Thursday, June 23, 2011

So I thought that I was originally going to be posting reactions to my Tourette's in this blog after a brief background and explanation. I never figured it would be one of those journey blogs, telling about the changes and coping and whatnot... I guess it might become like that. We will have to see I guess, depending on how much they plan on changing. Remember how I mentioned that I mostly have the vocal tick and just a slight physical tick? Well, I guess the physical tick was feeling left out. BTW, you should know there is a difference between a regular shudder from being cold, and my Tourette's shudder, so I can tell which is which. I have noticed over the past couple of weeks that the tick is showing up more often. Not only that, but it is starting to hurt. Not a fan of that part. I'm not too sure how to explain how it feels or what happens... I think the only way to explain it is like I am being grabbed from the inside.

I love my squeaks, they make me happy, but the shudder is starting to scare me. I'm not really sure what to do with it, how to react or anything. The other night as I shuddered, I really felt like I was being grabbed, and that, especially as a woman, scares me. And the feeling of helplessness because I can't do anything about it? Terrible. On top of it hurting? At least with the squeaks, they don't hurt. Not all of the shudders hurt either, but the fact that a few of them are getting to that point makes me wonder if this is something that will only get worse with time. Usually this is a good thing, but this time, the scary part is that I can't help it.

In the Beginning...

Thursday, June 9, 2011

So remember how I mentioned that Tourettes comes before age 18, but usually around the age of 4 or 5? Well, apparently nothing I do fits the norm, because I was one of the late ones. I didn't start making noises until I was 17. It was my senior year of high school, and I had a job at our local library. Yes, of all places a library. The very first noise came while I was at work one day in the fall of 2003. I happened to be in the back room, and I was alone when it happened. I made a funny little noise, one that sounds like a squeaky toy (hence the reason I call them squeaks). I thought that was interesting, it was kind of like a hiccup, but it didn't hurt and I only did one... ok. I didn't take much notice. However, I did one again the following day, also at work. This time I was around some of the ladies that worked at the library. They thought it was a cute little noise, and life moved on.

It started happening every day. The library ladies thought it was adorable every time I did it, so we usually had a nice little chuckle when they happened. I don't know how long it went on like that, but soon, I started doing it more than once a day. It was Connie who started to realize I was doing them more often and started counting how many I did during my shift. Once she started counting, they became more frequent. We still had chuckles over it, I wasn't too concerned, mostly because , as I mentioned before, it didn't hurt. I don't feel anything when I make these sounds. It was always the same little sound, something like a cute little hiccup, so life went on.

I graduated from high school, and went on to Snow College as a music major. During HS, I had discovered music and choir, and I had fallen in love. I wanted to become a choir director. While I was at Snow, things started to change. I started doing two in a row anytime I made noises, and multiple times a day. This started to concern my parents a bit. One trip home, they sent me to see the family doctor. I didn't do any during the visit, but after explaining them, I was told that this is something I should see a specialist about.

I started doing sets of three my second year at Snow. They were getting more attention and I started getting reactions from people (to be told in later posts). Now as a voice emphasis, we started studying the different problems that can harm a vocalist about the same time I was in a stage production for school called MAME. I was only in the chorus, but I started to have a constant sore throat from all the strain. I saw a doctor recommended by my voice teacher about this, and also brought up the squeaks. He gave me some things to do for my sore throat, and said that something had to be spasming to create a noise like that, so he also gave me some muscle relaxant to try. The next day, I took the muscle relaxant. About an hour after taking it, I squeaked. So much for that theory. He also tried to test my blood. You should know I am terrified of needles. Not happy with that idea. Especially when nothing came back and the doctor was stumped.

Time passed, and I graduated from Snow with my Associate's Degree. I moved home and put in mission papers. I went to and Ear, Nose and Throat doctor, and he said he had never heard of anything like it, and didn't know how to help. One night, I did four in a row, and this was the first time I started to get concerned, if this was going to be a pattern, it might become a problem. I only did four in a row once, though. After that night, they cute little squeaks started to... evolve. Some got longer, and they started to fluctuate in pitch. It was small differences at first, but the more time passed, the more changes came. Most of the time I still had my cute little hiccup like squeak, but every once in a while, they were different.

The day I went to the temple for the first time is a whole blog post in and of itself, so I won't go into detail, but that was the day I quit worrying about my squeaks, and I set out to serve the Lord. About halfway through my mission, the mission doctor came to visit, and heard one of my squeaks. One of the originals. I apologized and told him I didn't know what it was, it was just something I do. He said, "I bet it is Tourettes. You would have to do some neurological tests, but I'm pretty sure that is what it would be." Others had given that thought before, so I had heard the word, but didn't really know what it was, just that it really didn't have a cure. My reaction to Dr. Dahl? Why would I pay so much money for them to tell me there is no cure? I was comfortable with them, so I just let the idea roll off my back.

I lived with them, having many reactions that have shaped who I am today, because they have changed my life considerably. In a good way, though. It wasn't until the summer of 2010 that I was officially diagnosed on BYUH campus by Dr. Orr, the school psychiatrist. That is also a long story and another blog post. This post was to focus on my discovery of Tourettes; what it is, and how it suddenly appeared in my life. I guess awesome things just come to me, and I can't help it.

I Can't Help It

Monday, June 6, 2011

So I was asking friends what to call this blog I am creating... I had a few good responses. Chosen title was simply funniest, and I happen to love movie quotes. Emperor's New Groove is simply a classic. I can't help it was also up there, because, well, that's the point of this blog. There are simply some things in my life I can't control. It's not the usual stuff, either. Sure, no one can really control all the stuff that happens around them on a day to day basis, but most people can at least control the sounds that come out of their mouth. I can't. At least not always. I have what is commonly called Tourette's Syndrome. Never heard of it? Some have, some haven't. First post should probably explain that... I make noises. I can't help it.

Doctors don't really know what causes it, or how to cure it. I am ok with that. Tourette's is classified by a vocal tick and a physical tick. They can be any kind of uncontrollable sound or action. Most people think that people with Tourette's swear. This is not always the case. Any sound will do. Some cases are more severe than others. The onset is before the age of 18, but most commonly shows up at a young age like 4 or 5. I have watched documentaries about other people with Tourette's, and most were different. It could vary anywhere from a twitch to walking in circles as they go on their merry way. Vocal ticks can be anything from phrases to swearing or any other sound.There is no pattern to when the tick will occur.

As for my personal experience with Tourette's, I shudder occasionally, as if I was cold, but I'm usually not. Not a big deal, not many even notice. It is my vocal tick, however, that has made me unique. They can be loud or soft, long or short and almost always different. I have a few friends who have taken to naming them, and it might help you understand what I mean by noises... Sometimes I sound like a squeaky toy. I sometimes sound like a pteradactyl, a mouse, a parrot, a car alarm, or a variety of other animal sounds. Sometimes it simply sounds like I got really excited and let out a squeal. Sometimes, it sounds like a bit of a grumble. This past week, I actually started a new one that sounds like the Mighty Mouse theme song... As I said, I can't control it, they just come. This blog was created to share my experience with Tourette's Syndrome, different reactions I get from people and other stories that have happened or will yet happen. It is quite an experience that keeps me and my friends on their toes. It is quite an exciting adventure! And the best part is... I can't help it. My life is just that awesome.
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