Today I want to tell you a bit about something that affects me every day of my life - hypermobility syndrome. The reason being that my bronco inflicted injuries (see VCB 04) are causing me to hobble around and so it seems fitting I have a bit of a moan here on my blog. Saying that I hope you will find it more interesting than ranty! I aim to inform and entertain!
Firstly let me address the title question: "Is it just double jointedness?"
"Double jointed?" - yes, more or less. It is where joints are highly flexible, for example athletes and gymnasts are usually hypermobile. But "just?" - no, not at all. It is more than just because "just" can't affect how you live your life. For a small minority of people, myself included, the flexibility of the joints cause injury and pain.
Going back to the very beginning for a moment, I was actually born with dislocated hips. Words cannot express how happy I am that I cannot remember this! I have expereienced subluxed joints (partial disclocation) which is painful enough as it is! Apparently when I was two my parents found out I would have bad joints for my whole life after I was referred to a consultant. And it turned out that consultant was spot on!
When I was a child I loved being active whether it be trampolining, cycling or general playing, however I always complained afterwards. I remember several times complaining to family that I couldn't walk any further when we out for the day (some of my relatives still think I was just being lazy). I can also remember my childhood injuries that led to my diagnosis.
When I was about 8 years old I tore a tendon in my left knee. I am not sure how I did this (possibly trampolining) but it led to my first xrays and my first ever physio sessions. A few years later, when I was about 11, I had more xrays and physio because I threw my back out. The back injury was a trampolining injury sustained during a move called the 'cradle' - a move where you back drop and then twist into a second, opposite facing backdrop. It hurt and I was banned from trampolining due to my back. Unfortunately it was the only sport I ever showed talent in! I could even do somersaults. But dem de brakes!
After that I was x-rayed, physio-ed and blood tested on a regular basis until a consultant finally diagnosed me with hypermobility when I was about 16. Of course anyone who has a chronic health problem will know that a diagnosis doesn't really mean much in terms of pain relief. I have tried everything for that: physio (which is rehabilitative so doesn't work), painkillers (at one point I counted about 17 pills a day for pain relief. I have since decided to go pill free where possible. I don't like thinking about how my liver is coping with all that medicine), and pain management.
Pain management is basically a nice way of specialist nurses saying "put up with it". And so I do. In fact I have had joint pain every day since I was about 19 and - without trying to sound like a martyr but going to end up sounding like it anyway - it is just part of life now. I have accepted that a full time job may never be achievable for me because of the strain on my joints and that when I think about big events I also have to schedule in several days of rest afterwards.
Before I end this hopefulyl interesting and not depressing blog I urge you to read The Spoon Theory. This is a personal story of someone living with a chronic illness and gives a good insight if you are not sure what this might mean for daily life.
To end I want to say that while I sometimes want to trade in my joints for some new ones I am happy and I surrounded by supportive and understanding people. When I say that hypermobility is part of my life it is a positive thing. I am lucky enough to have people like James who help me accept my pain and deal with it as best I can. The important thing is to not let it affect my enjoyment of life. And considering I am going to Los Angeles this summer... I think it is safe to say I don't!
QUESTION OF THE DAY: WHEN SOMETHING GETS YOU DOWN WHAT IS THE ONE THING THAT ALWAYS CHEERS YOU UP?
My answer: A Buffy DVD marathon usually does the trick. And of course my James always makes me happy.