As I mentioned the other day I did some fundraising and campaigning at my college this week to raise awareness of Dystonia. On the Dystonia Society’s website they have a list of fundraising ideas one of them being Dress for Dystonia. This title inspired me. I encouraged both students and staff members of the college to get involved with my awareness raising campaign by putting on a Dystonia Society top. This ticked off two awareness ideas at once as the tops are green and it was twist on the Dress for Dystonia idea. Everyone who put on a top posed for a photo which I put into an awareness photo collage. Lots more people were willing to get involved than I expected which was great! The college have even done a news article on it and put it up on their website which is amazing as this too provides more awareness of Dystonia.
Last Saturday my family and I went up to London to watch my cousin David and his lovely friend Sam run the Marathon to raise money for the Dystonia Society. It was such an amazing day. We were extremely lucky with the weather, and managed to get a fab viewing spot at the halfway mark. This was perfect as not only did it enable us to have a great view of everyone but it also meant we had a chance to grab David as he ran past and take a quick photo with him.
I’m thrilled to say that David and Sam have achieved their sponsorship target and have raised over £3000 for the Dystonia Society which is just incredible. I had never met Sam before so it was fantastic to finally meet her at the celebratory dinner. Watching them run was so emotional and inspirational and I extremely thankful to them both for taking on such a huge feat.
Since I became ill last summer, I have tried to be careful in everything I do. My body has limits and I have to learn to respect that. However it’s hard to keep within the limits when they keep changing, and when outside factors alter them constantly. I often tend to step over the boundaries, simply because I know that if I don’t test them now and then, I’ll never know what my body’s full potential is. Though I must admit I also do this simply due to craving the freedom my body once had.
A couple of weeks ago the college phoned me and asked if I would like to attend the Clothes Show Live 2013 at the NEC in Birmingham. After a discussion with mum about if this would be beyond my bodies limitations I decided that I would go. I was extremely nervous as the furthest I have been from mum since I got ill is when I ride, and that’s not far at all. If something happened, I knew that I would most likely wake up in a strange hospital before mum could get there. A situation I did not want to end up in. Thankfully all my worries were for nothing.
I had two of my learning support staff with me to make sure I was safe and to push me around. It was a truly fantastic experience that I am incredibly thankful for. The college had booked a coach that had access for my wheelchair in, and for the main runway show we had the best seats! Other than the odd twitch and my right knee paralyzing on and off, which I’m used to now, my body was perfect. I think I have shopped for this years christmas presents and everyone’s birthday presents for next year!
I expected my body to have a complete meltdown today, but other than being very achy it’s behaved well. I have managed to go to the opticians and have a couple of Coke’s out in town with my family, without any issues.
My little Dystonia alien has been a right pickle to put it politely, for the last two days. It is doing a new spasm, which whilst I can bear it at first eventually becomes agonising. It’s one of those spasms that makes me welcome the bliss of unconsciousness that my non epileptic seizures bring. During the seizures I am completely out of it and unaware of any pain, whilst normally I hate these seizures the last two days they have been a welcome and needed break from the spasm.
My normal method of using a TENS machine, massaging the spasming muscle etc have not made a difference to this spasm. Therefore I have relied on topical medications such as volterol and oral medications such as Tramadol and Diazepam, to help me through the spasms.
Whilst these are not the best pictures you get the idea of what the spasms were doing. I am not sure what triggered this spasm to develop and am hoping that my body is fighting a bug and that is why my Dystonia is playing up. Illness always seem to worsen my Dystonia, which in this case would be a nice reality compared to the horrid thought of the spasm being here on a daily basis.
I am determined to stay positive and am focusing on all the fantastic activities starting next week, such as riding, and my reflexology training. I am extremely excited as I have had an email saying my text books are on their way. I love burying myself in a textbook so I’m looking forward to their arrival.
I am hoping that the spasms will stay away for the rest of the night so that I shall get a good nights sleep as I am completely exhausted. It is amazing how tiring being in pain is.
Every day I have plenty of spasms. Some are short and not to bad, others last hours and cause agony, and some simply make me laugh due to the positions I find myself in, for example I once ended up doing the splits! Thankfully the muscle relaxant that my GP put me on has helped and has slightly reduced the frequency and intensity of these spasms.
Earlier this afternoon my whole body decided to spasm, it was slightly painful and was not the most comfortable position to be in, but despite that I managed to laugh through it with my mum. Knowing that the spasm would eventually release was a big comfort and made it more bearable. I have included some pictures of the spasm below, in them you can see that my eyes, neck, arms, stomach and leg are all in spasm.
In today’s culture people often seem to want to focus on what we cannot do rather than celebrate what we are able to do. Even the term Disabled focuses on it. I don’t like being labelled but if I have to be then I would rather be termed as Differently Able, as I am capable of doing the same things as any body else, it might just take me longer, I may even do it slightly differently but at the end of the day I can still do it!
One of my symptoms causes me to go blind. My eyes go into spasm and my eyeballs roll upwards in their sockets. Being blind on and off has taught me to appreciate the beauty that surrounds me in daily life. I previously took my sight for granted, the day I went blind for the first time terrified me, I was having a big panic that I would not be able to read again. Now when I am able to read I appreciate the ability more than ever before. Control of our bodies and good health is such a precious but fragile gift that people tend to abuse. We need to open our eyes to the world and learn to appreciate what we have. Society needs to understand the gifts that senses such as sight brings us and learn to focus on the positive side of things.
I could easily allow myself to drown in a pool of negativity but by focusing on the little things in life like being able to see, and by pushing myself to achieve what ever I set my mind to, I am able lead a positive life. I have my moments of being down, just like everyone does but I wont ever let having Dystonia beat me.
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