Tuesday, May 4, 2010


I go by Shoveling Ferret in my online life, just because I like the name.  It reflects my archaeological training and my ferret-like nature.
My chronic-ness is Hashimoto's thyroiditis, undifferentiated connective tissue disease with a side of arthritis in the hands, sleep apnea, chronic fatigue syndrome, delayed sleep phase disorder and, brand new to my collection and a diagnosis that took 2 years to arrive at - Functional Movement Disorder.  I have involuntary movements and ataxia (trouble walking) that led to testing for MS, Huntington's Disease, evaluation for various other genetic disorders, cancer, and various other degenerative conditions.  A consultation with a movement disorder expert recently led to the diagnosis of Functional Movement Disorder - essentially a condition in which a patient exhibits functional neurological signs/deficits such as involuntary movement, tremors, ataxia, etc. without a clear underlying cause.
Some other terms include hysteria, Conversion Disorder, Psychogenic Movement Disorder, and Somatoform Disorder. 
Unfortunately, those terms don't really take into account the full picture of the disorder which seems not to be caused by purely psychological factors or lack of insight into psychological conflict or psycho-social stress.  Instead, the disorder seems to be related to a combination of medical, psychological, and social factors.  There is evidence of changes in the way the brain functions (which is distinct from differences in brain structure or evidence of disease or degeneration).
In any case, it's a very complicated condition fraught with a lot of disagreement over models of causation, treatment, categorization, etc.  Happy fun times.

Amazingly, dealing with chronic "organic" illness and its associated suck has also tossed some situational depression my way, so I deal with that as well.

Given my recent Dx of Functional Movement Disorder, which is equated by some with Conversion Disorder and other disorders that are traditionally regarded as more "psychological" or "in the mind" than "organic" I have an interest in concepts of mind and body in medicine (and a bit of a grudge with Rene Descartes for saddling us with the mind/body division that contributes to difficulties in describing, understanding, and treating issues like Functional Disorders). 

I blog semi-regularly on my own site (link in the sidebar) about my health, crafting, Egyptology and other bits of randomness that strike my fancy.

I'm hoping this blog as well as my own will be a good place to share some musings on Functional Disorders and the intersection of psych and neurology as well as a resource for other people dealing with issues similar to my own and to help educate people about these types of disorders.

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