Recently I have been reading many blogs written by others who also live with chronic illness. In some of these posts, chronically ill bloggers have been sharing their stories of living with their worst symptoms, and as a result, I thought that I would share my own personal story of life with trembling legs caused by a neurological condition.
If someone had asked me a few years ago what was my worst symptom, then I undoubtedly would have replied with “the constant and unrelenting dizziness.” The dizziness leaves me with the feeling that my entire perception of the world was off-balance, and at other times my world was spinning around me, leaving me feeling disoriented and sick. The dizziness can be so severe that when I am out in the big and open world, I feel unsafe and vulnerable as well as the feelings of unsteadiness that I need somebody with me to hold onto due to the fear of falling over.
Now, however, I would have to admit that the trembling in the legs has become my most troublesome symptom. Like the dizziness, the trembling is constant, unrelenting and has become life-altering. The severity of it does vary from day-to-day, sometimes minute by minute. Life has become increasingly unpredictable.
This morning, I woke up at around 8.30. Although I was awake, when I attempted to get out of bed, I was not able to because the trembling was so severe that I was incapable of standing or even to walk and therefore had to remain in bed until the trembling subsided. It did after half an hour or so and was able to get up and start the day ahead. This is unfortunately not uncommon, and recently it has become an increasingly familiar part of my morning routine; a rest from my broken body even before rising from bed. It doesn’t just affect me in the mornings, however, suddenly finding my legs being uncooperative and too weak to do their job can happen at any time of the day. Many times I have found myself abruptly crashing to the floor as the shakiness won the battle, leaving my legs giving way.
Of course, as someone living with a chronic illness, the trembling of the legs is not the only symptom that I have to contend with – of course, the dizziness is still a constant feature in my life and am also dealing with chronic pain which at times is excruciating. So what makes the trembling my worst symptom?
It’s because that out of all my symptoms the trembling is the symptom that I have no treatment for, and therefore no respite from the unrelenting shakiness of my legs. Even though the dizziness is constant, I do have periods of breaks from the severe bouts, and when the volume is turned down on it, then I am able to find ways to distract myself from the feeling of the earth being tilted on its axis.
It’s the same with the neuropathic pain caused by my neurological condition. Yes, for the most part, the pain feels like hell, but there are some small periods of time when the pain is bearable and am able to tolerate living side by side with it. Also, the dizziness and neuropathic pain can be treated with medications, although they seem to be merely a band-aid which can easily be ripped off instead of a cure. But at least there is some comfort in knowing there is a treatment plan for these symptoms; for the trembling however there does not seem to be anything to treat this particular symptom, and not even distraction techniques help to take my mind off the sensation.
The trembling, dizziness, pain and the other symptoms that make up the neurological condition I live with does get me down, but through all the trials and tribulations that they cause I try to focus on all of the positives in my life. Such as the amazing support that my friends and family show me every day. Living with chronic illness can be messy and complicated, but I choose to believe that there are still plenty of silver linings to be found.
So, tell me what is the worst symptom that you live with?
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