How quickly time flies when you are sick hey.
Today marks a whole year since I became ill. This time last year I started my day as per usual. I wandered in to the city to meet Chloe for lunch and was overcome with dizziness, chest pains and tightness as well as shortness of breath. Chloe pretty much forced me to go to the walk in centre to get checked out. After waiting 20 odd minutes to get seen, a nurse was shocked by what she saw. My heart rate was in the 130s sat down and jumped into 160s when I stood up. After repeating the tests 5 times, she told me to go straight to A+E. It was so serious she wouldn’t let me leave the building alone and I had to call Chloe to come and meet me.
Long story short, at A+E tests were carried out all coming back normal. It was assumed it was a virus. I was sent away and told to rest. For the next 4 weeks, I rested up, not even going to work because of my symptoms. Following on from this I had weeks of reduced hours and remote working. Along with seeing my GP nearly every week, a neurologist and rheumatologist.
Eventually in September, after ruling everything else out a formal diagnosis of Fibromyalgia was made. This didn’t end things though as I had other symptoms unrelated to fibromyalgia occurring – more about this next week.
Being ill for some long has really taught me to appreciate the simpler things in life and really take stock of what is important. I have incorporated more exercise, better sleep routine and more mindfullness into my life. And I can honestly say, I feel so much better for it. I still have my bad days but I would say I am 80% back to where I was most of the time.
But it was a hard road to get here. Months of uncertainty leads to self doubt – was I ill or going crazy. Not knowing what would happen at work as I couldn’t work the required shifts. Periods of feeling like I was maybe getting better only to end with days spent on the sofa. Feelings of guilt for the pressure and worry I was placing on Chloe and my family. To just wanting to live a normal life. Chronic illness is a real mind fuck and the battle is a lonely one.
Coming out the other side all I can say is how important it is to take care of your mental wellbeing. Keep focused and positive. Do the things that make you happy when you can. I might be chronically ill but I still went on 3 holidays in the past 12 months. I went to events, hung out with friends and family and started a degree. Having a chronic illness is just one small part of you. I am chronically ill but I am also gay and vegan. It doesn’t have to define you.