Late Onset Cerebellar Ataxia
As part of the Ataxia Aware project we are sharing personal accounts of those suffering with Ataxia or other rare conditions. We want to provide a safe space for people to talk about their experience with disability, whether themselves or someone close to them.
This is Patsy's story:
It is only on reflection that I can acknowledge my problems with balance in childhood. In adulthood I attributed it to my inturned right foot. However it was only after surgery in 2002, to straighten my foot that I was referred to neurology and diagnosed with idiopathic cerebellar ataxia.
My parents had my shoes wedged at about 5 years old but just the once. After that I just coped as any child would without knowing I was any different. It is all down to speed, momentum and overdrive of the cerebellum!
When I reached my late 50’s, I lost speed and kept falling over. Not due as I’d thought to my inturned foot, but an atrophied cerebellum. Described to me by the neurologist who diagnosed me as appearing drunk without the drink. He was 95% sure that I did not have MS. He also said that my shrunken cerebellum could have been due to my premature birth [I had told him I was born 6 weeks premature in 1942] but he couldn't say for sure.
My mother [pictured above with me and my late husband] fatally overdosed at the age of 57  years due to being bedridden with rheumatoid arthritus which could have masked ataxia.
Since 2002, I have moved around several times and changed neurologists. I have had numerous tests and assessments but none have revealed which type I have so my diagnosis is idiopathic spinocerabellar ataxia.
We would like to thank Patsy for sharing his inspirational story with us. It is important to stay #ataxiaaware. If you'd like to know more about her be sure to follow Twitter (@RiggsPatsy) and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/patsy.riggs
If you would also like to get involve and share your experience with Ataxia or other rare condition, please get into contact with us through our social media linked below: Twitter: @Ataxia_and_Me Instagram: @Ataxia_and_Me Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AtaxiaandMe/ >
Beth Soden - Media Coordinator for Ataxia and Me