What can I do for you today? It’s the standard greeting I find I’m met with at every doctors appointment, no matter the speciality. Perfectly poliet, open ended so therefore inviting me to dive in to the promblem that has brought me to their office. Expcept lately that is not how that questions makes me feel, it leaves me biting my sarcastic answer off of my tongue. Fix me, take my pain away, how about just stop my constant deterioation please and i’ll make do as I am but please press pause in the meantime. Let me correct myself, it’s not sarcasm, it’s truth, it’s honest words from a scared vulnerable person who wont utter them because I know the reality is the Drs are trying but their isn’t much they can do.
I was diagnosed yesterday with Trigeminal Neuragia, along with being informed they no longer expect the sight I’ve lost (the majority of it) in my left eye to return; I can see blurry outlines but I cannot work out shapes or distance. It was a bit of a hit emotionally as whenever I have had Optic neuritis before my sight has recovered fairly well, however this has been going on for a while now and if anything the pain has gotten worse behind my eye, it is incredibly intense. I’m trying not to dwell on this too much while we await my Evoked Potential results and wait for a date for my lumbar puncture test. Hopefully these tests will shed some light as to what is going on currently.
In the mean time I feel much like this blog; I am all over the place, one minute quite happy dealing with things as they come, the next frustrated that despite almost a decade of chronic illness a level of normality is yet to be reached. I’m still fighting against the current of deteriation. It may be as useless as trying to swim the wrong way around wild rapids but it helps to know that I am trying to do something to counter the every growing pill box.
Being chronically means I live with the knowledge that at some point, someday I will have a flare of one or more of my conditions. I could go months without one and then have several back to back, or they could be fairly regular. Flare ups are unpredictable, sometimes it’s obvious as to what caused them, and other times there seems to be no rhyme or reason to them. Managing them is a joke. Other than knocking back the muscle relaxants and painkillers the only thing to do is try and ride it out.
I’m currently in the middle of an Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Type 3 and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome flare up. Agony is not a strong enough word to describe the sheer amount of pain that I am in. I knew my EDS flare up was coming, my pain had been getting dramatically worse over 72 hours and it felt like I had battered every inch of my body. What I wasn’t prepared for however was my CRPS to act up.
It’s hard to communicate to people who don’t have CRPS exactly what type of hellish pain it is. The only way I can think to describe is this. Imagine you have several vegetable peelers the width of your leg, someone is dragging all of them down every millimetre of your leg with excruciating slowness. Digging the blade in to the point it reaches your bones. This evil being has a partner in crime, who is simultaneously pouring vinegar into your open wounds whilst dropping lit matches on to you. On top of all of this is Benedict the Dystonia Alien who is rejoicing in contorting your leg in every position imaginable heightening the pain further.
This pain is constant. Its at the point were it feels like a miracle if I manage 5 minutes without crying. My oramorph only makes a slightly dent in the pain. Sleep is a distant memory as my leg is ravaged with mind boggling pain. All I can do is hope and pray that this flare up ends soon and does not once again become a fixture in my day to day life.
I am so angry right now. I have tried to get in to see my GP for about two weeks now, but as I have been unable to see him I asked him to phone me. I wanted to discuss having IV antibiotics arranged. When I saw my neurologist 5 weeks ago, he agreed that a lumbar puncture would do me more damage than good and that it was worth switching from oral antibiotics to IV. My neurologist put all of this in a letter for my GP.
My GP is usual a great source of help, and I usually think he is fantastic – however usual is the key word here. Today was one of those days where he was exceptionally un-helpful and left me in a rage. He stated that he did not want to arrange it as it would be “complicated”, and he wants me to come in so he can explain why it was “complicated”. When I pointed out the reason I had not been into see him was because he was fully booked in the evenings when someone is at home to take me, he claimed that was nonsense – I had to bite my tongue at this point as I’m sure the receptionist would not lie to me for 2 weeks about him being booked up. He then asked to speak to my mother!!!! Now I am sorry but I am 20, why on earth is he asking this?! Now my mother comes to all my appointments with me, but really what is so complicated that he has to explain to my mum instead of myself?
I feel disgusted, disappointed and disheartened. He wants ANOTHER letter from my neurologist about IV treatment. Luckily I have an appointment with my Neurological Consultant next Tuesday, so I shall explain and ask him to write another one then, but this is all beyond ridiculous. He already has one letter stating it, how will another one saying the same thing make any difference?
I could go privately and pay for the treatment myself, however it is very expensive and I don’t see why I should to do so, when my neurologist was happy for it to be done on the NHS. Why does the medical profession insist on picking a fight with me at every hurdle? All I want is to rid me body of the disease that caused my Dystonia, is that really too much to ask? After all if they had picked up on it 14 years ago I would not have Dystonia now!
On Friday my jaw developed a painful tremor (see video on previous post) that has caused me more and more issues. Since Friday I have visited the out of hours doctors, been rushed by ambulance to hospital, and had an urgent visit to the dentist as the tremor is actually dislodging my teeth! It all is beginning to get a little bit too much and I desperately want the pain to go away. Knowing that the tremor is actually dislodging some of my teeth concerns me a lot. I still have a few baby teeth with no adult ones underneath them, so to know that this tremor is dislodging them is rather alarming. The Dentist I saw was an extremely lovely chap who reassured me that everything would be done to keep my baby teeth in for as long as possible.
As I have mentioned previously we have been emailing my consultant for several weeks now asking if he could book me in for Botox injections. Today I finally got a date, for three weeks time (July 16th). This is 5 weeks later than normal. Now this may not seem like a long time, but being in agony 24/7 and struggling to eat and drink makes the situation almost unbearable, I am currently only just about coping by taking Oramorph (morphine) and Diazepam. It is also extremely debilitating. I have pain triggered non epileptic seizures, not only does this often result in me ending up in hospital but it also puts major parts of my life on hold. I normally go to my local Riding for the Disabled stable on a thursday for a riding lesson, this is an activity that is extremely important to me and one that I thoroughly enjoy, however I am unable to ride when I am having so many seizures.
There was also no mention of my week admittance into the hospital that was meant to happen over two months ago in this email. I am now sadly looking into transferring to another consultant at another hospital as I feel completely neglected by my consultant. I feel like he dangles hope in front of me and then snatches it away without warning.
On a more cheery note I got my splint for my left leg yesterday! This makes things like getting in and out of the house so much easier and has so far been a joy to wear. It is amazing how much of a difference the little things in life can make!
Yesterday I went up to London for an appointment with my consultant. I went prepared with many questions, and was determined to get everything I needed done. I left the appointment feeling very happy and relieved! My consultant had been extremely apologetic about the delay in getting back to us and the delay in administering treatment. He assured my mother and I, that this would not happen again, and that we were to email him if something else happened or when I needed my next lot of Botox done.
My main aim of the meeting was to leave with a care plan in place and to have received my Botox treatment. I was rather pleased, that instead of me having to ask for this, he brought the subject up himself. After feeling my Ormandibular Dystonia, he agreed to administer the Botox into both sides of my jaw. This lifted a massive weight of me, as I have stressed about this for weeks. It is a huge relief to know that in about a weeks time when the Botox kicks in, I will be feeling so much better!
My consultant has also referred me to a short stay physiotherapy/rehabilitation scheme at the hospital. In which they will admit me into the hospital for five days, and give me intensive physiotherapy/rehabilitation, they will also send me home with physiotherapy exercises to do. I am still on the waiting list for inpatient treatment on a longer basis, however the waiting list for this is a year-long. He is also referring me to one of my local hospitals to receive outpatient CBT, to help me deal with my Non Epileptic Seizures. The idea of this is to help give me methods to deal with pain, as my seizures are triggered by extreme pain.
Another big plus is that he is more than happy for me to start riding at my local stables, which once a week hold lessons for the disabled. He thought it was a very positive idea! I am over the moon as it means that I can get back on a horse!!! Hopefully (depending on the weather) I shall be having my first lesson later on this week, if the weather does not improve than I shall have my first lesson next week!
Yesterday was so positive, and has restored my faith in my consultant. I had gone to my appointment ready to fight to get treatment, instead it was all offered to me with out me having to ask! It is a huge relief to know that in 7-10 days time, the Botox will have kicked in fully and I will not have to worry about my jaw going into spasm for a while!
Yesterday was an extremely odd day. To be honest I remember nothing of it! Apparently as I was mixing up my medicine in the kitchen, I collapsed and fell on to our tiled floor and then went on to have a hell of a lot of Non Epileptic Seizures along with extreme Jaw spasms, with mere seconds of consciousness between each one. Due to the fact I really hit my head and arm hard when I collapsed, I was rushed off to hospital in an ambulance. Whilst at the hospital I was monitored for hours and had my hip x-rayed (thank-fully I had not broken it). It was while we were at the hospital that my mother noticed that I was also having Non Epileptic seizures which weren’t taking on their usual form. I was staring blankly, and not responding when my mum spoke to me or when she waved her hands in front of my face. This is slightly concerning as it means that I may be having more Non Epileptic Seizure than we are aware of.
Today I have woken up feeling like I have been run over repeatedly by a truck. I am therefore spending the day medicated to the max, and in bed. The thought of moving is not one I welcome. This incident has given me yet another issue to talk to my consultant about as it is getting beyond ridiculous now.On the bright side of things, whilst my Jaw Dystonia is still playing up, it is not to bad today, which is a relief.
Friday to yesterday afternoon went fantastically, for once the Dystonia alien decided to take a bit of a break and let me be normal (well as normal as I could be). I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. However last night after dinner, the alien decided it wanted to make itself known. It started with my jaw/facial muscles, being pulled in every direction, which caused absolute agony in my TMJ (the jaw joint). Shortly after the spasms ended, another one started, which was more extreme than the last. Due to the pain the spasms were causing, I ended up having a Non Epileptic Seizure. This annoyed me somewhat, as I had managed eight weeks without one.
Since last night my jaw has stayed in a fixed spasm. It is being pushed to the left, whilst also being stuck slightly open. I cannot even begin to describe the pain that this is causing. Due to this I have had to resort to stronger pain killers. These pain killers are great but they do make me feel like I am away with the fairies. However I would rather feel a bit odd, than be in agony. This spasm has also created other problems, such as I am now unable to eat anything other than soup and yoghurt, due to the way the jaw has spasmed, and I am struggling to drink even through a straw. So now all I can do is wait for my GP to send off a referral for me to see someone about treatment.
There is a positive side to all of this though. I have been trying to lose some weight so I am hoping that by only being able to eat yoghurt and soup, it should help with the weight loss. 🙂 There is a silver lining to all problems.
So I know Dystonia is thought of by the medical society as incurable but I have to disagree. Personally I think that the medical society know so little about Dystonia, that to say it is incurable is madness. Just because they have not found a magic treatment plan or pill that works for everyone does not mean it cannot be cured. Why accept such such a depressing prognosis? Why not stand up and say NO! I am going to beat this thing and prove you all wrong!!
Life has thrown a hell of a lot at me and so far I have beaten every single thing. I plan on beating Dystonia too. In 2009, I suffered from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and I was hospitalised for six long months, yet I didn’t let it win! It took about 9 months but I beat it! I had to teach myself to walk again, I had to retain my brain to understand that things touching my leg weren’t actually harming me. It was agonising but I beat it!
If I can beat CRPS then I can beat Dystonia. The doctors all admit that CRPS and Dystonia are very similar, and treatment for them both is again very similar. So in my eyes if I can beat one, then I can beat both! Before all of this happened in July, I was so happy, I was training to be a midwife and loving it! I refuse to let Dystonia stop me!
So little Dystonia alien, if you can hear me, I would be very afraid! You have had your fun and now it is time for you to leave! I have had enough of you controlling my body! I am going to take back my body and I am going to go back to my studies!
Yesterday the little dystonia alien decided it was bored of manipulating my face, arm and hand. It decided it needed yet another toy. It chose my leg! For a long time now my leg has not been completely normal, every now and then it would over bend or I would get odd sensations running up and down it. I choose to ignore these niggles and put it down to issues I had had previously with my leg. However the last 4 or 5 days these niggles had got more frequent and were more noticeable, I decided that now was the time to speak up and express my concerns. So off we went to the doctors and yet another medicine was added to my cocktail of drugs, in attempt to try and lessen the dystonia aliens effects.
Yesterday the alien decided to up its game again. Instead of causing the usual niggles, it decided to cause a painful spasm that twisted my foot inwards and curled my toes up, then it decided to shake violently. The alien decided to do this each time I attempted to walk. In the end I could just about walk on the tips of my toes, however sometimes this set the alien off as well. So I spent the day hopping around, trying to get on with the day as usual and attempting to distract my self. However when I got up to try and walk today, I decided to try and walk normally, hoping that the spasm would not return. But after taking two steps the alien decided to play games, the spasms once again twisted my foot inwards at a bent angle and curled my toes up before shaking violently.
Due to the little dystonia alien also affecting my right arm and hand, I cannot even walk with a crutch, as holding a crutch would set off the spasm in that hand and arm. Therefore I have had to resort to using a wheelchair for getting out and about. Its not a ideal option but for the time being its a realistic one. I went out shopping with my parents to get a few bits today in my wheelchair. At first I was bit anxious, I knew that now more than ever I would be stared at. However once again I found that the stares just reassured me that I could do this, that I didn’t mind. After all, if it was the other way round I would most likely also be just as rude and look.
I feel so thankful for the support and love I get from my family and friends. Without them it would be a much harder battle with dystonia. With their love, help and support, I am able to get on with daily life and be happy. I know that no matter how hard things get, they will always be there for me. I am so thankful for them!
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