Meet the Author of Misdiagnosed: Jean Sharon Abbott

Meet the Author Jean Sharon Abbott

It is Dystonia Awareness Week here in the UK so I am so pleased to welcome Jean Sharon Abbott to my blog to discuss writing her memoir Misdiagnosed: My Thirty-Year Struggle with a Debilitating Disorder I Never Had. I first became aware of Jean via her blog before she wrote her book. The posts about her adventures after she had been correctly diagnosed and her joy of being able to do things she had never dreamed of were uplifting and her positivity shone on the screen. I have followed her story ever since. I am in awe of how much awareness of dystonia she has done, how many people have been touched by her story and have had their lives turned around because of it.

https://www.today.com/video/woman-misdiagnosed-with-cerebral-palsy-for-33-years-441367619953

Misdiagnosed: My Thirty-Year Struggle with a Debilitating Disorder I Never Had

 

Blurb:

As a young girl, Jean watched her classmates run across the playground and wondered, “How do they do that?” As a teenager, she watched her friends go off on dates and thought, “Will anyone ever love me?” And when she was a young adult she realized that God has a plan. An absolutely wonderful plan.

Jean Abbott has a powerful and uplifting story of perseverance no matter what life brings. After enduring 3 decades of countless doctors visit, medical procedures, unnecessary medications, and surgeries, she heard the words, “You’ve been misdiagnosed.” Could this be the life she’s been waiting for?

 

 

Purchased from:

Jean Sharon Abbot’s own site for  a signed copy: https://bit.ly/2IcKLmv

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2rEi2g0

Meet the Author: Jean Sharon Abbott

 

I’ve always enjoyed writing. When I was a teenager I dreamed of writing screenplays or best selling novels. At one point I thought it would be fun to write a book about growing up with Spastic Diplegia, Cerebral Palsy. However, I didn’t feel that my story had anything special from all the other books about overcoming physical limitations. That all changed when I discovered that I had been misdiagnosed for 3 decades and truly felt as though a miracle had happened. I knew that I had to share my story with the world and the best way to do that would be with a memoir.

The writing processes proved to be much more difficult than I had anticipated. Initially, I didn’t have a clue as to how to start writing such a big project or how I should even start! Truthfully, my mind was on other things…I was scheduled to have my Baclofen Pump removed and was worried about laying flat on my back for 3-7 days. I quickly realized that it would be nearly as bad as the muscle transfer that I endured at age 12. I let my mind wander for a few minutes, putting me back at Children’s Hospital nearly 20 years prior. The emotions from that day came pouring back and I began to write about that horrific day. From that point on, I kept on writing about different childhood memories.

I learned a lot through the writing process. I never had any idea how strong and courageous I was. I never realized how I faced so many challenges but was able to stay optimistic. Most importantly, I never thought about how all of this affected my parents. There were days where I sat at my computer and the tears would blur my vision so much that I was unable to see the computer screen! I cried more recalling my past than I did living it. Often times it felt as though I was writing a fictional story because at times the events seemed unreal.

The scariest part of writing my memoir was waiting for friends and family to read it!! I had poured my heart and soul into 270 pages and left nothing to the imagination. Would they think it was written poorly? Would they feel sorry for me? Names had been changed to protect the identity of those who would not come across in a positive light, so I also wondered, will people think I’m writing about them when I’m really writing about someone else? For the most part, everyone was very supportive of how the book turned out. In fact, I’m often asked if there will be a sequel! I’m not sure if I could get a better review than that!

Writing a big project such as this was exciting, fun, challenging and some days very emotional. There were many times that I wanted to quit! Fortunately, my family would encourage me to finish what I started. And thanks to them, I was able to achieve one of my biggest goals in life.

Meet the Author Jean Sharon Abbott

You can follow Jean Sharon Abbott on:

https://www.jeanabbott.com/

Thank you so much, Jean, for sharing your writing experience and popping over to this blog.

Happy writing and reading!

 

Dystonia: The Curse of Writer’s Cramp

Dystonia; a writer's curse

Everyone has heard or felt ‘writer’s cramp’. The constant moans of it were prevalent in exam season when I was growing up after writing streams of revision notes and hours worth of exams. The pain, cramp, and stiffness from clutching the pen too tight through fear of running out of time; the overwhelming desire to stretch the muscles from their clenched position to relieve the tense muscles. What many do not know is writer’s cramp is a form of dystonia and for a writer, it is a curse with no cure.

I have a rare form of dystonia which has become generalised and affects every muscle it can think of, including my hands.  In honour of  Dystonia Awareness Week here in the UK, I am coming out of hiding to highlight the debilitating condition of writers cramp because as its name suggests it affect writers.

 What is dystonia?

Mention dystonia and many people will scratch their heads because they have never heard of it affects 70,000 people in the UK. It is a neurological condition that causes muscles to spasm uncontrollably.

How does writers cramp fit in?

Writers cramp is a form of focal dystonia affecting the hands and is task-specific so it only happens when writing. Musicians can also suffer from focal hand dystonia because of the long periods they practice and play their musical instrument.

Writing becomes difficult because the pen is gripped too hard, the hand clenches tight or the fingers extend so a pen cannot be held properly or the wrist twists in ways you do not think possible. The more you write the worse it gets and the words become illegible. My writing can turn from relatively normal to a scrawl worthy of any doctor in a paragraph or sentence. It conflicts with my love of stationery and beautiful notebooks; I have endless notebooks I will never fill and pens I will hardly use.

It can be caused by

  • overuse of the hand
  • poor posture when writing
  • holding the pen incorrectly
  • or like in my case, part of a more generalised dystonia.

 

Awareness is key to get prompt diagnosis and treatment. There is no cure for writer’s cramp but it can be helped by retraining the brain to write, botox injections or medication.

Luckily we live in a world where technology is readily available so we have access to keyboards and if all else fails, voice recognition. My experience with that can be read here. Writer’s can continue practicing their craft but for me, there is nothing quite as free as letting creativity flow through the use of a pen on paper.

More information can be found on Writer’s cramp here

Happy writing, however, you do it!

Information from my own experience and The Dystonia Society UK.