I like to think I was a pretty healthy child.
I did suffer from Bronchial Pneumonia at the age of 3, but made a full recovery, though I blame it for the fact that when I get a cold, it goes straight to my chest! I also had Eczema, but that cleared up before I started primary school. I also had the usual stuff kids get; Ear Infections, Colds, Chicken Pox, Stomach bugs, Tonsillitis but nothing I didn't get over quickly.
I was a very active child, I went swimming weekly & was doing pretty well with that. I played Tennis, Football (soccer if you're not in the UK) Netball, Rounders, Gymnastics, I also did a bit of running & went out on my bike or Rollerblades daily. I competed in most of my primary school sports & even got roped into doing a Cross Country run. I say roped in as I was never built for long distance running, I mean how many small, compact marathon runners do you know? I am built for speed & loved doing the 100 - 400 metres! I did the cross country, didn't do it well but still I was proud that I gave it a go... Never again though!
During High School, most of the competing stopped but I still enjoyed playing Netball & swam, though I stopped my lessons. I also added Hockey & Horse riding to the list of sports I enjoyed. To be honest, Horse riding & owning Horses, pretty much took over all the over sports I did.
So yeah pretty active & sporty growing up. But I did some health issues, mainly when I began the long road to doing my GCSE Exams, the stress & pressure I put on myself to do well, resulted in my body fighting back. I ended up with Eczema again! It pretty much ran from my feet to my neck & was incredibly painful. It took a lot of time but it did clear up. At this point I also realised that I was sensitive to Dairy so began to cut that down & out of my diet, this also helped my Eczema clear up.
I spent a long time being Dairy free but as I've got older, I can now have small amounts without too much bother to my stomach or skin. The only thing I have decided to completely cut out, is Eggs, they make me really ill which I hate because I LOVE Eggs... they just don't love me :(
So aside from a few food & skin issues, all was good, life was OK, a few issues going on at home, which I'm not going into but I was getting on OK. Then 2006 hit & things started to go wrong; Life was getting stressful, at home & work, I wasn't really eating properly, OK basically I was living off Tea & Toast!
All the stress & bad diet then lead to bad health. My immune system was so low, at times I wondered if I still had one. I would pick up everybody else's colds, sore throats, flu's, stomach bugs, you had it, I got it! When I went to the Doctor's for a check up on a riding injury, I mentioned what was going on & was made to feel like a hypochondriac! I was told that some people are just like that & basically there was nothing he could or would do.
The next few months I was getting so ill that finally my mum stepped in & sent me for blood tests in September of 2007. The results of which showed that I had a red blood cell count of 6.4 (it should be around 14-16) & that my Thyroid levels were borderline for being under active. At the time of being told I had Anaemia, I was put on Iron Tablets but the Doctor wouldn't treat my Thyroid until the level dropped, which I think is pretty screwed up! In April 2008, I was told I had an Under active Thyroid & could finally be treated, which basically is a tablet everyday for the rest of my life.
I did hope that I would recover from my Anaemia but from the regular blood tests I was now having to go through, I was told that my body can not absorb Iron properly & so I'm now on Iron tablets for the rest of my life. My latest Red Blood Cell was 11 so it's not even doubled in the past 6 years!
Once the medication kicked in & began to work, my health wasn't too bad really. My immune system still wasn't great but that was to expected. I got on with life & though after a busy day, I was wiped out completely, I didn't limit too much what I was doing. However, do to the stress that was still in my life, I still wasn't eating great, I was a bit of a comfort eater & so gained weight. This certainly didn't help my health one bit & I began to have pain in my right side & blood tests showed that my Liver Enzymes were very high for someone who didn't drink! The conclusion was that I had fatty tissue in my Liver & if I didn't lose weight I'd likely need a new Liver! Not really the best thing to be told when you're only in your 20's!
In 2009/2010, things got quite bad with work, they were laying people off & in March 2010 I was offered either a full time role, which I knew I couldn't do, or redundancy. I took the redundancy & from April 2010 I started the long road to getting my life back & began losing weight. It took two years & a lot of hard work but I did it! I lost almost 6 stone! (see picture below!) I did feel much better, my energy levels weren't through the roof but they were better than they had been.
At the back end of 2011, I got quite a bad throat infection & I just didn't seem to come round from it that well. It seemed to last ages & I seemed to be picking up everything again. My energy levels were down & I just felt rubbish! So back to the doctors I went, the ones I saw didn't think there was anything else going on. My levels were all fine so I kinda resided myself to thinking that if this was how I was going to be, then I best just get on with it!
But as time went on, I got worse & even a shower would leave me breathless & wanting to sleep! Even my Anaemia didn't do that to me! But life had to go on & early this year, things had changed & I needed to get a job but all the appointments & amount of time I had to spend looking for something, was exhausting times infinity to me!
So back to the Doctors I went. The doctor I saw made me feel like I was just some sad lazy person who was just sat at home feeling sorry for myself. She told me to do more (not sure how much more active I could get) & that my Thyroid level looked a bit low on my last blood test & it's probably just that I need a higher dose of my medication. Well I came out of there & just cried. She was awful!
But I went for my blood tests & then made an appointment to see a completely different Doctor. She looked at my results, said all my levels looked fine, didn't know what results the other doctor had been going on about as my Thyroid level had never been low enough to need a up in my medication. As I was telling her what was going on with me & how even the smallest everyday activity, like getting up or having a shower exhausted me, I mentioned that a family member had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & she said, "That's just what I was thinking!"
She printed me off some information on it, but also sent me for some more blood tests to double check other things that can have the same symptoms. I also had to write down all my symptoms for a week & go back to see her. Everything I wrote down matched what is looked for with Chronic Fatigue plus all my bloods came back normal.
So here I am 4 weeks on. Another person added to the many that suffer from this awful invisible illness that people just don't understand & to be honest I don't understand it properly either right now. It's something new to deal with & I don't think I'm doing so well with it right now. I feel like I've gone from this quite active person, to now having to limit the amount I can do in a day! But I know in time I'll get a handle on it & I'm hoping I'll get better. :)
So my hands now feel like they've got lead weights in them. I didn't intend for this to be so long, I'm sorry but I hope it helps you to understand of what I've been through & my medical history.
If you're struggling with health issues right now, I hope you can at least take one thing from this & that is to;
Never Give Up!
Although it can be discouraging, keeping going until you find a Doctor that will listen. In all the Doctor's I'd seen, only 2 really helped me & didn't dismiss what was going on.
Anyways, I'm going to go as I think all that's left to say is...