Monday, 14 June 2010

VCB 06: Pff, it is just double jointedness right?

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!

My answer: A Buffy DVD marathon usually does the trick. And of course my James always makes me happy.


A.J. James Brooks said...

For as long as I can remember when ever I was feeling down or blue I would watch a film. Now if ever I am feeling down a film seems to be nearly the only thing that can cheer me up. (other then spending time with a certain beautiful british woman.)

This was very informative and I feel I have been properly entertained thank you.

PinkPixieDF (Heather) said...

When I'm sad or upset, I usually write. I've kept journals since I was 8 and usually that's the best thing for me, because I can write about all my emotions and fears and questions and then I can look at them in black and white and try to sort them out logically. That has always helped me, but sometimes, just going to a good concert or movie distracts me long enough that by the time it's over, things don't feel so bad anymore.

Helen E. Abbott said...

@JooJoo How about watching a film WITH a certain beautiful woman? Even better.

@Heather I never could keep a journal. I guess this blog every day thing is the closest to it!

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Julie H said...

Thanks for sharing x Love the spoon theory too.

When something gets me down I have to lose myself, whether it's in a good book, listening to music on my mp3 player or going to the cinema and just completely switching off from it. But mainly what cheers me up is my hubby and my gorgeous, funny and cute 15 month old nephew. My nephew's ways, smiles and giggle make all the bad things just go away!

Helen E. Abbott said...

@Julie - Aww, my first nice or nephew is due in Sept.