About me, a potted history!

Up until 2007 I had pretty reasonable health, I seemed to suffer with a lot of joint pain and pick up injuries quite easily but I was holding down a full time job and enjoying life.

 My blood pressure had always been low but within normal range and I have had  palpitations for as long as I can remember, which I self diagnosed as anxiety.

 I was ignorant regarding the world of dysautonomia / the autonomic nervous system / chronic illness and was ill prepared ( pardon the pun) for the twists and turns my life was about to take.

How it started:

On 5th January 2007 I suffered the worst migraine I've ever suffered. It left me wiped out for days and the right side of my face felt numb and tingly, like I had just had dental work done. Over the next six days I visited my GP surgery on three occasions, no one could tell me what was going on. At this point I was told it was a migraine hangover and I would be better by Friday. Such a shame they never specified which one.

On the 11th January I suddenly developed severe ptosis, making my right eye shut completely and my eyebrow was sat on top of my eyelid. I saw an out of hours Dr who diagnosed Bells Palsy and I was prescribed prednisolone.

Over the next 16 months my health deteriorated to the point where I had to give up work and be ill health retired at the age of 34.

My diagnosis history thus far:

 January 2007 -  I was diagnosed with ptosis caused by Bells Palsy. I was told it was an atypical presentation as with most cases of Bells Palsy the sufferer can't close their eye. I just couldn't open mine.

August 2007- I was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease Myasthenia Gravis ( hence the name of the blog).

2009 -  the diagnosis of MG was removed and over the course of the next year I was diagnosed with;

Cortical Plasticity- caused by an unknown virus whose existence was never proved in any blood tests. ( I was prescribed  sodium valporate and informed I would be better in five years. I'm still waiting)

Deliberate breath holding - the doctor used this to explain why I randomly desaturate.

An unknown movement disorder.

Conversion disorder / somatiform disorder.

Although no one ever told me to my face about the psychiatric diagnosis, I discovered it in my medical notes. No psychiatric care was ever offered to me. I never saw a psychiatrist.

How I found out what was wrong with me :

In 2010 I stumbled upon the Internet forum DINET. I had been googling my symptoms to try and get some answers. After talking to its members I bought myself a blood pressure monitor that also takes your pulse. I started recording the measurements and it was clear I had autonomic nervous system issues.

It took a year of constant begging to get my GP to refer me for a tilt table test because he believed it was normal for a persons heart rate to increase by over 60 beats per minute on standing and POTs didn't exist. I was also informed by the same doctor that Ehlers Danlos syndrome was rare and I didn't have it. By the time of my tilt table test in 2011 I was in the process of moving doctors surgeries as it was clear no one at the old surgery was willing to help me.

On the 21st January 2011 I was diagnosed with postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome whilst still strapped to the tilt table, so impressive were my results. In May the same year I was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos syndrome. Finally I knew what was wrong and was being taken seriously.

Since then my condition has deteriorated further, I have now been diagnosed with post prandial hypotension, orthostatic intolerance and severe autonomic dysfunction. My consultant has informed me I have one of the worst cases of refractory POTs he has ever seen.

I still suffer from varying degrees of ptosis every day. No one has ever been able to tell me what causes it. All I know is it resolves when ice is placed on the eyebrow ( myasthenia gravis is the only disease in which this would happen, it resolves with mestinon - a drug mainly used in the treatment of MG). So my ptosis remains a mystery and new doctors I see still say its MG. Which is why I kept the blogs name the same after the MG diagnosis was removed.

This is my blog and this is my story. All photographs and blog posts are my own work. Thank you for reading.


David said...

Hi Rachel, I met your Mom and Lucy last week [you know where eh]. I didn't know about what was going on with you and i'm sorry to hear you've been having such a torrid time. I have a germ of an idea about how things have been for you though, as you'll understand. I have often thought about you, Lucy and your Mom on occasion because I'd bump into them every so often or see them as I was driving by. I understand, you don't have to post this. Just know that I wanted to say hi. Things have been pretty up and down for me as well but we each have our own stories and there's no way to fully understand each others' lives without reading about them or being told about them I never say that I understand when I don't. I know mine and nobody else's. Anyway, you know my contact now and I'd be happy to hear from you. Take care. Best Wishes David

The Myasthenia Kid said...

Hi David,

How lovely to hear from you. Mum told me she had bumped into you and I cringed when she told me she had been promoting my blog lol! However I am really glad she did.

It must have been absolute years since I have seen you and mum said you had been fighting some pretty tough health battles of your own recently.

It is so lovely of you to contact me. I really appreciate it.

I have your info now so I will be staying in touch.

Best wishes

Rach x