Foggy has asked M.E. sufferers to write him a blog post on their own personal M.E story. This lovely lady called Cat met Foggy at his launch and has written this blog post for him. Please read how M.E has affected her life.
I would say my M.E journey has been a slow one because I think it started back in 2009 when I had decompression sickness after scuba diving. I never felt fully recovered and started becoming tired or ill easily and not able to concentrate as much.
I caught a virus in 2012 and became very sick, soon spending most of my time after work either sleeping or staring into space in a fog of confusion. I had the brain power to make it through work and get home and that was about it! In 2015 was diagnosed as having hypothyroidism and felt like my body was slowly shutting down. When medication did not help I kept returning to the doctors saying my symptoms were worsening, they would send me away saying there was nothing physically wrong with me as blood tests showed my thyroid was now fine with medication.
I changed doctors several times and in 2016 one suggested Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/M.E. I had no idea what it was but I guessed from the name! When I read the symptoms on the pamphlet it was a light bulb moment. “Great, they’ll diagnose me and I’ll pop a few pills and I’ll be cured!”
Nope. No known cause means no known cure. So I began counseling to help manage my symptoms and I am doing a course of Graded Exercise Therapy. The idea being I slowly get used to being more active and my symptoms will improve. So far I can’t say it’s working but I’m still hoping something will change. (*Sally* Cat is aware of the current controversy surrounding GET but is giving it a try. She will stop if she feels it has a detrimental affect on her symptoms).
I have had mixed reactions from people when I tell them I have M.E; some are aware of it and understand when I frequently cancel plans or leave places early with pain or fatigue. Some don’t know what it is, do a bit of research and then are ok about it. But sadly some are unaware that it is a ‘real’ illness and appear to disbelieve me, which is really upsetting. I know its hard not to judge a person on their outside looks but it is hurtful when people say things like “well, you look fine to me” or “Ooh, I’d love to not have to work”. I have been called lazy a few times and told I’m not trying hard enough but I have learned to ignore those people and spend my time with the good ones!
My husband, my family, and my friends are fantastic. Whether its helping me climb the stairs each night, coming over and cutting the lawn, washing up, giving me a shoulder to cry on or just sitting together in calm quiet so there is someone to help if I need something and can’t do it myself.
I have been off work now for 9 months because of M.E and am just beginning to go back, doing a few short shifts each week but it is difficult as it has exacerbated my symptoms again. My most common ones being exhaustion, pain, migraine, sensory sensitivity and inability to concentrate. (So I’m glad I could write this without it turning to gobbledegook!)
I am still in touch with the other participants of the counseling group I attended and we talk about things that help us, we vent our frustrations and we support each other when things can get a bit rough. I think the most important thing for any long-term condition is support and I am so glad I have my close circle of family and friends. Without them I’d be worse off for sure.