Nicola Gets Help From Fiance for Her Hypermobility Syndrome
Nicola’s story brings awareness to how difficult life can be with hypermobile joints. She is fortunate to have a the help of a supportive fiance and a mother who is a retired nurse.
By PETER HENN.
Nicola Lynch, of Rainham, Kent, has dislocated her shoulders 80 times and her thumbs 25 times each in the six years since she was diagnosed with hypermobility syndrome.
She is left in agony every time she dislocates a joint because, unlike other double-jointed people, her condition usually results in traumatic injuries.
The 18-year old explained: “I first dislocated my thumb when I was about 12. I was mucking about with a friend, and I grabbed her coat and it just popped out of place. The pain was horrendous.
“The doctors put it in a cast and sent me home, but a couple of days later, I dislocated my other thumb, and that was put in a cast too.
“It started off just in my hands, but then my shoulders started going, and now it’s moved on to my hips, ankles and jaw. It’s terrible – I feel like a human jigsaw.”
The fragile teen was diagnosed with hypermobility syndrome, and her latest dislocation was just two weeks ago when her ankle gave way and she fell, dislocating that and also her shoulder.
She reckons she’s dislocated her hips about 50 times, and now her ankles pop out of their socket around three times a week.
Nicola, who is unable to work and had to take a year out of school as a result of her condition, lives with her retired nurse mother Rosemary Walker, 51, and postman stepfather Martin Walker, 51, in Rainham, Kent.
But the brave young woman tries to not let her condition get in the way of her life – despite being hospitalised the last time she ate a burger.
She said: “I was in a restaurant with my fiance and family when I ordered a burger.
“It was quite big, and when I opened my mouth to take a bite my jaw just clicked out of place.
“I had to go to the hospital because it was just hanging loose and absolutely killing.
“Since then my jaw has popped out twice more, so I’ve got be really careful not to eat anything too chewy or hard. It’s tough, but my fiance and family are really supportive.”
Nicola Lynch getting help from her fiance Stephan Filmer by TONY KERSHAW/SWNS.COM
Fiance Stephan Filmer, 22, also has to be careful around Nicola, because her fragile joints mean he’s accidentally caused several dislocations while “mucking around.”
The couple met through friends 15 months ago and Stephan, a greenskeeper, popped the question three months ago.
Miss Lynch said: “The look on his face whenever it’s happened is terrifying.
“Of course he never means to hurt me, but sometimes it happens anyway. I try to put on a brave face and not let on how much pain I’m in, but it’s tough.
“I’ve met a couple of other people with hypermobility syndrome, and it’s good to know that they go through the same things as me.
“I know my joints are getting worse, so I’m probably going to have to have quite a few replacement operations soon.
“I’m living in fear of what will dislocate next, really.”
While hypermobility is a joint condition that allows them to stretch much further than normal, the syndrome form of the condition is more severe as it causes pain.
Nicola has already had operations on tendons and ligaments in her hands, but she still dislocates them from time to time.
She said: “I was told it would get easier as I got older, but it just seems to have got worse.
“It happens to my jaw now. My ankles also give way and I just fall over. I’ve fallen down the stairs before.
“I was at college once and fainted. When I came round, my hip and both shoulders were dislocated. I couldn’t do anything. An air ambulance had to take me to hospital.
“It’s constantly happening and it’s affected my life in every way.
“I can’t lift anything heavy, even shopping bags. I can’t walk far, either, and have to be careful walking up the stairs.
“I haven’t been able to hold down a job and relationships have always been tricky.
“Thankfully Stephan is very supportive and caring – even if we have to be careful when we’re together.”
A good support system of caring family and friends is key to managing life with EDS.
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