When I woke up one morning with a cold, I didn’t really think too much about it. I didn’t realise that my whole life was about to change. I went to work as usual and, when I started feeling worse, took some tablets and got on with what I needed to do. In spite of swollen glands I went out to dinner with a friend but the next day I felt so ill I actually stayed home in bed. I didn’t go back to work for four and a half years.
What I thought was a cold was the onset of M.E. I was very lucky – my G.P. had seen me through two pregnancies and believed me when I kept going back to see her because I felt so ill. After all the tests came back negative, she settled on the diagnosis but said there was nothing she could do to help me. I looked it up on the internet, grateful that I could at least put a name to what I had and read everything I could. Naïvely, I decided I didn’t have it badly and because I wanted to get well so much, thought I could just make it happen. I tried to pace myself, rested and took the bad days along with the good. At that time I still had days where I was my old self, but that made the bad days harder to cope with. After 6 months, I felt I was ready to go back to work and so started to do more physically in preparation. That’s when I had my first relapse.
It took six months before I had anything resembling a good day. Again, I started to slowly work my way back to health, trying to stay positive. My second relapse set me back another year.
It was then I seriously started to think that this was it and I was never going to be truly well again and I resolved to try and make the best of what I had. There were days I couldn’t move my arms properly, when I needed help getting up the stairs (my husband in front moving my legs for me and one the boys pushing from behind!), when I was so tired I just cried, when I couldn’t hold a book because of the pain in my wrists and when I couldn’t get the words I wanted to say out of my mouth. But I started to take pleasure in small things – hanging out the washing on a nice day, sitting in the sunshine, watching a spider untangle a leaf from its web – things that I hadn’t really appreciated before I was ill. On top of that, my friends and family were very supportive, especially my husband, and my two children took things in their stride. There were days they could have friends round, and days when they couldn’t. And I think that is when I finally accepted my illness.
It was at this point that I heard about the Optimum Health Clinic. One of the things I had found difficult to deal with was the fact that that I could have a delayed reaction to activity and the OHC gave me a credible explanation for this. I also identified with the predisposing factors that were listed and could easily see the categories that applied to me. I had believed all the way through that there was something stopping me from being well – that my body had broken down and needed repairing, and for the first time I was being offered specialist help with this. I decide to do the telephone treatment programme alongside working with the OHC nutrition team and I haven’t looked back. The psychological side stopped me from wasting my energy and the supplements optimised by energy.
I am now back at work three days a week – my choice, although I am considering a change in careers (if only I could decide what I definitely want to do!). I have started running (well – it’s more of a lopsided jog when no-one is looking!) and I am able to go on holiday and have a social life without worrying if I’ll be able to finish what I’ve started. I am a very lucky woman!