill, but then I have never enjoyed being it, I used to quite literally bum shuffle around the house rather than use my chair.
As many of you will be aware I have recently had a change in neurologist. At my first consultation with him he declared that he would not be following my old injection routine and that we would be switching from 6 weekly to 10 weekly injections. My objections to this change fell on stubborn, deaf ears. Due to his determination I spent my holiday, and the weeks either side of it, unable to consume solid food. Smoothies and soup were my saving grace. Chewing led to rather painful jaw spasms. It made sense to switch to soft/liquid foods in order to trigger the spasms less.
I spent several hours on a couple of separate occasions functionally blind whilst we were away. My eyes had spasmed shut. This was a complete shock to the system, my condition has been incredibly well managed for so long. It is my arm and jaw that I am used to contending with; not my eyes. I don’t think I’ve felt as thankful for my wheelchair as I had in that moment. For once I did not begrudgingly sit in it, I clambered in thankful that it enabled me to still be out with my family whilst lessening the risk of injuring myself. My family were fantastic, describing the sights in front of them to me so I could conjure up in my mind’s eye my own version. My brother amused us all by whizzing around the aquarium with me clutching on to the wheelchair with fear and hilarity.
I would much rather have not had to fight my Dystonia whilst I was away, but in hindsight I’m glad I had no option but to do so. Not only did it create some great memories, but it gave me the strength to not back down when I visited my new neurologist this past Wednesday. I stood my ground and managed to get him to agree to seven weekly injections and back at my normal dosage. This has left me feeling optimistic and far more relaxed about my upcoming move to university.
Todays blog is only a quick one, but I just want to start it by saying I hope you have all had a fabulous Christmas. I have been extremely lucky and spent this Christmas and my 21st Birthday seizure free and with only a handful of spasms! I feel very blessed to have been able to spend both occasions in very little pain, especially as pain is 99% of the time my constant companion.
Over the Christmas period I have felt the best I have in a long time. Between regular Botox injections for my Dystonia, antibiotics for my Chronic Lyme, and all the other meds thrown in, I have managed to reach an incredibly happy place. I have managed to reach a place where I am not scared to chew my food incase my jaw tremors, where I can speak clearly, where I can brush my hair without the brush getting stuck in my hand. I am in such a different place to where I was last year and I am so unbelievably happy.
Thinking back to last year, and then looking forward to the upcoming year I am filled with hope. So much has changed for the better this last year, and I hope it continues in this way. This time last year I had hoped that I would eventually learn to live with this condition, and in the space of a year I have learned to live with it, and tricks to sneak around it (the power of hot water bottles), I have learned that no matter how hideous things may seem it does get better, that I can have a life. I have learnt so much, and I am sure I will learn more. In between kicking my Dystonia Aliens butt I plan on having as much as fun as possible.
Incase I don’t have time to blog again beforehand (I’m fantastically busy at the moment :-D) I wish you all a fantastic New Year full of joy.
As I have mentioned before my body does not react very well to me getting ill, even colds cause my Dystonia alien to act up more than usual. Therefore I have spent today spasming, having seizures and trying to find the energy to get things done. I have not slept well the last few nights which I know will be aggravating my symptoms – thankfully I have reflexology tomorrow which should help with my sleep.
I have spent a lot of time thinking today about goals. I have lots of long-term ones that I am determined to achieve, but it occurred to me today that I also needed short-term ones as well. Goals that would keep me motivated even when I am feeling under the weather and my body is at its worst. I have decided that my first goal will be to be to walk in my splints around the house by Christmas without crutches! As I am starting neurophysiotherapy soon I see no reason as to why this cannot happen. I was walking around the house last Christmas and I shall, with the aid of my splints, be walking by this Christmas.
There is a girl on my college course who I find very inspirational. Despite being young (17), she is coping amazingly well with a combination of different conditions. One of her issues is that she cannot feel her legs – she has some very limited feeling in her upper thighs but that’s it and yet with the help of crutches she walks. Now most of the time I can feel my legs, and I have the extra help of splints, so it is time to put them to good use and start walking!
I know that I may not be able to walk every day due to my Dystonia aliens games, but I will walk as far as I can every day, whether that only be walking 2 footsteps or walking for 2 hours, I shall every day walk! And I shall do this by Christmas!
As you will know from my previous blog post a couple of days ago I was withdrawn from university after being on sick leave for a year because of my Dystonia. I had a few days of “why me” and “I want to go back to placement” before I actually sat down and thought this is not the end of the world, I refuse to do nothing, what can I realistically do now. So I had a look at my local colleges and what they offered, to see if I could find anything that interests me. I had been toying with the idea of going into reflexology for a while now and discovered that one of the colleges near me offers it. As my hands are behaving very well at the moment, I have taken a leap of faith and applied for the course. I am waiting to hear now if I have an interview or not. Not only will I be able to study if I get place but it will be a great chance for me to meet new people.
On holiday we discovered that my ability to go out and about had grown, so I was able to do much more than I was used to. Since coming home I have made a conscious effort to try to maintain this new tolerance level. I have managed to come through and spend some time in the living room and eat with my family in the dining room etc often, which is a huge improvement to before where I spent the majority of my time in my room. I even made it to Church today.
I have reached a point now where I am finishing a chapter and starting a new one so to speak. I have spent the last year hoping that some cure would magically be found and that this september I would be back at uni. Now that the reality has hit, I am closing that chapter an opening a new one that is full of possibilities. Maybe I shall get on to this reflexology course, maybe I won’t, who knows where I will end up.
Dystonia has been controlling my life now for long enough. I acknowledge that it’s always going to be apart of me, but I control my own life and I’m taking back the reins. I just need to know my body’s boundaries and respect them, so that I can start living my life again.
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.
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!
At this very moment in time, I feel like my body spent the whole of last night trying to get back at me for writing a positive post yesterday. I had spent the whole of yesterday feeling rather odd, like half my brain was missing and the other half was covered in fog. By the evening my jaw was really playing up, with my dystonia pulling each side of my face in opposite directions, which was agony, this of course then led on to hours of Non Epileptic Seizures. Consequently I have woken up this morning feeling like my body has been run over by a bulldozer and my head been repeatedly hit by a hammer. However on the bright side of things, today my jaw Dystonia is a lot better than yesterday.
I have decided that today I shall completely avoid solid food and only consume softer food such as soup or yoghurt, in an attempt to try and prevent my Jaw from playing up so much, as I really want to be able to enjoy tonight’s New Years Party.
Tomorrow I plan on writing a letter to my consultant, to ask for a date for him to administer my injections and to ask for a plan to be put in place for future injections to be administered. I am hopeful that I shall not have to wait to much longer for these injections, considering he was meant to do them several weeks ago, but failed to give us a date.
I am hoping that the New Year shall be filled with positivity and improvement.
I am happy to announce that over the Christmas period my Dystonia behaved, with the exception of one or two moments. The relief I felt after going Christmas day and my birthday without having my dystonia play up was immense! I had worried a lot about spending the Christmas period in agony, thank fully I ended up worrying for nothing. To make things even better I even managed to spend 6 hours clothes shopping with my family, with only my eyes playing up now and then. I managed to get in and out of my wheelchair frequently so I could try clothes on without my leg making to much of a fuss. By the end of the day, I was exhausted and found it very difficult to move around, but this did not bother me as the fact I managed to spend so long out and about and try clothes on was a major achievement for me!
Yesterday I picked up my glasses from the opticians, this means that I can now start judging whether it is my eyes straining that causes my eyes to spasm and go blind. Every day, I am going to keep a diary of what activities I have done and how my eyes have reacted to each activity, this will enable me to have a fairly accurate idea (after a number of weeks) as to whether my theory to why I go blind is right or not. I am quiet excited, as if I am right and wearing glasses helps stop the spasms, this will make a significant impact on my life.
My jaw dystonia is really playing up at the moment, which in turn brings on my Non Epileptic Seizures. Despite my consultant emailing me 3 weeks ago saying he would do my Botox injections next week, I have still not received a date for it to be done. When I finally get to see him and have the injections done, I am going to ask him if there is anyway we can just book a date in advance, for around the time the injections stop working, to have treatment again. To me this is a logical step to make, however it is becoming more and more apparent to me that the NHS system is not necessarily a logical one.
I hope you all had a fantastic Christmas and that you all have a great new year.
There is currently an advert on the T.V (I can’t remember which one it is, it looks like a Christmas one) that has a line in it that I love, ‘Take the good with the bad’. This is so true, everyone goes through good and bad experiences in life, and at the end of the day, it is up to them what they choose to take from that experience.
Dystonia is not what I would call a good experience, to be rather honest it sucks and I would rather not have it, however this does not mean that I won’t take something positive from the experience. For example, because of Dystonia I did a charity run and raised £715 for the Dystonia society. Instead of focusing on all the negatives that Dystonia causes, I make myself think about the positives, such as I managed to wrap all the Christmas presents I had brought one-handed and they looked better than normal, I even wrote my Christmas cards with my left hand!
I understand that sometimes it can be hard to focus on the positives when you are in the midst of a bad time. However I think that forcing yourself to focus on the positives is the best thing you can do, it gives you a distraction from the negative. There is no point in sitting around wallowing, when you can be thinking of the positives; such as your personal achievements, and trying to figure out how you can make something good out of the experience.
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