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Well folks, my face is still twitching away. However, thankfully we seem to have tracked the problem down. First my physical therapist drew attention to my nervous system, then my local MD traced it to an adverse medication reaction which was the root cause of the nervous system being in the state it’s in, and then finally an emergency phone consult with my LLMD who (I’m grateful) agreed with the theories and decided on a plan of action. I love it when my practioners all work together. This sense of synergy really benefits the patient!
So this week I’m working on getting these symptoms calmed down. I really couldn’t continue to function in the state I was/am in; it’s just too much. I felt that I was continuously holding back the floodgates. Any time I relax my muscles, especially those in my face, the spasms start. Every. Single. Time. I’m so tense right now it’s ridiculous.
When my muscles start going it starts in my eyes. They begin to flutter. Then my right eyebrow and surrounding muscles start. It moves next to my right eye, then down to my lips. Usually last to hit is my nose. It twitches back and forth and every time it does all I can think of is Bewitched!
Wouldn’t it be fantastic if I could make some magic happen in this scenario?
I’ve always wanted to be able to twitch my nose like Samantha and clean up a mess, or find a lost object. Maybe I’d magically fill my pill containers or change the flavor of my Mepron. The list of things a girl with Lyme could do if she could “twitch” her nose with magic is endless!
The mind boggles.
I could make the battery on my kindle last longer, bring something I’d forgotten in another room right to my lap, turn off the lights off when they trigger my headaches, make my favorite movie play on tv, have the dishes clean themselves, or simply just twitch up a cup of tea when I’m feeling like a cuppa.
Endless, the list is endless I tell you!
What would you do if you could magically “twitch” your nose Samantha style?
My mom and I were discussing this in the car today. Suddenly we realized… if I could “twitch”, then I could call up Dr. Bombay!
Remember how to do it? A witch simply had to call out:
“Calling Dr. Bombay! Calling Dr. Bombay, Emergency! Come right away!”
And magically Dr. Bombay would appear in a cloud of smoke right then and there. He’d be dressed in an outrageous outfit and be understandably miffed from being dragged away from whatever it was he had been doing at the time – usually his nurse.
But then he’d pull out the professional stoppers and get right down to business. The quicker the better, so he could get back to that nurse.
He’d listen to the problem and pull out some magical, mysterious witchdoctor examination tool. Wasn’t there a keyboard he played that did something?
Before long he’d know exactly what the problem was and how to fix it! I think my chances to be cured would be much improved with Dr. Bombay! He’s got magic on his side. Centuries and centuries of wisdom. And a small flair for the dramatic.
I’d much rather have Dr. Bombay consult on my case than Dr. House (as much as I loved him) any day!
Only it was never really that simple… more often than not he required some hard to find ingredients to cure the illness. There was a sleazy witch apothecary who sold potions and ingredients. Or there was always the chance that somebody would need to go back to the 16th century or something in order to get an ingredient like the tail feather of a dodo bird.
Somebody would need to go off in search of the ingredients while the sick person waited at home, and hopefully didn’t get worse. Dr. Bombay would disappear, only to be called back when all the ingredients were gotten.
My mom has volunteered to go off on the quest in search of the hard to find, magical ingredients to cure me! She’s prepared to battle a dodo bird for it’s tail feather or blend into the king’s court in the 16th century.
What a mom!
Now I just need to get the ball rolling… next time the muscle spasms come on I’m hoping not just for a twitch, but I want a “twitch”.
And you better bet I’ll be thinking, “Calling Dr. Bombay! Calling Dr. Bombay, Emergency! Come right away!” .
All my love,
I have a moment, a feeling frozen in my mind. I doubt that it will ever go away. It doesn’t haunt me. It doesn’t affect my daily life. But sometimes a memory will be triggered by the present, and I need to accept that it was part of my journey in order to move on.
I was ten or eleven years old. I’m sitting in a chair in my parent’s bedroom with tears streaming down my face. I remember vividly that I was crying because I was shaking with internal tremors that nobody could see or feel. All I wanted was for somebody to see what I felt. I wanted somebody to tell me that they knew I wasn’t lying or faking to get out of school or to gain attention. At this point I hadn’t been sick for very long (in retrospect) but it felt like it had been forever. I was miserable. I just wanted a doctor to believe me, to help me, to make it stop. Why couldn’t they see it? WHY? Tears spilled from my eyes often during those hard years.
My parents believed me every step of the way. They fought for me. I’m lucky and honest to God, I’m blessed to have them as my parents. They never gave up, and they taught me to fight for myself, my health and my hope.
Nine years later I still have those internal tremors. But as time has passed they’ve progressed. Now I have muscle tremors and spasms that are completely visible. Most days they’re minimal. I can often hide them, or hold my muscles so that they are less noticeable. Ask my best friends or my brothers if they’ve ever seen what I’m talking about and they’ll say “No”. I simply unconsciously hide most of my symptoms around people. I can’t help it.
Yesterday one of my practioners was working with my face and head. Not even five minutes later my eyes, eyebrows, nose, lips, and cheeks were in spasm. They began twitching uncontrollably for the next hour and a half. Soon my arms, shoulders and legs were jerking. The more I tried the relax my face they would act up again. I’d take a deep breath, release, and then a moment later they were back. It’s an odd feeling of vulnerability. I wasn’t afraid to let them happen yesterday, but they were exhausting. I left the appointment completely done-in.
As I lay on the table I was struck with that memory. The odd juxtaposition of my feelings nine years ago with my habit of hiding these tremors today occurred to me. Now I have that vindication. Doctors and those providing care on my medical team do acknowledge that these tremors exist. They are no longer in question. These people believed me and now they can see it with their own eyes. It’s been proven that I was never the young faker trying to gain attention or get out of school. I was a girl who needed help that I didn’t receive until it was long overdue.
So in that light not only do I have feelings of vindication now, but I have a sense of exasperation. I simply shouldn’t have had to wait nine years.
Now my sense of fairness to my younger self is troubling me.
Do I want people to see these tremors? Do I acknowledge her wish? Or do I continue to allow myself to put up a front, a different face now in the present? I don’t know. I almost hesitated to write this post because I don’t know what my final feelings are about this. It’s an internal question that I’m going to have to work out for myself. So if one day you see me and notice these muscle spasms, know that either I’m too ill to control them or, more hopefully, I’m acknowledging that little girl inside me who only wanted to be heard.
I have both exciting and nerve-wracking news share with you! My current LLMD has been recommending that I seek a consult with a more specialized and experienced LLMD since last winter. We’ve been putting off this move because, quite honestly, the expense of a non-insured LLMD is astronomical. However, my health has been steadily declining since January of this year. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that 2011 has been one of my absolute worst years in the course of my illness. My LLMD has admitted that I’m beyond her abilities at this point.
We took the plunge.
An appointment with a new LLMD was scheduled. The only problem? I was distraught to hear that I wouldn’t be seen until December. I knew I didn’t want to go on living like I have been. I hoped for something – just something – to surface.
And, here comes the exciting news – it did! This week we received a call saying that if I wished I could take an appointment that was open after a cancelation. We took it!! I see the new LLMD next Wednesday, the 7th of September!!
Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers sending positive, healing vibes for next week’s appointment! I’m hoping to receive some expert guidance and a new treatment protocol.
At the moment I’m feeling overwhelmed with the intense paperwork required, the tests I haven’t had done yet, and the thought that I have a 3 hour appointment ahead of me where my whole story and every single symptom from the last three years will need to be retold and analyzed. I’m excited, nervous, and crossing my fingers that this doctor will finally hold the answer I so desperately need.
I’m taking many, many deep breathes, drinking tea to soothe my stomach and my soul, trying to recapture lost memories, and generally taking this all as it comes. One action, one thought, one moment at a time.
“May the pain you have known and the conflict you have experienced give you the strength to walk through life facing each new situation with courage and optimism.”
One of the worst aspects of Lyme is the setbacks. Lyme is a disease that keeps on giving – one new symptom after another.
I’ve been quiet for so long on this blog, but I’ve thought about it and you who read it, nearly every week! I spent a long time this afternoon going back into my archives and rereading many of my posts. I’ve had so many up’s & down’s while treating this disease, I’d forgotten most of them. Perhaps I chose to forget them, who knows.
I think it’s time now for me to post an update on my progress and my life (or lack thereof) since it’s been so long since I have.
2011 has not been the best year for me, medically speaking. It feels like one big experiment-gone-wrong. I don’t remember a time this year that I fell well, really well. And it’s June already. Half of the year is gone!
I’m going to be honest. I feel worse now that I did at this point last year. Last summer I was in much better shape! I was excited and felt like I was finally on the right track in my treatment. Now fast-forward to this spring… I’m having a repeat of spring 2009. I’m going through the exact same symptoms, diagnoses, and experiences. I feel as though I’m reliving this part of my treatment.
Today is day 36 of a life-consuming pressure headache. At times, I’ve become non-functioning because of the pain of this headache. Some of you may remember I went through this in 2009 as well. My POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome) is back with a vengeance, and my fatigue is insane. I don’t know about you, but I live on my couch. We have a symbiotic relationship.
Since I was following a similar pattern to 2009 we immediately thought of my eyes. Were my optic nerves swollen again? So in I went to be checked out. After many weeks of patience, and follow-ups, I was told on Friday that I need another spinal tap. I had 3 in 2009. I was really, really hoping those would be enough for a lifetime! I’m scheduled to have my 4th done this Thursday morning. Better sooner rather than later. I’ll know the results sooner this way, and hopefully have some answers. My neuro-opthamologist is LL and is concerned that I may be experiencing pseudotumor cerebri, a condition where the brain behaves as if there is a tumor present, but there is none. The number one symptom of this is unexplained increased intracranial pressure, which is what the spinal tap is for on Thursday.
However, I don’t know what to wish for. Do I want to have pseudotumor cerebri – another medical condition that is reversible, but needs medication and/or invasive assistance? Or do I wish for a normal, low pressure from the spinal tap and therefore have all of this be attributed to random Lyme-related symptoms? I just don’t know.
In addition to that development, I’m now completely off of my Lyme protocol. My LLMD and opthamologist told me to back off for now until things calm down. I was put on beta blockers a few weeks ago to calm my rapid heart rate and I’ll be referred to a cardiologist sometime this summer. I think the beta blockers have helped the POTS a bit and the fatigue, thankfully! My LLMD believes that m adrenals are a problem again and I’m most likely iron-deficient. I had a slew of blood tests done on Friday and I’ll learn more in a few weeks.
I’m afraid my LLMD is feeling overwhelmed by me. I’m not getting any better yet, and she’s afraid of making me worse. I’m taking this all one day at a time, but I really am beginning to feel overwhelmed myself!
I’ll be back soon. I’ve missed you all!
Wishing you health & healing,
Every day is a journey filled with twists and turns. Every day, if you smile, you will feel alive, my son. — Santosh Kalwar
There’s a running joke in my family that I’m a “medical mystery”. I went from normal to suddenly, devastatingly ill far too quickly. No doctors could fully answer all of our questions. I was bounced around from one specialist to another for years. I was unhappy, and honestly, I was angry that nobody could find a solution.
That is, until two years ago.
I began my Lyme disease journey on January 1st, 2009. I still remember staring at that blue Doxycycline capsule for a long few moments before I finally took the plunge and swallowed it down, along with some apprehension and a lot of relief. Finally somebody had looked at me as a whole, sifting through the symptoms and found an answer for me!
Lyme. Bartonella. Babesia. The list goes on.
Two years later I’m still treating. And, it turns out that I’m still that “medical mystery”. Above all else in a doctor I want them to be honest with me. I need them to talk to me so that I learn to trust them and they trust in me. I love my LLMD dearly. She has been a rock in this journey. However, she’s not strictly speaking an LLMD. She treats Lyme, but not exclusively.
In January she was honest when she turned to me in her office and told me that she didn’t know what to do next. Her treatment regimens weren’t working with me as she had expected them to. She is afraid of making me more toxic, creating more harm than good. I don’t blame her. I just wish this weren’t the case.
She wants me to visit another Lyme specialist for a consultation and receive a second opinion. I was instructed to see a neurologist for my headaches, and to see my neuro-ophthalmologist for a check-up. I feel as though I’m back where I was two years ago, being doled out to different specialists while they scramble to solve the puzzle.
Molly, “medical mystery” at your service.
I haven’t lost hope. No, as I said last week -“I feel as though I’m adrift. I’m bobbing along in the waves waiting for the clarity that calm waters will bring.”
I’m waiting for my turn to discover those calm waters.
“Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end” ~Unknown
My LLMD brought up The Big Bad Word at my appointment this week. I hate the word toxins. Even more so do I hate the word toxic. I’m a visual person, and the word “toxic” brings with it only bad images.
I see hazmat suits and warning signs.
My LLMD appointment was on Tuesday. My LLMD is moving to a new building this month, and the next time I see her will be there. I can’t wait. For me, atmosphere means a lot. The clinic I have been seeing her at for months makes me ill. They have those lights that buzz, the nurses wear too much perfume, and the overall feeling of the place is sterile. It has nothing that stimulates healing for me. I really hope that the new office will be more suited for her; I really do. We patients deserve it.
My appointment can be summed up by the title of this post: The Big Bad Word.
I went in feeling that I was herxing. I know what this feeling is. My body is slowly becoming overwhelmed by toxins. The newest antibiotic trio has been working. But, is it too much? If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you’ll know that I’ve always been sensitive to treatments.
I feel as though I take two big steps forward in treatment. I make progress. I taste it. Then, my body forces me to back up again. I feel as though I’ve been in the same place for months. What has changed? Very little, actually. I had those great 3 weeks, and since then I’m back to where I was.
My body is trying desperately to detox. I’m breaking out in whole-body sweats. My skin literally itches. My body is showing signs of trying to shed these toxins but it needs help. I left her office with the names of two new supplements to add to my regime which will aid in the detoxification. One I still need to order, and the other is in the mail already. I should be starting at least that one next week.
My antibiotic dosage has also been slightly reduced in order to help my body adjust. We’ll see if between these things I’ll see a difference. I hope so. Right now I’m living in a fog. My head feels as though it will explode at any moment, and my overall pain levels are increasing. My fatigue has struck again. What I laughingly refer to as my memory is becoming tiresome. I’m shaking like a leaf.
My daily functionality differs day by day.
Today I had plans to go shopping with my best friend. We ended up staying at my house, making popcorn, and watching Robin Hood: Men in Tights. All in all – it was a great day!! I’m grateful for it. I had so much fun. I laughed. I smiled. We talked. I loved this day. But our plans changed because suddenly this afternoon I was hit unexpectedly with a wall of fatigue.
I literally turned off my computer, the lights, and fell asleep on my couch for 20 minutes. I never take naps. When I do, I know it’s serious.
Maybe that’s why I enjoyed Robin Hood: Men in Tights so much today… humor to heal the herx? I’m willing to give that a try. Anyone ever tried detox by laughter?
Laughter heals – that much I know. But does it detox?
Well, it can’t hurt :)
Wishing you health & healing,
“Through humor, you can soften some of the worst blows that life delivers. And once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it.” – Bill Cosby
First off, did any other bloggers watch the new House episode about the compulsive blogger? Whew. I’m not going to lie – that just made me laugh! I’m happy to know that I’m not as obsessive about this as I could be. Not to say I don’t love you all, but I’m convinced my life must just not be as exciting as hers (thankfully)! I’m enjoying the relatively free schedule I’ve got before the storm of Spring of my senior year arrives with the melting of the snow. But, that’s another post altogether.
I want to talk about the actual storm of the moment.
Today a friend asked me how I was. It’s a simple question. I get asked it all the time, and out of habit I always say “I’m good!”. Sometimes, I’ll give out an “Oh, I’m ok.” or a “Eh, I’ve been better.” I’ve learned to tell when people ask this seriously, and when they’re just asking to ask. Today, my friend was serious. They cared about the answer. They wanted to know, and I didn’t want to mislead.
I stalled for time. Putting off the inevitable, I guessed.
Finally my friend asked why I was avoiding the question. And at that moment it struck me that I had been avoiding answering the question because I simply didn’t know the answer. They were serious. I was too. I didn’t know how I was. I don’t know how I am.
I’m not good. But I’ve been so, so much worse.
I continued to give this some thought before I answered. I trusted my gut reaction, and blurted out that life felt like “a blur”. What a contradiction we live treating this disease. Our days feel long. Sometimes, the symptoms make it seem as if a day is an unending trap. But our lives are slipping away faster than we want to accept, at the same time.
These long, long days mixed with the time slipping through my fingers feels like a blur that I can’t see through.
I want a pause button. I don’t want to fast-forward, and I don’t want to rewind. The past is over and finished – it’s meant to be built upon and learned from, not relived. And the future is full of possibilities that I can’t even imagine yet. I want to live my future as it comes, not skipping ahead. But right now is going too fast. And too slow. I want to pause. I want to take a time out. I want to step out of life for a while and return in this exact moment, feeling more prepared to live it.
I didn’t know what to say to my friend. I explained the blur sensation, and remarked about the good mixing with the bad. And with some prodding, I thought about what it is that’s going on.
I’m reliving symptoms that I’ve been trying to escape for years. Not only that, but new ones are appearing. I can live with that. I can even accept it. But I don’t have to be happy about it. And, I’m not. I’m frustrated. I want this stage in my treatment to be finished. I’m ready to feel better now, please.
My doctor has me finishing up a last month of Mepron – the antibiotic from hell. Or, at least one of them. At my most recent appointment after being taken off this medication my doctor listened to me describe the herx reaction. It was… extreme. It was decided that my symptoms off of the Mepron are worse than the damage it is doing to me in the meantime. I’m still not sure how I’m supposed to take that! So here I am back on the Babesia kick meant to keep me from getting worse. In essence, I’m fighting to keep the small progress I’ve made.
And yet, I don’t feel better. I’m living with a constant headache. I’m dizzier than I have been in years. My joints are swollen and painful. My entire body aches. I have no appetite. I’ve got the sweats, and a near-constant temperature. The brain fog is intense. My memory loss is becoming frightening. And I’m not giving up.
I won’t let this disease win. This round isn’t over yet.
I’m taking each day as it comes – the good with the bad. And I’m trying to make the most of the good. But I’d be lying if I said I’m ok. I’m not. I’m just trying to muddle through. Tonight I’m embracing my frustration.
Ask me if I’m ok tomorrow.
I may not have a pause button, but I’ve got my first acupuncture appointment of 2010 tomorrow morning. I’m so happy! I can’t wait for it. And I’ve had craniosacral therapy again twice this month already with another appointment this Friday. That’s almost as good as pausing, isn’t it?
May we all have better tomorrows, always. Each day we’re growing, changing, learning, and best of all, we’re healing. We’re fighting. Each day is bringing us closer to our hopes and dreams.
Yours in peace and healing, molly