Wisdom teeth aren’t that terrifying for tics

Hey guys! So recently I got my wisdom teeth taken out and I wanted to share my experience with you. I am currently still recovering from surgery, and am sporting a little bit of chipmunk cheeks. They’re cute but I cannot wait to get rid of them! Anyways, I wanted to share what it was like to have the surgery and be in recovery because I know that before getting it I was terrified.

When I got there, I thought they were going to put me to sleep, which did not happen. I was awake throughout the whole surgery, but it went by very fast. The first thing they asked was if I liked music, and of course I said yes. The doctor asked if I had any requests to put on, and of course I said Panic! At The Disco because they are my all-time favorite band.

So he put that music on, and then gave me laughing gas. I was afraid of how the medication was going to make me feel, and if I would tic under it or not. After I was breathing in the laughing gas for a little while, he put a needle into my arm that had anesthesia.

I felt very calm and happy, and then they started the surgery. They had my arms loosely buckled down so I wouldn’t move too much, and I’m glad they did. I would have to say I had around 3 tics throughout the whole surgery, and they were arm tics, but they weren’t too powerful and didn’t interrupt anything. All in all, everything went smoothly and I was all scared for nothing.

The recovery is a pain because my mouth hurts all the time, but its getting better with each given day, I am constantly taking the medication and advil in-between to ease the pain, which is helping.

All in all, I just wanted to let you know that anyone who is going to have their wisdom teeth taken out, you’ll be fine!

My Medicine of Dance

This blog post originally appeared on BrittanyFichterWrites.com.

I don’t watch Dancing with the Stars often, but when I heard that there was going to be a  Disney night, I couldn’t resist. And I was not disappointed.

I grew up dancing. It was always one of the biggest parts of my life, but I didn’t realize how much it did to improve my Tourette Syndrome, OCD tendencies and anxiety until I graduated from high school and my tics began to get worse. I’ve given it quite a lot of thought, trying to put into words what my body and soul feel when I’m dancing, attempting to make sense of why dance so helps calm my mind and loosen my tics that cling so tightly to me.

This is what I’ve come up with.

How Dancing Improves My Tourette

If you’re not familiar with Tourette, having it makes you feel like you’ve got a million little bursts of energy all over your body. These bursts of energy make you feel like you need to constantly move, your tics (involuntary vocal sounds or physical movements), itching to escape. Suppression is possible, briefly, but what you’re left with is a body with a ton of energy that has nowhere else to go.

Unless you dance.

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A look back at the success of TSelfie Day!

A few weeks ago, on June 7, it was European Tourette Syndrome Awareness Day (or ETSA)! This day we use to attract as much awareness as possible for Tourette, especially from te media. I know in America you have the entire month, but we are very happy to have this day — it’s only the second time, and we wanted to make it as big as possible!

This year, we decited to work together and try to come up with a great idea to attract awareness. First we were with three organizations in the Netherlands and Belgium, but later we pitched it in the European meeting in Paris and everybody loved our idea and so the TSelfie was born and made into a huge success!

In case you’ve missed it: we invented te ‘TSelfie’, the Tourette Selfie (conviniently spelled with TS at the start. ;) This is a selfie taken with a wink, one of the most common tics! This way, we wanted to attract attention and also focus on the fact that Tourette is more than just swearing, there are a lot of other tics too!

We’ve worked very hard in attracting publicity and local celebraties, to attract even more attention. We also made a website, www.tselfie.eu, were we posted all the TSelfies and gave the public some explanation about Tourette, as well as links to all the different associations in Europe.

On the day itself, it turned out to be a HUGE succes with TSelfies from lots of celebraties and a LOT of people from a lot of different countries! I’ve seen TSelfies from America and India and almost every country in between! We even got a TSelfie from the Hungarian waterpolo team (in bathingsuite, of course…!!!), who were the Olympic champions from 2000, 2004 and 2008!

In the end, we got about 824 TSelfies from all around the world, which I made into a collage! I know there are more of them, but there were so many, there is no way to know for sure whether we got them all! I am so proud of what we’ve accomplished and I can’t wait for next year!

All these people supporting our cause: Tourette Awareness! It’s very humbling to see how this many people who I don’t even know, support us by posting a TSelfie, which we invented in a impulsive and creative group right here in the Netherlands and Belgium.

Besides the TSelfie, I was also on national TV on June 7! They taped here at my house and the shops nearby and at 11 p.m. I was on TV! I was very nervous, because I thought (for no reason, of course) that they weren’t gonna air it, but they did and I got a lot of great messages from people about it!

You can see it here (it’s Dutch): http://www.hartvannederland.nl/top-nieuws/2014/leven-met-tourette/

And this past Monday (June 23) I was  in a magazine about being an educator with a disability and today I will finally officially graduate and get my diploma! More on all of that soon!

2014 NJCTS Children’s Scholarship Award Essay: “I Have No Regrets”

This is the essay I submitted to the New Jersey Center for Tourette Syndrome & Associated Disorders (NJCTS) for their 2014 Children’s Scholarship Award contest. I hope you enjoy it!

When the word “disease” is said, overcoming is definitely not the first thing that comes to peoples’ minds. In my opinion, having Tourette’s is a battle. I have been bullied, ridiculed, and laughed at. I think a lot about the kid I could have become, that is, if I surrendered. But luckily, I didn’t.

I managed to muster the strength and courage to face my problem. In fact, I sometimes convince myself that I no longer have TS. I have accepted the fact that I will never be cured of this. So what does this mean for me? Hide behind excuses for the rest of my life? Succumb to being a nobody? Not anymore.

Ever since I entered high school, I slowly started to see the best out of every situation. I have used my tics to my advantage by channeling my energy into something positive: setting goals and achieving them. Why should I let TS get in the way of challenging myself? I found that I can use this obstacle to my advantage.

When I was in middle school, I definitely didn’t have the same optimism about having TS as I do now. Unfortunately back then, I fell into the trap of self-pity. I would always make excuses for myself. I didn’t challenge myself in school because I thought my mental abilities weren’t sufficient for mainstream classes.

My bizarre motor tics made me feel out of place and ashamed. My fear was that people would make fun of me, especially this one tic in particular (that I still have today) where I tweak my neck to the side to feel temporary relief. If I held my tics in, I felt like exploding. Often times I would tic then nonchalantly try to cover it up by using “normal” gestures, such as cracking my neck.

Once I gained the courage to move into mainstream classes in my last year of middle school, things weren’t as bad as I had anticipated.

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Coprolalia down, tics up

Hello! Happy summer to everyone. I am currently still trying to remember how to relax (and succeeding, I feel) after a very busy semester at university. Being so busy through the last semester had quite an effect on my tics.

Luckily, the coprolalia I had last time I posted hasn’t come back. I sometimes feel likes it’s going to come, but manage to stop it after the ‘f’, so that’s been super good for me! However the bursts of “Hello”, “what”, “achoo” and “weasels” have been coming out in full force. Especially “weasels.” It has sort of become a crowd favourite, with people jokingly requesting T-shirts with it written on!

My motor tics are still punching me in the chest, which is a pain, but isn’t painful and I’m pretty much able to carry on with whatever I’m doing to an extent. This tic has also sometimes morphed into one where my right hand is just sort of wiggling constantly. It happened the other day for over two hours which was super annoying, and left me aching the next day.

My legs have also been joining in on ticcing A LOT! I used to have weird jerks from my legs, but recently there’s been more twitching making it very, very difficult to walk. I also had tics where one of my legs just would not work for a while. This sometimes will stop me walking for a while, but sometimes I am able to hobble around for a while.

I also have started having falling tics where legs just give way. The first day when this happened it was pretty constant, where I would get up and be in the floor again in around three minutes. Luckily, this has decreased significantly, and I can sense these coming now and it is more like just my knees buckling quickly, and I don’t end up on the floor. But my Tourette’s is definitely not winning.

I have managed to finish my second year of uni and I am really happy with life right now! I will also try and be more proactive in blogging this summer, so I will hopefully see you soon!