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Chronic Illness Spotlight is a series in which different illnesses are highlighted and a Chronic Illness Warrior that lives with the illness is featured. Today’s post will spotlight a Chronic Illness called Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS) and Fibromyalgia.
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis causes extreme fatigue, muscle and joint pain, severe headaches and more. Fibromyalgia is an illness that causes widespread chronic pain, joint stiffness and insomnia.
Today’s Chronic Illness Warrior is Shan Ellis. She is a mom, blogger and she lives in Wales.
I have a passion for Wales, my home, my kids, stationary and books, Slimming World meals, cheap weekends out, beer and craft gin, renovating my dilapidated house, and creative writing.
Thank you for sharing your story with us!
Myalgic Encephalomyelitis & Fibromyalgia
In Her Own Words
I knew things weren’t right last November but I couldn’t for the life of me tell you what was wrong with me. I thought I’d had a bought of flu to be fair. I’d been bed bound for a week after moving into my new home. I’d spent months getting the place liveable, decorating, carpeting. Hard work for a full time working mum of three. I thought maybe I was run down and tired. My body might have finally said enough is enough, you are not wonder woman, and given me the worst dose of the flu I’d had in my 40 years.
But as the feeling lingered on, and on, I couldn’t shake the aches and pains that plagued me. Stopped me from being the active hands on mum I usually am. I began asking questions. This culminated in the doctor taking bloods covering everything from diabetes to Thyroid. Only one thing came back raised – Rheumatoid Factor.
Getting a Diagnosis
So I had Rheumatoid arthritis then and this was a flare? Nope. It’s never that easy is it? It’s taken over a year for the powers that be to decide that no, the levels of Rheumatoid Factor in my blood does not or can not be accountable for the chronic pain I feel over a year later, or the lethargy that accompanies it on a regular basis. So they’ve given me a label which has had me researching and fighting against for weeks. ME and Fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia is difficult to detect, it affects people differently and normally is the last port of call for pain like mine when everything else has been eliminated. Personally mine effects my whole body, especially where I harbour stress. So shoulders, tense muscles in my neck, and down my spine. My muscles can cramp – there is no pain on this earth like groin cramp followed by full on leg and foot cramp and then intercostal rib cramp when you’re trying to stretch the pain out!
As a mum of three I was very active before I became ill. I was an avid walker, hiking up to 10 miles on weekends and pushing the stroller up mountains/ carrying boy on my shoulders etc. Now I’m lucky if I can manage a three mile walk on a good day on the flat. Obviously this has had a huge impact on family life. No one is as active here any more. Everyone has to wait for me to warm up and get into a rhythm. I’ve even contemplated getting a mobility scooter so I can catch up with everyone. It’s no fun with a three year old as I feel quite often like someone who should be drawing a pension.
Mental Health Impact
This in turn has had a massive effect on my mental health. I’m a strong person. Life has seen fit to throw me many, many challenges that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. But being hit like this, so quickly, has been so very difficult to get used to. The fact I have to watch my kids running around and can’t join in kills my spirit. Also my Partner will quite happily walk paces in front of me and leave me behind. It’s not that he does it on purpose but he doesn’t understand that every footstep for me feels like walking on broken glass bottles.
I’ve felt overwhelmed by the change, unable to move forward. And perhaps that was me looking for a proper diagnosis. But now I have the answers, I don’t seem to be moving forward. I hope it will come in time.
Whatever happens next, nothing beats me. I’m a warrior. I will survive!
I want to take a moment and thank Shan for sharing her diagnosis journey. Shan has become one of my closest blogger friends over the past year. She is one of the most positive people that I know and has helped me so much in my blogging journey. I know that she will fight Myalgic Encephalomyelitis and Fibromyalgia with everything that she has! Please take a moment to offer her your support by visiting her blog and social media.
Where Can You Find Shan?
Facebook: Mam Rants and Reviews
To Find Out More:
Fibromyalgia: National Fibromyalgia and Chronic Pain Association
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