Just back from London after meeting with Prof. Qasim Aziz Neurogastroenterologist who specialises in EDS. It went super well and I am delighted with what he had to say to me but I am feeling so very ill after traveling (I know it was only one night but I’m not able!) I will get to the full update shortly.
Just wanted to let you know it’s on it’s way I just need a little rest for a few days, Ill get to it! 🙂
My name is Corina Duyn and I am an artist and writer who lives with the chronic illness M.E. (and fibromyalgia, and a host of other issues – all resulting from M.E.
Anyway, throughout the now 18 years I have found a few ways to help me live a good life. Silence. Nature. A positive outlook and creativity.
I pretty much look at how my day is right now and not fret too much about what might happen tomorrow. Good or bad.
Initially I thought that I had become ill because of my creative life. Working too hard, so I tried my best never to be creative again. But a friend pointed out a few years in, that I was making drawings about not wanting to be creative. Case closed as the saying goes.
I embraced my creativity from that point onwards and it has given me a huge amount of knowledge and understanding of how I can deal with the challenges ME had bestowed on me. How to deal with pain, with exhaustion, with an at times non-working-brain. I learned that I could be Free on paper. I could fly by using clay. I could explore unknown worlds through writing.
Birth Dance, sculpture by Corina Duyn 2016
And the bonus is that it enabled me to connect with the world beyond my walls. A huge world of people who are interested in my words, in my creations. It enabled me to publish books, have exhibitions, but most of all to share the little bit of nuggets of healing I have found along the way.
Sharing my life’s experiences is the most wonderful side effect from living with chronic illness.
From the 1st January I am writing a daily blog. With anything and everything that plays around in my head. From life in my garden, dealing with intense pain, to creative adventures, to inspiration I take from others. A mixed bag. Just like real life.
My website http://www.corinaduyn.com/ has a host of galleries of my artwork, in which you can see the different stages I went through from illness to wellness. (Not recovery- but wellness). Also some videos and documentaries which were made along the way.
Thanks for your company here!
Thanks so much to Corina for sharing her blog and work with us, Isnt her sculpture and artwork beautiful? Be sure to hit up Corina’s Links and make a connection and if you want to take part in Saturday Submissions just see below, I am always looking for guest bloggers and I will link your blog or preferred social media link in the permanent blogroll if you are featured.
——— Wanna Be Part of Saturday Submissions?———-
All you have to do is tell us a little about yourself and write a blog post (Any word count) in relation to your chronic illness, or how a relation/friend/patient with an illness affects or interacts with you, etc. all welcome!
You can include photos (preferably your own, if found online be sure to add links to where you found them)
Be sure to add links to your social media accounts so people can link back to you OR You can write it anonymously if you like just be sure to put your details in the email so I can respond to you personally
You can send your submissions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Yes, it’s that time of year once again folks, May is EDS Awareness Month and this year, I update my diagnosis story as it just grows in volume and substance every year since all this started in 2011!! So here I go again, it’s 2017 and my story is in need of a clean up and update, so let’s jump right into it!
So firstly, What is EDS?
Put simply, EDS (Ehlers Danlos Syndrome or ‘The Ehlers Danlos Syndromes’, as it is now known since March 2017) is a group of connective tissue disorders. Here is a better explanation according to the EDS Wiki:
Though I have had many medical issues throughout my life, my Chronic Illness journey only began properly in 2011.
One Tuesday morning in March, I woke to not feeling very well and as I was exiting the bathroom I called out to my husband who just happened to come and catch me as I passed out in his arms.
I continued to come to and then pass out again every time I straightened my legs. My Heart rate was racing and my Blood Pressure was dropping really low. My husband called the doctor for advice who told him to immediately call an ambulance or take me to A&E. He decided to drive rather than waste more time waiting for an ambulance which would take at least 30 minutes to get to where we lived.
On the way to A&E my husband had to keep shouting at me in the car to try and keep me alert as I kept needing to pass out. We finally arrived at the hospital, I was rushed inside and long story short, many tests and doctors later I was kept in for nearly a month where many further tests were performed, one of which was a Tilt Table Test with which I was diagnosed with Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (Pots) and Vasovagal Syncope (VVS) or Neurocardiogenic Syncope (NCS) – they are both the same thing, basically neurological fainting!
So where does EDS come into it?
In the 2 years following the diagnosis of Pots, I was hospitalized many times because of the fainting, low blood pressure and other complications. In the process of trying to figure out what caused the Pots, Hypermobility was mentioned a few times by a couple of doctors and physios, however, whenever I mentioned it to my Pots doctor (he is a geriatrician but he is the specialist who looks after me for my Pots), he didn’t seem to think it was anything to be worried about, even though I did have chronic pain and I did feel it was affecting me at the time.
As time went on, the pain became worse and I felt a formal diagnosis of Hypermobility would benefit me, though there are no EDS or Hypermobility specialists anywhere in Ireland, I still felt a diagnosis would help me.
I had heard about a Rheumatologist in Cork who knew about EDS and Hypermobility so I decided to pay him a visit just to see what he thought. Down I went to see him and within a few minutes of him seeing me he had me diagnosed with a ‘classic case of Hypermobility EDS’, with possible Classical EDS overlaps. I was surprised and kinda happy that I had finally confirmed my inkling that I had it.
However, this diagnosis from the Cork Rheumatologist wouldn’t be worth the paper it was written on… with my pots doctor anyway. He never accepted the diagnosis and just ignored it outright so I just had to live with the fact that my Pots was probably caused by the EDS but there was nothing I could do about it.
To help, my Pots doctor did organize for me to see a Rheumatologist in Croom hospital who confirmed my possible hypermobility and organized for me to do Hydrotherapy and physio at their facilities in Croom Hospital. Even that physiotherapist confirmed I had possible hypermobility but she never believed I had EDS. I found the HSE as a whole were fine to say hypermobility but would never confirm EDS (for fear they would have to treat me for it if they confirmed the diagnosis! I have always been paranoid that was the reason anyway… maybe not!)
You Said You Always Had Some Medical Issues?
Yup! I was even breached for a while before birth but thankfully righted myself before being popped out! When I was born then, I was born with a Fissure and a broken Tail Bone and throughout my life I always had gut issues, travel sickness and dysmotility and I was never without a cast, sling, crutch or some other bandage or plaster thanks to stupid injuries and broken bones which, even though broken bones are not symptoms of EDS I put a lot of my past injuries and ailments down to my EDS as you’re born with it, it’s with you from the start and I seemed to have a lot of various symptoms.
When I hit puberty and teenage years the fainting, feeling really weak, Nausea, Dysmotility and chronic pain got bad with a vengeance and again all the way through school there are photos of me in slings and on crutches, it was crazy! I did do Karate though from the age of 13 and I was constantly breaking bones from it! Baaaaad idea with EDS but sure I never knew and the A&E at the time only ever treated the individual injuries and never looked at everything as a whole!
My teeth and gums gave me problems too. From the age of 13 to 16, I was with an Orthodontist and had braces for the full 3 years. As well as always having gum disease for as long as I can remember, They could never successfully freeze my gums, they had to do lots of injections and finally had to bring in a heavy chrome looking contraption thing to freeze the gums, either way lots of freezing needed. I also had receding gum and bone and every time the braces were removed my teeth would start quickly moving back to where they had been! I now know all these teeth things are problems of EDS.
Things Improved and I Returned To Work
After a little while things slowly began to improve, life from 2011 had been turbulent but in 2013 I decided the time was right for me to return to work. I had been working as self employed while I was running my Media Production Company from 2010 after I had finished my Masters of Science in College and it went very well while I had the energy for it and obviously while I was sick I became unable to deal with 12 hour days traveling all over the country for day long photo and video shoots so I decided something slower paced would suit me better and I found the perfect job working from home for Apple Computers. I absolutely loved the job and because it was from home it was sedate enough for me to deal with some symptoms and still be able to work but just as things had started to go well, about 4 months in I tripped over my Mums dog we were minding and wrecked my hip. Symptoms seemed to crack up from here!
Things Then Got Worse and I Went Into A Wheelchair and Had To Stop Work
Things got worse and worse from here, my hip pain was daily and excruciating, I had to go into hospital for investigations where I was advised to stop work because of my illness and to start using a wheelchair to help my mobility. Of Course, I didn’t want this at all and resisted it at all costs but had to give in, in the end as I simply just needed it and now I am glad I have decided to use a chair as it has given me much freedom in this restricted state. Work however has stopped and has not restarted since stopping in 2013. It doesn’t look likely that I will ever go back to work as this is a progressive disease.
The symptoms continued to get worse and worse, I started having seizures, ended up in the ICU at one stage for a couple of days and I decided that going to a specialist in the UK was the right thing to do. I was hospitalized so many times where the doctors didn’t know what to do with me and didn’t accept my EDS diagnosis from the Rheumatologist in Cork and I was left with very little help or treatment.
Even my hydrotherapy and physio had stopped early in 2014 as I had fainted in the pool because of my Pots in the hot water and the physiotherapist didn’t want to see me back at the pool or gym until such time as I stop fainting… which is never! So unfortunately I havent been able to get back to that either since it stopped!
Prof. Rodney Grahame, EDS Extraordinaire in London, was the next port of call.
The Hospital of St. Johns and St. Elizabeth in London
I started a Go Fund Me and started fundraising to go to London. So many people generously helped out, Thank you to all, everyone was amazing, even a quiz night was organized and everything, I was blown away! I finally had enough to go and so I did, You can read all about the trip HERE.
Long story short, we got to London and I got a confirmed clinical diagnosis of EDS Hypermobility Type with secondary GI Issues and possible Classical EDS overlaps, from the Professor himself. He did up a great long letter and treatment plan to send to my doctors that couldn’t be ignored and I have found has helped me hugely since getting it. He referred me to Harold’s Cross which I did in Feb 2016 and you can read all about that time HERE and I find all doctors and nurses take the diagnosis far more seriously than the one from Cork. I have had no more trouble from anyone on believing or disbelieving the diagnosis. He wanted me to return to see Prof. Aziz a Neurogastroenterologist for further tests and treatment and I had hoped to return sooner than I am able to. I will be returning in 10days time (2.5years later) to see him and I am excited!
Why Didn’t You Return To London Before Now?
Simply put, I was too ill to fly. The past 2.5 years have been by far the worst in terms of my symptoms. My Nausea is daily and intractable, my dysmotility causing so much pain and trouble that I have been hospitalized loads of times because of it and what I have been diagnosed with called Sphincter of Oddi dysfunction has been causing severe pain and again I have been hospitalized because of this and other chronic pain. I have also been diagnosed with Neurogenic Bladder Dysfunction and have had complications because of that also.
My Neck has been giving me huge trouble. I am receiving Occipital and SI Joint Nerve Blocks for severe pain. My pain specialist thinks I have instability in my neck but that cant really be checked without an upright MRI, which I may also need to get, but again there is none in Ireland so this will have to be done in London if it is needed. At the moment he is treating me as though I have instability in my neck with the Nerve blocks and opiate pain meds until such time as I can get it checked properly. He has me in for a lie down regular MRI for which I am waiting to be called but he doubts it will show anything.
My Gastro issues are probably my worst problem. They are what I am hospitalized for the most and they never seem to go away. This is why I decided to visit another specialist in Cork, this time a Gastroenterologist who has studied with Prof. Aziz (the Dr. I am seeing in London for my EDS Gut related issues) I went to see him in Cork and he immediately identified all my problems and symptoms, took note of all the medications I am on and booked me in for a number of tests that may be asked for in London anyway.
In Feb this year I had a Barium Swallow test that showed up all clear which is great. Next Monday I have a Gastric Emptying test to do which is happening just before I go to London to see Prof Aziz. I will be flying out the morning of Sat May 13th. The reason I decided to go to this doctor in Cork was that he understood EDS, I heard great things back about him and the fact that he studied under Prof Aziz all meant that he could possibly help me out and so far I feel he has. He was the one who wrote the referral letter to Prof. Aziz for me and he said he would work with whatever Prof. Aziz says in his treatment plan.
So, When Are You Off?
All going well with my health (it has been very up and down lately, mostly down) we hope to fly out Sat Morning the 13th May at about 07:30am and landing in London around 09:05am. From here we may grab a bite to eat before heading to the appointment with Prof. Aziz at 12:30pm at The Princess Grace Hospital, where afterward we return to the hotel to rest.
That’s the plan anyway, lets hope that’s how it works out! I tried a dry run of trying to stay up for 11 hours (sounds easy for some but for me I find it difficult to stay up past 4 hours before needing rest) as 11 hours is the time it takes from being up from about 05:00am that morning until about 4pm which is roughly the time we will make it to the hotel at, thats 11 hours up. I tried that the other day and actually failed at 9 hours and needed to crash so bad! so I am worried I may not be able for this trip but I will persevere and hope for the best. My husband will be with me so at least I wont be alone when I go to London and of course I will update you all when I return. I really hope the good professor can help! 🙂
So yesterday and today I have been doing a dry run for London, meaning I have to try and stay up for at least 11 hours straight, without bad symptoms kicking in, to be able for my flights and trip to London on May 13th. Sounds easy right?… yeah! I am having trouble and I still have 3 hours to go today!! I usually last about 4 to 5 hours up before bad symptoms and desperate fatigue get in the way and I need to rest in bed again so I need to be able to do this to go on the trip.
The itinerary starts for the trip on May the 13th at getting up at 5am to check in on time and fly out for the 7:30am flight to London, then I have to make it to London and to the specialists appointment at 12:30pm and wont be at the hotel until at least 4pm, so that is 11 hours from getting up at 5am! Then and only then will I be able to rest for the first time on the trip. To anybody else this would be simple but not for me.
I got up at 9 yesterday and made it to 8pm last night, then watched The Expanse and then passed out cold in bed for a couple of hours, I really needed the sleep and symptoms had kicked in pretty bad throughout the day. I simply do not have the stamina and health like I did the first time I went to London so I decided to do another dry run of it today. I got out of bed at 10am this morning and I have to make it to 9pm tonight and I have to say I am finding it tough!
I have the tickets bought for the trip and I really don’t want to have to change or cancel them so I have to be safely able to do this without bad sickness and symptoms getting in the way.
If I do this successfully, Ill let you know, but, I am finding it hard and may have to change the itinerary around a little to be better able to compensate my physical needs, but hopefully that wont need to happen.
Here’s to the next 3 hours, let’s do this!!! (I hope!!)
I will be flying out on Saturday the 13th of May early Morning and the appointment will be at 12:30pm in London. I am going, not only because I have been recommended by my doctors here, both in Cork and Limerick that I should go for advice and more targeted help by a professional who knows EDS but because of all the trouble I have been having with my gut related issues, by far my gut problems give me the most trouble and upset with almost constant pain, nausea, vomiting and weight loss as well as occasional swallowing problems and my already diagnosed Gut Dysmotility.
My Doctor in Cork is coordinating his treatment with Prof Aziz in London so I am having a Gastric Emptying Test on the Monday before I fly out which will help as one of the tests that needs to be done before going over. I have already had a Barium Swallow X-Ray done in February and thankfully that was all clear, so thats another test already down!
I am really hoping Aziz will help me out if he can, it would be great to finally get some sort of relief from all the symptoms. Even if he can get a treatment plan sorted that my Doctors here in both Cork and Limerick can do more needed tests and know what more to do with me, that would be a help in it’s self but he may also want me to complete treatment or tests in the UK which I can’t plan for until I know if that is even happening, so I will have to wait and see and I will keep you all posted as usual.
Keith, being my carer as well as my husband will obviously be going with me as there is no way I would be fit or healthy enough to do it all by myself.
Even as it is we have the flights over booked but won’t be able to book accommodation or flights home until we know more from the appointment, as Prof. Aziz may need me to stay over for further tests etc. So we will leave that until the last minute when we know more.
That’s kind of it for now until we fly over and it won’t be long before we will be at the day, it’s going to be a long day traveling for me and I am not the healthiest at the moment, I have had to cancel going to London from the last time until now as I wasn’t strong enough to go for a long time, but I can’t wait any longer and it must be done now. May was the closest appointment I could get so I took it.
I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who fundraised and helped with my medical fund over the last while to help me get there, without you these trips wouldn’t be possible and with no EDS specialists in Ireland, with I as well as others fast running out of any help, we have to travel for treatment and help as we are completely alone here, medically, in Ireland.
Thank you all once again and I will keep you updated on everything that happens.
I am delighted to say that Irish Dysautonomia Awareness has been entered into this years “Health & Well Being” – Personal Blog – Category in the blog awards nominations and hopefully will make the long list at least, that’s where it got last year so to make that again would be really nice! 🙂
If YOU would (Please) like to Nominate this blog Please click HERE (Give it a minute to load, it can be slow!) or click the image below and follow the instructions. I would greatly appreciate your input, THANK YOU! You need to register with the site but you can do so quickly and easily by signing in with your Facebook and you can control what information you give them.
Please enter The Title of the blog: Irish Dysautonomia Awareness,
Also pop in the URL of this Blog which is: https://irishdysautonomia.wordpress.com
also please be sure to enter it into the ‘Health & Well Being’ – Personal Blog – Category.
Thank you ever so much!
Please click here and enter the info to Nominate this blog! – THANK YOU!
This year there is also an entry to nominate your favorite Blog Post from the blog here. In the last number of months the post that has raised most interest seems to be this one: ‘The Good, The Bad & The Emergency – Part 1’
I would also greatly appreciate if you have the time, to maybe nominate that blog post Please and thank you most kindly! as far as I can figure, there’s no harm in trying! 🙂
It is the same process as the first, please click Here:
Hit ‘Nominate a Blog’ – Enter the ‘Blog Post’ Title as: The Good, The Bad & The Emergency – Part 1
The Blog Post link is : https://irishdysautonomia.wordpress.com/2016/04/05/the-good-the-bad-and-the-emergency-part-1/
The Category is ‘Best Blog Post’ – Personal Blog
Please Click Here and Enter ‘Blog Post’ Details (As I have laid out above) for Nomination – Thank You
Thank you so very much for you time in doing this each and every year, I may be back to you for more support if we make it to the ‘public vote’ part but even if it doesn’t get anywhere, a few more people will view the blog as a result of just entering and further our much needed awareness, even just a teeny bit.
It’s Sunday the 1st of May 2016 and so kicks off Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS) Awareness Month.
This year is pretty special in that there is a, now Sold Out, International EDS Symposium in New York, 3 – 6th May, where a host of working groups of some of the world’s leading Specialist Consultants, Doctors and many others, get together and will reclassify the diagnostic criteria for all Ehlers Danlos types.
I will let the amazing organisers, The Ehlers Danlos Society, tell you all about it, be sure to check out their website right ‘Here‘
” The Ehlers-Danlos Society is proud to announce an international symposium on Ehlers-Danlos syndrome in New York City, May 3–6, 2016, generously funded by EDS UK and the Ehlers-Danlos National Foundation. The symposium is being held in alliance with the EDS consortium in Ghent and medical professionals internationally.
The primary goal is to reclassify the diagnostic criteria for all the types of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. The symposium is also purposed with producing guidelines for medical professionals to use once a diagnosis has been reached as a universal guide for management.
We are excited to be working on a project that will change the lives of those with EDS. Updated diagnostic criteria, published in medical journals across the world, will increase and improve diagnosis, and the management guidelines will finally ensure that there is an internationally agreed-on treatment plan that doctors will be unable to ignore. Finally our community will have the foundations we need to ensure more research, funding and recognition.
Very generous private donations have allowed us to get the symposium underway. We are extremely grateful for the support, but more needs to be raised to make this most important event a complete success. Help us “Make our Invisible Visible” by donating to this project; anything you can give will be very much appreciated. To donate, please visit EDS UK or EDNF. “
This is very exciting stuff but I’d say it will take a long time for any of it to filter into the Irish Health System, but we have a few excellent EDS/HMS, Connective Tissue and Collagen disorder related groups here in Ireland who work tirelessly to spread more awareness and the most up to date information and research. Here are the ones I am most aware of, if there are any I have missed and I’m sure there are, please, really please let me know of any more Irish related Connective Tissue groups.
Please click on the names below to be taken to these pages. Also be aware that most of these links also have Facebook and Twitter pages as well as private, closed support groups for patients and relatives be sure to ask at the links below if you are interested in joining.
Irish EDS&HMS have a lovely page on their site giving an example of different connective tissue disorders that incorporate Hypermobility, as there are a few others besides EDS itself. Is certainly worth the quick read through. Find it , ‘Here‘
Only 2 weeks ago or less, Irish EDS&HMS also got the amazing opportunity to have a supporting clinician to sit on the International EDS Symposium in NY, they grabbed the opportunity, set up a fundraiser to send a medical professional from Ireland, worked incredibly hard, but unfortunately, though they got in touch with many people, they could not find someone on time to send over.
This just shows to prove how badly the medical support for EDS is here in Ireland. We have a few Consultants and Doctors with an interest, but no experts unfortunately. Hopefully this will change soon after the Symposium and EDS will be better recognised and supported here.
Thankfully though, there is another follow up conference in Baltimore in June where the findings of the NY Symposium will be formally discussed, any funds that have been collected already for the NY Symposium will be repurposed for the Baltimore conference where hopefully they can find someone in the medical community to support us with EDS.
If you would like to support the Irish EDS&HMS fund to send a medical professional to represent Irish EDSers in Baltimore then please, please donate ‘Here‘ or click on the image below.
Please click to support the Irish EDS & HMS Fund to send a medical professional to represent Ireland at the Baltimore EDS Conference.
This is so very important for the future of diagnosis and treatment of EDS here in Ireland. If a medical professional can go it means the information will be translated into the HSE quicker than if Irish EDS&HMS don’t get anyone and have to try and push the information into the HSE as patients or advocates themselves, they may not be taken as seriously or the information will not be treated as urgently as it would if us EDSers have the back up of a medical professional who already works within the HSE.
For the month that’s in it, here on Irish Dysautonomia Awareness, I will do my best to post regularly, share other people’s EDS blog posts share, photos, research and anything that will help spread more Awareness of EDS throughout May.
Thank you as always for taking the time to read and if YOU would like to share anything EDS related with us, a post, story, photo, drawing, meme, video, research, ANYTHING! Please get in touch either via our email: email@example.com or on the blog here directly, through Facebook, Twitter or even our YouTube channel, and I will be sure to share it on here and through the social networks.
Cheers folks, Happy EDS Awareness Month 2016, let’s make it a good one if we can 🙂
Lots going on as usual but the past couple of weeks, health wise, have been terrible. I have had to reschedule so much and it’s a constant thing now. I try (more like hope) to plan for something, get excited the couple of days before if I am at a base level of sick that I can live with but then at the 11th hour I have to cancel because my health has decided to go batpoop out of the blue!
Just this morning I had to let someone down having agreed to take part in something (voluntarily, social network wise) that would have given me, and you as the readers that interact, an incredible opportunity to raise awareness of Dysautonomia, EDS, all the related conditions and rare diseases in general. It was supposed to start Monday, However, given the closeness of nearly calling an ambulance on and off over the past couple of days, it would have been really crappy of me to take something on that I may not be able to fulfill so I had to step down for now. It broke my heart to do it too, but hopefully I may get another chance.
This past week, last Sunday, I had decided to go and support a couple of friends at ‘The People’s Park’ where they had a wonderful Art Performance called ‘Nice Screams‘ as part of EVA International Biennale of Contemporary Art in Limerick in Ireland. They are called ‘Softday‘ and they are mega, be sure to check them out.
But yeah, had to let them down the last minute also because I was so ill that every time I attempted to move in the bed I vomited and this with the savage nausea ended up making me very tachycardic. The 2 days before this I had been ok, sick but manageable, had even been speaking to one of my friends in the wee hours of the morning saying that I had been good and was looking forward to going to see their piece. A few hours after going to bed though, that all changed. I held on hoping something would change but I couldn’t realistically go anywhere the state I was in, then Keith couldn’t go either because he can’t leave me alone incase I syncope or seize without breathing.
It’s a shyte state of affairs to be honest, but I also know I am not the worst case either. There are far worse than me out there. At the same time though, it’s still not easy having to be constantly supervised and those doing the supervising cant move an inch either. I think that is very unfair especially on my Husband as it is fulltime for him.
Tuesday the 26th I had an important consultation with Dr. Akbar in Cork University Hospital. He is a Gastroenterologist and from what I hear, he is very good and very well up on EDS. He is also well acquainted with Prof. Aziz in London.
When I was over in London meeting Prof. Grahame who diagnosed my EDS Hypermobility type, with possible overlaps of other EDS types, he heard about my stomach and gut issues and strongly urged I go and see their Neurogastroenterologist called, Prof Aziz. I haven’t been able to get over since (Tried a number of times to get over and had to cancel because of mostly hospital admissions and their recovery) and now, I currently have been told not to travel for health reasons and as such until I can go see Prof. Aziz in London, for now at least, Cork is closer to get to. Except on Tuesday, we again were in the territory of calling an ambulance. I had to reschedule and thankfully I got another appointment for the 17th of May. Hopefully I can make that one. I am so pissed I had to miss it, especially when it would have been good for him to see me in that state, but I couldn’t even get to the car without passing out.
Wednesday: nothing on but my neck and base of my skull started giving major trouble. Thursday: again nothing on but the pain was significantly worse, this time with serious inter-cranial pressure bringing me close to syncope every time I sat or tried to stand up.
Friday: Woke to moaning, my own moaning! I couldn’t move my neck at all. The migraine and pain was so bad I was not able to so much as open my eyes without wanting to scream. Every breath in, swallow, slight movement made my neck, base of my skull and what felt like my entire brain from searing! Extreme dizziness, fatigue, nausea and mostly pain. The thing was, If I could stay upright, I probably would have lived through the pain to go anywhere but if I tried to go more than a 45º angle off the bed I was starting to black out.
I had a pain specialist appointment that day in The University Hospital Limerick and I was in too much pain to go!
How does that even make sense? 😦
It was an important appointment too in that I would have been getting some neck X-ray results back from a couple of weeks ago to see if it needs to be escalated to an MRI, if not an upright MRI, and booked in for more steroid injections into my SI joint and the Occipital nerves of the base of the skull. Also, just like Tuesdays appointment with Dr. Akbar in CUH, it would have been great for him to see me in that state to understand the extent of what happens.
It’s not the pain, or nausea or anything, I can live with all of those, (well sometimes I can’t but there is a constant baseline of sick that I live with daily that is manageable) but it’s the constant NCS/Vasovagal Syncope (They are the same thing) especially when it happens and my breathing stops, that’s what stops me in my tracks.
Then here we are today, Sat the 30th and I had to cancel that thing I was meant to be doing starting Monday (What I spoke about at the start of this rant!)
I’ll just have to continue rescheduling life until I am physically able for these things. I feel guilty about this, feeling like I have let people down yet I know I can’t help it either!
Do you folks (Mainly with chronic illness’ but I would love for anyone to reply!) have to constantly reschedule? Do you feel bad for doing so while also knowing that IT IS IN NO WAY YOUR FAULT! or… am I just a strange thing?!
Share your thoughts and thank you so much for reading. 🙂
I had a HIDA Scan a couple of weeks ago too, I will do a blog post for that alone, it was an interesting if not somewhat boring test, but ill fill you in on that next time 😉
It has been a crazy month, to say the least! A lot has happened, so this is going to be a long one, bear with me, I do these posts to refresh my own memory of everything that goes on too. There is a ‘too long didnt read” at the bottom of this for those of you who don’t want the nitty gritty, This post will include pictures and a short video clip of one of my seizures, so lets go…
Just after I woke up in resus!!
Once again, on the 15th of July, I ended up having a Nurocardiogenic syncope at home followed by a prolonged seizure that required me to be sedated, intubated and rushed to Accident and Emergency via ambulance.
I was in resus until my breathing and everything was stable enough for me to be admitted, where then I waited on a trolly in A&E for 34 hours before being given a bed on a ward. 36 hours is the cut off point where a patient HAS to be given a bed, where I presume legal action can be pursued after this point, I don’t know to be honest.
After being admitted into the ER, waiting for a ward bed.
It was 3am in the morning, I had been waiting around drunkards and violent drugged up assholes who had nothing better to be doing than shouting abuse and pulling off their bloody bandages where I could see where they had split their own heads open by falling backwards onto a kerb, probably falling only over their own feet or after starting some fight over something trivial. Either way I was finally given a bed on a ward, in a single room for the night where I really needed to catch up on some much needed sleep!
My medical chart is HUGE!!
This kinda hurt, in fairness!
This? not so much!
Trying to keep the bright side out!
The following morning I was moved into a 4 bed ward nextdoor where it was quiet, lovely and peaceful, unlike the usual geriatric ward I normally end up on when I go into hospital. Here I caught up on sleep got a little better over a few days, then had another few seizures. Everytime I got medicated for the seizures they seemed to get worse, to the point where one day I had a seizure that made me end up in the HDU (High Dependency Unit)
Epileptic Seizures are usually treated with drugs called Benzodiazepine’s or Benzos for short. Given in high doses they can cause respiratory depression and can stop breathing to a point where you may need to be ventilated. This happened to me and that’s why I ended up in the HDU so that I could be watched closely by nurses more ready and able to treat me faster than those on the ward. I was only there for a few days until a bed became available on another ward. The geriatric ward I hated so much!
So, down I went, into the geriatric ward. I was so out of my mind on all sorts of sedative drugs, I don’t know how long I was on that ward before I had another seizure, this time a really serious one. Luckily as it happened, the head Neurologist happened to be in the ward at the time speaking with another patient so he came over and saw the whole thing happen. Over the course of 2 hours and 40 minutes I continued to seize and as usual they treated me with a huge amount of Benzos to try and stop it, but as usual, I seemed to resist, things became worse and I had to have my airway ventilated to the point where they decided to move me to the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) as the seizure was so severe and I wasn’t coming around from it and they thought I may need to be ventilated for a further period of time or may need to be given even more serious drugs to help me wake up.
My Husband had been called in as this had obviously gotten serious, he had been called in a few times at this point because of prolonged seizures but even he was surprised to hear about me going to ICU. Keith has been amazingly supportive throughout and is always by my side for everything, I can never thank him enough for his love and support. He called my mum and they both rushed in to be with me.
Thankfully though, I did eventually come around on my own, stoned and confused, I thought I had woken on the Starship Enterprise or something, ICU, I have to say, from a Techy point of view, looked totally cool!!
I hadn’t a clue where I was, I tried to lift my head to get a better view of my surroundings but the room spun, all I could see was, there was glass everywhere, amazing looking machines and monitors, all connected to the ceiling, giant robotic looking arms and tables with instruments beeping and clicking, where the hell was I? I almost immediately fell back into a sleep of utter stupor from the drugs they had filled me with until I heard a ladies voice…
“Hey you, welcome back to us, we got worried about you there for a while… You are in the ICU, my name is Dr. …”
The ICU?!! being told that even in a drugged up state was quite a bit to take in, she explained what had happened and that they were going to keep me there until they were confident that I was safe enough to be returned to the HDU (High Dependency Unit)
Keith and mum arrived in and it was nice to be awake for them, even if I was still stoned out of my noggin, I slowly came around properly and thankfully there was nothing cognitively impaired from what we could all tell. My heart rate dropped so low at times it set the monitors off a few times but my stats got eventually better, I was allowed to eat a little and have a wash before being returned to the HDU.
In the HDU, I didn’t recover very quickly, I was feeling terrible, slept a lot and refused to eat for a few days as I was so nauseous which in turn made my symptoms worse, my blood sugar dropped very low to the point where my nurse begged me to eat and drink something. I tried and things slowly improved.
While in the HDU I had to endure feeling sad about having to miss the benefit gig, but I got a massive surprise one day when Keith arrived into me at visiting hours and said, “Someone is here to see you” … when they popped their head around the curtain it took me a minute to register as it was such a surprise, a dear friend came to visit me, all the way from America, just for one night to be at the benefit gig, she is a pilot so she has the freedom to jump a plane where she can and hitch a ride wherever, I couldn’t believe it, we embraced eachother, it was so cool, what an incredible gesture, one I don’t even know where to begin on how to thank her!!
I was transferred to Beaumont via ambulance where I stayed for 3 days under constant monitoring, 2 cameras, a ton of electrodes glued to my head and 2 seizures later I was seen by their Neurologist.
The seizures showed no sign of electrical activity in the brain at all so I was delighted to hear that he was confident enough to say I didn’t have Epilepsy, excellent, so, what was causing my seizures?
He said it was one of 3 things, 1 or 3 being the most likely:
1: They could be a symptom of the POTS or EDS, like Dysautonomic Seizures, but as that was not his field, he was unqualified to say and it would be best to speak to Prof. Grahame, whom I will be meeting in 10 days time in London.
2: It was purely psychological, which he wasn’t willing to believe as the seizures were very real and I was most certainly unresponsive with erratic stats during those episodes and have no evidence of past traumas or psychological problems.
3: Which he said was the most likely cause, was that the first seizure I had back in May that started all this may have been a complete once off and that the drugs and Benzos they treated me with and prescribed me with actually exacerbated all my symptoms, didn’t suit me at all and made everything far worse, so he was immediately going to cease all antiepileptics I was on. Which was outstanding news because since May all I have been doing on the new drugs was sleeping and not progressing at all.
Once that was settled, he wrote up his observations for my team of Limerick doctors and on the 3rd day I was returned back down to Limerick via ambulance and was put back into the geriatric ward where it was quite literally like a crazy house in comparison to Beaumont where everything seemed to run so smoothly by comparison!
A night goes by on the ward, old people moaning, crying out, the smell of poop and vomit… I needed out and fast, but I did notice one thing. Other than tremoring a little from coming down off the amount of Benzos they gave me, I hadn’t had a single seizure since they took me off the antiepileptics!! That was 3 days seizure free! I was feeling a little brighter and not a sniff of a seizure type headache, I was delighted and as it was the Friday prior to the long August weekend, I felt I didn’t need to be sitting, wasting a bed on the ward until the following Tuesday and I was eager to get home to Keith and the pup, it had been nearly 3 weeks in at this stage.
My medical team came to see me, asked me about how Dublin went, go through my charts, recognize that I am to be removed completely from all antiepileptics and if I am to have another seizure I am not to be given Benzos as they simply make matters worse. They will monitor my progress off the drugs until they see me next time and see how I do.
As part of their diagnostics and to rule absolutely everything out they want me to speak to a Neuropsych anyway just cover all angles, which I have no problem doing, we are all pretty confident I am sound, it is just another diagnostic. They completely recognize the fact that it could have been a once off dysautonomic seizure that was treated with medication that didn’t suit me.
Considering I have been out of hospital 15 days now and not a single seizure in sight, I am pretty delighted that is most likely the case. I am brighter, healthier, need less naps and have less symptoms in general since coming off the antiepileptics, that in itself is a wonderful outcome.
All that is left to do now is meet Prof. Grahame in 10 days time in London and hopefully he may be able to shed even more light on my prognosis.
Too Long Didn’t Read? Had severe seizures, ended up back in hospital, longest seizure 2 hours 40mins which landed me in the ICU, was transferred to Dublin for tests which confirmed I didn’t have Epilepsy, turns out the first seizure may have been a once off dysautonomic seizure and it was the antiepileptic drugs they had me on that made matters worse, off them now and not a seizure since, WOO!!! 10 days till my trip to London to see Prof. Rodney Grahame.