• Pinkprincess - My Story

    I had a very active childhood, always doing some activity or another dragging my mum in-between dancing to gymnastics to brownies and so on. There wasn't a day that went by without me going off to some sort of club or having friends round for tea. However after the age of about 5 or 6, whenever there was something going round you knew I was going to get it. I've had so many 'upper respiratory infections' that I have lost count, and so basically after a while I probably started becoming immune to antibiotics. Gradually as the years went on, I had to drop out of these clubs because it was all too much, at the time it must have been put down to schoolwork and the like but thinking back on it now I probably wasn't well then. I would come home from school and have to sleep for a couple of hours but that was all put down to laziness and this cycle continued for a good 3 or 4 years.

    In the summer holidays between year 10 and 11 at school, we went on our annual summer holiday and this year had chosen Lanzarote. I loved it and was enjoying every minute of it. We were by complete chance staying in the same hotel as a guy in my year at school that also lives down my road so I spent lots of time with him and his friends just basically having fun. However about 4 days into the holiday I suddenly got really swollen lips. We couldn't work out what the problem was and being in a hot and sunny foreign climate we put it down to sunburn. This however developed into ulcers literally all the way from my lips down to my stomach. I was in agony! I couldn't swallow, which meant I lost a lot of weight very quickly and I couldn't go out in the sun because it hurt so much so spent the rest of the holiday sitting in my apartment. I remember one time having to leave the restaurant early because I was crying with the pain.

    Once we got back to the UK (and everyone had commented on the fact I was paler then when I left!) we went to the doctors and the most senior doctor of the lot, gasped and said that he had never seen so many ulcers in somebody's mouth at one time! (I felt special!!! lol) I was put on so much medicine I was drugged up to my eyeballs and also sent for allergy testing to see if I was allergic to anything. This all came back negative though and in the end I was told I had the herpes simplex virus (cold sores!).

    So then started a chain of events which meant that every 10 days or so my cold sores would come up and I would miss yet another few days of school. My teachers obviously weren't too impressed this being year 11 and all 'the most important year of your life' - Pah! This continued for the rest of the school year in which time both my granddad died and Amanda Dowler went missing from our school. Somehow I managed to get through my GCSE's and come out with reasonable grades 1 A, 6 B's and 3 C's.

    So on to college. I started college in the September with a nice full timetable after being cold sore free for a couple of months. I was doing 4 AS levels in English language, Sociology, History and Philosophy. I loved my courses and was really enjoying my new found freedom after escaping the clutches of school. However in the October I started to notice I was missing more and more lessons. I would go in and then beg my mum to come and pick me up because I was too tired to continue. My sore throats came back (although they were cold soreless) and basically I was rundown and fed up. This carried on till nearly Christmas time when I began to realise I hadn't actually made a full day in college since early October let alone a full week!

    I was falling further and further behind and couldn't stop what was happening. By the January college were on my back, I hadn't been diagnosed with any other problems and I think they just thought I was being lazy. Around the end of January the decision was taken that I would stop college for the year and then re-start in the following September after a rest and hopefully having had a clean bill of health. Two Days after I signed out of college I was diagnosed with CFS. In hindsight if I had the diagnoses a week earlier I'm not sure whether I would have dropped out, I could have cut down my subjects or something but I did and life goes on...

    After a fairly quiet period M.E wise over the summer the decision was made to re-start college doing just to AS levels in sociology and English language. I lasted even less time then I did the previous year. The last day I went into college was on November 10th, which was the day after my birthday where I remember driving home not, remembering how to steer and asking my friend what the stick in my hand was (gear stick!). Somehow I got home safely, got out the car and dropped my entire file and everything all over the pavement came in and promptly dropped my cereal bowl and the contents everywhere. I spent the next week in bed!

    I have now dropped out of college again (its now march 2004) and would currently say I'm languishing around 30-40% on the AYME scale. I am hoping to take a module of AS sociology in the summer at my mum's school as an external student.