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Rodney's Story

Rodney describes how a heart condition triggered his functional gait disorder. Eventually he received a diagnosis and explanation that enabled him to benefit from physiotherapy.

In mid-2015 I suffered three episodes of a new heart problem (atrial fibrillation(AF)). It took time and a mix of drugs, but the atrial fibrillation has now been stabilized.

The lasting consequence of this illness was chronic pain and lack of mobility. I found it especially difficult walking on long gradual gradients and flights of stairs over 5 steps. My wife, who suffers from progressive MS and walks with a stick, was often getting around better than me.

For two years I was subjected to a very long list of tests as a varied and colourful range of illnesses were diagnosed. Some of the tests were quite invasive like nerve conduction tests and a muscle biopsy. The very large arm biopsy left me in pain for nearly a year. However, the results were always the same – none of the weird and colourful illnesses were ever confirmed with the many blood tests, antibody readings and other investigations.

The highs and lows were becoming hard to take – first they think you have something then – no they cant prove it – so back to square one.

Not sure how or why I was transferred to my final neurologist but after a long and comprehensive examination he thought I had Functional Gait Disorder. The website he showed me was very full on, and at last gave me hope at last that we had found out what illness I had and maybe a treatment. Yet another annoying NHS wait but his excellent physio team had a date to start treatment.

The next bit is very hard to put in words but in less than two hours of physiotherapy I was on the road to recovery. It’s how I walk, move and even get out of a chair that had to change. It’s just amazing getting my old life back again. I am very much a layman, but it seems that by just slightly altering my personal brain messages, the right ones are now getting through.

I have just had what might be my last meeting with my neurologist. He fully explained there might be ups and downs but what an amazing difference.

So there you have it, my story and to let the world know there is always hope you just need to see the right people.


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