Living with restless legs syndrome
Having restless legs syndrome is exhausting, and can be quite embarrassing. The other day, the whole family met up for my brother’s 50th birthday. But while everyone else was sitting down, I spent half of the afternoon and evening pacing round. It’s the only way to control the pain and spasms I get when I sit still for too long.
I first noticed my RLS when I was a teenager. I had to stay standing on train journeys into London, because sitting down for so long was agony. Some people only get the pain and the restless feelings in their legs, but I also get them in my tummy. It’s almost like labour, the feeling that you should be moving.
I didn’t bother going to the doctor, especially as my mum had always been the same. In our house, the poor cat never had a lap to sit on! But as the years went by, the feelings got worse. I was finally diagnosed in 2002 by Dr Chaudhuri, a specialist in restless legs syndrome. I actually wept when he said he could help me.
Since then, I’ve tried a variety of drugs. They’ve helped a bit, but I still can’t stay motionless for long. It makes things other people take for granted almost impossible sometimes, like going to the theatre or on long car journeys.
But I’m determined not to let RLS beat me. When I go to the theatre, I always book an aisle seat. I even flew to New York a couple of years back. I just made sure I was sitting at the back of the plane, and that I walked about as much as possible for seven hours.
Bev Finn, 58, Medway, Kent
For more information and advice, visit www.ekbom.org.uk or www.restlesslegs.org.uk