M.E. Awareness Week | Belle's Library of Disease.

Hello lovely readers, I'm feeling rather ragged this afternoon after my late night prior. The Big Bad Wolf Named Anxiety is a blog-post that I've been considering writing for a very long time alas I couldn't bring myself to strip myself bare like that. When I finally put pen to paper, I was going to finish it in a single sitting. I wasn't going to allow it to procrastinate. This meant I was curled up in bed with matchsticks holding my eyelids up!

Anyhow, all week I have been talking about individual symptoms of Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and how I manage them. To create a twist in the week's direction, I'm going to discuss how everything began; the diagnosis process.

In late November/early December 2010, I contracted a flu-like virus and was under the weather for a couple weeks. At first, it didn't phase me. Although, it did strike me as peculiar as I'd never had the flu. In no time, it was the beginning of January and I was feeling normal again. A little teared at the edges but nonetheless fine. I'd just started working when I the room began to spin. I felt dazed, confused and unsteady. Shortly after, I was taken home and I then spent almost a month secluded on a sofa.

I'm very much like my mother in the sense that I'm independent when it comes to viruses, I prefer not to go to the doctor because it's a silly bug that will dissipate soon enough. However, we knew something wasn't right about this. The flu-like virus had returned again. I slept for an entire day and nobody realized. In fact, I was barely awake for a large amount of the day. My mother and father were very concerned because the extent of duration time for bugs with me was, at a maximum, a week. It took nearly thirty-one days until I brought myself to go to my GP.

I was in a groggy state of mind. My body was stiff from lack of exercise and my throat was dry from speaking little to nothing. It was even more embarrassing that I couldn't dress myself without crying out in pain. I suffered very bad travel sickness on a twenty-minute journey.

When I finally made it to the surgery and had a consultation, my GP concluded that I may have had Glandular Fever but referred me to have blood tests for all different things. Needles never frightened me but considering I wasn't really alive to the world, I was worried that about my reflexes acting up. These vials were as thick as a thumb and as as long as a couple fingers so having multiple vials taking blood in one sitting left me insanely giddy. The nurse actually thought I was passing out and ran out ordering a glass of water frantically. It was hilarious!

Due to my symptoms being so similar to a lot of viruses and diseases, I was tested for a lot of different things, including Leukemia.We were all worried about the outcome when that word was mentioned among the list of blood tests. When all the blood tests came back fine, clearing me of everything including Glandular Fever, my GP proceeded to analyze me further until he came to the conclusion that there was only one thing that maintained every symptom and has been noted to trigger with a flu-like virus. That was Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (M.E.).

Although fatigue is common in many illnesses, M.E. is comparatively rare. This is why it was so difficult to determine what was happening to me because the symptoms were so specific that they needed to be inspected carefully.

I had never heard of it before that moment. But my mother had. Only she remembered it as Yuppie Flu. She did some research and we soon realized that there was a very big possibility that this was what I had. I was referred to the local hospital and a doctor that was also a specialist with diagnosing such conditions thoroughly examined me and in March 2011, I was officially diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis.

I was taken to Bath hospital to be given another examination and was once again diagnosed with M.E. and then given a detailed summary of what this was and what was going to happen. I left that hospital with many a pamphlet in hand and an ashen white face. I felt numb all the way through being told that this condition wasn't going to fade into the distance at the bat of an eyelid. When M.E. specialist consultant, H, told me that I was lucky that I wasn't in a wheelchair, I think my heart plummeted. I didn't just have Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, I had a very bad batch of it. It's so typical of me to get the bad end of the stick.

Amid all of this, rumours were flying around the village about me. I'd dropped off the face of the Earth to them. Where had I gone? What was wrong with me? Soon, because of there was no information out there, people began to fabricate things. I was a very confused woman and I was in denial that anything was wrong with me. When I caught wind of all of this, it made things worse.

It all came into perspective when I would be going this hospital and that hospital and the other hospital every week. It became clearer and clearer with my reactions to things. I hated light, couldn't deal with sound, slept all the time, sick during travel and physically exhausted from small things like eating. The realization solidified when I began therapy with A. Acceptance was hard for me because I didn't want to believe that I was not medically a normal, healthy being anymore. But I did in the end. It may have taken a year but I did come to terms with the new life that had been bestowed upon me.

It has been three years since I've been diagnosed. I no longer liaise with my therapist, A, apart from the odd letter. I no longer need to go to my local hospital anymore and I haven't been to Bath since last year. I still regularly see my GP and go to the Pain Clinic. There were a lot of people in the frame that helped diagnose me and help me understand and come to terms with everything. Although I do not see them all now, I thank them all the time. Their absence is a sign of success for my on-going recovery.


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