An Introduction

Welcome To A Jackals Voice. The intention of this blog is to be an outlet for myself and others on topics that are not generally discussed...

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Pick a Diagnosis

Hello and welcome back to A Jackals Voice.
For those of you that are new to this blog, it was created shortly after I became unable to work due to a rather sudden onset of mental illness. Almost a year ago I had a panic attack at work which set of a chain reaction within my body. At first, there was some small involuntary movements and a stammer, but this escalated rather quickly. The movements got worse, and I developed a gait which limited my walking. The stammer became more complex, I developed trigger words which I would repeat over and over, along with the occasional grunting noise which I had no control over.
Prior to this none of these symptoms had ever really manifested, except for a stammer when I was particularly nervous. Now I use a walking stick in order to keep my posture straight and, whilst my voice has improved a lot in recent months, I do now shout words or phrases without meaning too. For the most part, I'm able to laugh it off as it can be quite funny. However, I've recently been seen by another specialist who has given me a diagnosis which contradicts everything that I've been told before. Once again I am thrown back into uncertainty and that's what today's post is about.


Before I explain what this new diagnosis might mean, I'm going to share some information about my previous doctors. When I first became ill I was given sick notes that read 'Anxiety States' to give to my employers. Luckily my employers were and are very good friends of mine, but at the time I hated giving such a vague excuse as to what was going on.
Later I would see my first psychiatrist, who openly admitted he didn't know what was going on but promised that we would figure it out together. So he wrote up a profile about me to send to my GP. In this profile, he detailed 'Tic-like vocalizations and Echolalia', Which basically translates to blurting random noises and repeating spoken words. He also noted 'Dystonic Movements' but little would come of that until much later. Sadly I only saw this man twice. The Mental Health Team in my area was going through some changes and he was reassigned. The next appointment I got was with a complete stranger who went back through everything we'd already discussed, rather than carry on where we left off. Thus began the bouncing between professionals that has led up until now.

The vocalizations and movements have stayed on my record, and prior to visiting my most recent professional, I was pretty convinced, as were my doctors, that I had some form of Generalised Dystonia. It wasn't a great diagnosis, life-changing to be sure, but not life-threatening. So I did my research. I settled into the idea that getting better was not really going to happen, but that didn't mean my life was over. Truth be told, I was just happy to know what I was dealing with. It wasn't a great hand to be dealt, but I did my crying, got over it and started looking forward to the future. Then I received an appointment letter from a Doctor down in London. Queens Hospital Neurology department. I hadn't expected to hear anything so soon, so the prospect of going was both exciting and a little scary. This was it. If I was going to get diagnosed officially, this was who was going to do it. So my mother took me down to London, and we went to see the good doctor.

Once we arrived we were quickly processed and were told we wouldn't be waiting long. Sure enough, a nurse approached us within ten minutes to tell me about my appointment. I was told there were a few extra doctors training under the one I was about to meet. I said that I would be okay. My line of thinking was; 'Good. He'll see me at my worst and will be able to diagnose me faster'. So we went in and began what was more of a job interview than an examination. The small tests he asked of me were nothing new, and he didn't even finish most of them as my other doctors had. For the majority of the 45 minutes, he just sat there talking. Asking the same questions that everyone else had. Finally, he gave me what I'd come for, a diagnosis.
Not Dystonia, but something else entirely. something that he was not a specialist in, but he would refer me accordingly. Something curable. This was good news to be sure. I'd be sent to a new specialist and everything would be right back to normal.

There was one minor problem however. The diagnosis given was something that I had suggested multiple times to my other doctors. A diagnosis that multiple doctors were certain it was not. This meant one of two things: First; I was right and multiple doctors really need to work on their neurology or Second; This new doctor is wrong and has just bounced me to yet another specialist, who will undoubtedly bounce me back.
I would like to believe that I was right, but I've listened to my doctors and I've done the research they suggested. This new diagnosis is incredibly unlikely, but then so is Dystonia. In reality, I'm not convinced. My gut tells me that he is wrong. It tells me that a 45-minute 'examination' (more like a glorified interview) without extensive testing is not enough to send me on my way with a new hope. Also, whilst I try to think the best of people, there were six or seven training doctors in that room, all looking at him to come up with a diagnosis. That's six or seven people that you want to impress.
I don't know what's wrong with me, and neither do several medical professionals, yet this man comes up with a diagnosis in 45-minutes that all the others missed or rejected. It would be nice if he is right, but I just don't see it. I just feel like we've gone backward again.


Anyway, this was just an update on my situation. If you'd like to look into Dystonia or my other proposed ailments I will be adding several sites to the Links page over the next day or so.

Over to you now.
Have you had trouble like this with doctors? Are you currently in a similar position? Perhaps you have some thoughts on my situation? Please leave a comment or E-mail me.
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This has been,
A Jackals Voice.