As a toddler I was originally incorrectly diagnosed with spastic monoparesis, because I have two limbs affected, not one. Since I started my Diary, it’s often been difficult to uncover the official correct diagnosis, but feel I have managed that now.
First discovering at the age of 46 that I had cerebral palsy and through my own research evaluating my symptoms, I finally have the correct diagnosis, which is ‘cerebral palsy hemiplegic.’ Hemiplegic refers to a child or adult with weakness or paralysis on one side of the body and that is what I have.
Although I have many symptoms associated with my brain damage, hemiplegia refers to the injury, in my case the part of the brain that controls muscle movement. Hemiplegic refers to the diagnosis. This blog explains my ‘hemiplegic’ symptoms.
Hemiplegia means paralysis on the side opposite to the affected part of the brain. Because my brain injury is on the right, I have paralysis on the left. Symptoms for each child and adult will differ, but my symptoms are as follows:
- Stiffness and weakness in muscles on my affected side, hand, arm, leg and foot;
- Difficulty with fine motor skills such as handwriting;
- Difficultly with walking and balance;
- Delays in milestones and including sitting up, rolling over, crawling and smiling.
The physical I have touched on, but there are also the cognitive and behavioural effects that result from a brain injury. Although each child’s symptoms may differ, the following are what I deal with:
- My long-term memory is exceptional, but I have difficulty encoding, storing and retrieving new information;
- Difficulty planning and organising behaviour to accomplish tasks. I tend to lose concentration and give up too easily;
- Problems focusing and sustaining attention for long periods of time. I have problems filtering out distractions in situations where there is a lot of noise or stimulation;
- Problems with switching from one topic to another cohesively;
- Delays in expressive language (talking) but not in receptive language (understanding);
- A delay between what I hear and my brain’s processing.
Social communication as a child was difficult to near impossible, but has become easier over the years through my ability to use my intuition as a guide. My intuition helps me read situations and circumstances. It also helps with interpretation and application of social cues (knowing how to behave).
Those like myself with hemiplegia may have some atrophy to the arm, shoulder, hand, leg and foot and a leg length shortening. My left arm, hand, leg and foot are affected. The leg on my affected side (left) is shorter than the right side by ¾”. I have been told it’s because of the ¾” shortening that I have scoliosis.
I think the worst part is the scoliosis. Potentially realising I had scoliosis as a small child, and then realising my fears when the diagnosis was confirmed at the age of 25.