The other day I wrote about how negative the majority of my appointments have been recently.I am thrilled to say that this trend has not continued recently. Last week I attended a physiotherapy session, I had gone prepared to do battle and expected to be discharged at the end of the appointment. I could not have been more wrong! The appointment on a whole was extremely positive and uplifting. I made such progress last week that I could not believe it, I don’t think my physiotherapists could either. I wore my splint for the entire session which enabled me to do more as my spasms are contained to a degree. My physiotherapists have not run a full session with me wearing my splint before, and I think they were quite amazed at the difference it makes. We are hopeful that the upcoming adaptations to my splint which in theory will contain my spasms further, will enable me to walk properly as my foot should not be able to turn upside down.
I met with the Orthotics today to discuss the adaptations that are going to be done on my splint. The original plan had been to make one that would fully encase my leg, however this had several risks to it. At the moment several of the straps on my splint are slightly elasticated, this is great for comfort but when my foot spasms it means it can get into pretty much any position it feels like. Instead of going for a full on enclosing splint they are going to swap the current straps for more restrictive ones with no give to see if this makes a difference. Hopefully it will, and if it doesn’t then we go back to the original plan. I also had splints fitted to both of my knees while I was there on the request of my physiotherapists. The idea behind this is that it will prevent my knees bending back as far due to my hypermobility, and they hope that this extra support may lessen the spasms in my feet. They have no idea if it will or not but it is worth a try.
Luckily these knee splints fit under my trousers as they are rather bulky! However to show you all what I am on about I have taken a photo with them over my trousers.
I’ve had several appointments with different professionals recently with mixed results. At the moment I feel like I am at a stalemate with my physiotherapists with them determinedly ignoring my Neurologists instructions to see me weekly and me refusing to let them ignore his instructions without putting up a fight (in a calm but firm manner). When I last saw them they gave me exercises to do at home and said they would see me again in two weeks. However if they get their way this will be the last time they see me, as they feel that until I can weight bare there is nothing more they do to help me.
Now I have to bite my tongue every time they tell me this as it was they who told me that I must absolutely not weight bare! As you can imagine this has left me very confused. To add to the confusion, only the other month they informed me the ligaments in my foot were damaged and extremely lax due to my spasms hence why I am not allowed to weight bare, yet now weight baring is all they are focused on! Whenever I ask how my foot is to heal they tell me that is up to my Neurologists plan. The worrying thing is other than more physiotherapy there is no plan of action, when I last saw my neurologist he explained he had limited resources so treatment was limited.
One of my physios big things have been that I need to get myself a new splint made, as they have now decided they are not going to refer me for a second skin one, though it has not been explained to me as to why. I saw my local Orthotics department on Friday, he was a very lovely man and I must admit that I was slightly amused to see he shared my frustration at my physiotherapists as apparently they should have written to him if they were going to make recommendations on splints. He informed me that in his entire career he had not seen such force in spasms and he did not think that splints would be of any use to me. He was concerned that if he made a splint that contained my foot all the way round then I could end up severely hurting myself when I spasm. I can see where his concern is coming from, and he is most likely right, however after much pleading from me he agreed to get his colleague who has dealt with my spasms before to take a look at me and make the splint. Even though I know this splint could result in injury, I am willing to try it. I am willing to try anything that may contain my Dystonia and make my life easier! It holds the possibility of enabling to me to walk if it works, I would happily risk injury for the chance to walk again. He couldn’t believe that my physiotherapists were not helping me more and that my Neurologist was not injecting my foot with Botox simply because I had been told not use it.
I feel like every professional I talk to at the moment contradicts one another! To me surely everyone should be saying right so the spasms have damaged your foot, let’s look at what we can do to prevent it from deteriorating any further than it already has and what we can do improve it. Surely that cannot be that hard to agree to try to do?!
On a brighter note I had a fantastic appointment with Rheumatology this week. I went to have my Hypermobility Syndrome assessed. It turns out I have Hypermobility pretty much throughout my whole body. He has agreed with my Neurologist that I need referred to an inpatient rehabilitation programme due to the pain and weakness in some sections of body. I found it very reassuring to hear him talking about the same inpatient programme despite not knowing it had already been talked about with me. In this regards everything seems to be going in the right direction.
Last Friday I attended my rescheduled Orthotics appointment. I was unsure whether there was anything they would be able to but my worries turned out to unfounded. The decision was made that no permanent alterations would be made over the christmas period as that would involve my splint being taken away. Instead elastic type material (but not as stretchy) was attached in a figure of 8 pattern to my splint over my ankle area, my normal velcro strap then went over this to reinforce it. If this design manages to hold my foot in place then my splint will be sent off to have these made permanent. At the moment it is looking positive and doing its job.
Yesterday I went up to London to see my Neurologist. He gave me my usual six injections, which have such a fantastic result. After showing him a photo of my foot in spasm that I took the other day, he has offered to next time administer some Botox injections to my calf and foot. I would be very interested to hear from anybody who has received injections at these sites!
I am still taking medication to treat Chronic Neurological Lyme Disease, since I started these medications around six months ago I have had amazing progress in areas affected by it. So much so that my neurologist even remarked how happy and amazed he was to see the improvements. I am still, with the support of my neurologist, battling to receive IV treatment for Lyme Disease which will hopefully get rid of anything the Oral antibiotics have missed.
Everything seems to be quiet calm for once. Now that the Botox controls my most painful spasms I have been able to reduce the amount of painkillers and muscle relaxants I take. This has resulted in me feeling much more with it and my brain feels less foggy. It all seems to be calming down just in time for Christmas and my Birthday, which is perfect!
The last several days have been very busy and very positive. I finally feel that I am getting things in place that I need and have an aspect of control. As I have little control over parts of my body, having control over some aspects of my life is very satisfying and makes up for my Dystonia alien crazy ways.
This coming Monday I am going to my local hospital for an appointment with the Orthotic department. My splints have served me well over the last few months, however as it has gotten colder my spasms in my legs have gotten worse. My right leg spasms so strongly that it often manages to escape my splints. I am hoping Orthotics may have an idea of what they could do to help. If not I have some images of some splints that I think may be able to contain my legs. It would mean having a solid front section to the splint as well as a solid back, this I think would work well as it would be a lot harder for my leg to break through. I’m looking forward to hearing their ideas.
When the Dystonia hit my legs I was given your standard NHS wheelchair – lets describe it as sturdy. My poor mother struggles to lift it in and out the car, and watching my friends lift it makes me feel awful. Recently however the functional paralysis that I experience on and off has meant that my wheelchair needs some extras added to it but this is not something that is possible. This has meant that when I have an episode of paralysis affecting my back I have ended up flopping half out the wheelchair and being stuck till it comes back.
So after a couple of weeks of pointing this out repeatedly to the NHS Wheelchair service I am now being reassessed to see if I qualify for a voucher that would enable a chair to be customized for me. Even better news is that the even with all the extra things added to it the chair will still be much lighter than my current one.
Knowing that my splint and wheelchair issues are going to be dealt with has given me such peace of mind and enabled me to relax. They are such small issues but in the long run have a big impact so having the two solved will make a big difference.
Last Saturday I attended a bring and buy sale at my local Church. One of the stalls was raising money for The Dystonia Society. In the end just over a £100 was raised, which is incredible. I would just like to say a huge thank-you to everyone involved.
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!
After a week of being in pain, I am feeling a lot better! On Friday one of the GPs at my Doctors surgery prescribed me a muscle relaxant to help with the spasms in my back, it has worked wonders! The spasm has gone, my body is no longer twisting and I can finally move around without being in pain! I am going to my see GP on Monday to discuss whether we keep this particular medication for emergency situations or if there a different muscle relaxant that he feels would be more beneficial.
Last night I gave myself a rather pleasant shock. I had gotten out of bed to do something, and I walked the two footsteps there!! My body did not react to it at all! You can imagine my joy, as I have not been able to do this since January 1st!!! Not wanting to push my luck I quickly hopped back into bed, trying to work out if I had done anything differently or if it was just pot luck. I am so happy, and I am hoping that my body will continue to progress like this.
It is such a relief for my body to finally be doing something ‘normal’ without over reacting. Now I know that I may not be able to do this again, it may have been complete fluke, but on the other hand it could just keep improving. All I can do is hope that this a good sign. Hopefully when I receive my leg/foot splint that the Surgical Orthotic department are making for me, this should help me progress with walking even more! I just have to accept each day as it comes, it’s all about taking baby steps, as there is no use trying to run before I can walk.
No matter how dark may life may seem, there is always a candle of hope flickering somewhere, you just have to look for it!
I paid a visit to my doctor today, as my Dystonic leg is still really bad, and the extreme tremor has been going on for 11 days now. I was hoping he would be able to prescribe me some sort of muscle relaxant to try to take the edge of it. I also wanted to discuss with him about being referred to an Orthotic department, to talk about getting some sort of splint or brace for my leg, as I have talked to and read about people who have tried this and good results.
My doctor was not to sure what to do about the tremor in my right leg, and said that hopefully it was just one of those things that comes and then goes. I am really hoping that he is right as I find this extreme tremor very difficult to handle. It has really restricted how much I can do, for example in the day when I am on my own, I literally have to spend the day in bed, as I need people to help me hop around. I have decided that if by this time next week it is still bad then I shall go back to my Doctor and ask for him to prescribe me a muscle relaxant just so we can see if it works.
He seemed rather interested in my suggestion to try a brace or splint, and has said that he will write a letter to the surgical Orthotic team at my local hospital, and we will go from there. This was very positive, as I had expected him to say it would be best to discuss it with my consultant first and let my consultant handle it.
Overall it was a very positive appointment. Considering my Doctor knows extremely little about Dystonia, he really does try his best to help me the best he can. I hope that in the nicest way possible that I won’t have to see him next week. Just going to have keep my fingers crossed and hope that my right leg calms itself down.
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