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.

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