• Lucie - My Story So Far

    Hi, I'm Lucie and I'm 15. So here's my story so far...

    I had never been that well as a child, and at age 11 I had my appendix removed. For a few years after that I was alright; I was in the A team of every sport at school, achieved good grades and had an eventful social life. When I was 14 I had viral meningitis and came out of hospital after a week. I went back to school shortly after as I just got too bored at home. I quite literally burned the candle at both ends: I was going out every night, all of the weekend and would sleep at around 1am. I started to catch every single illness that went around, and could not stay at school for a full week. I started to become increasingly behind, missing numerous lessons and not being able to catch up on the work, or the coursework due in months before. I became frustrated and ended up simply not working and turning to alcohol as a means of forgetting it all and getting away.

    A few months later I could no longer keep with it all, and eventually would go to school, come back exhausted and sleep, therefore not allowing me to catch up on any of the work I needed to do, let alone keep up with the current work. The teachers started turning on me, chasing me up in corridors and sending letters home to my parents. Only one teacher understood that I was still not well and just could not keep up with it all, while the others gave up on me as it had been such a long time since my period in hospital. I had no idea how to tell them that I was too tired to do the work, or even come into school, as I knew they would simply tell me I should go to bed earlier. I had sleep disturbance every night-it would take me over 2 hours to get to sleep, and I would wake up 4 or 5 times during the night.

    I was getting migraines once or twice a day, so bad that all I could do was lie under my duvet and shut my eyes, unable to sleep. I was also getting severe nausea which meant that for weeks at a time all I could eat was jelly and grapes. If I did go out, which I now did infrequently as I was so tired, I would weaken and collapse, unable to continue, or make my way back home. I had no idea what to do, I was fed up of feeling ill constantly, and the stress of school work becoming a huge burden. Finally the summer holidays came: I had coursework’s still to do, due the previous January, I was unable to get out of bed most days as I had no idea how to pace myself, and on the "good" days I would do as much as possible, "crashing" the next day.

    The day before I was diagnosed I decided I would try and get my fitness back on track as I hadn't been well enough to participate in the summer sports at my school. I went on a 20 minute run [I had previously run 40-50 minutes most days] and felt much better about everything. I vowed I would continue this and, happy, I went out with my friends to central London. After around 2 hours I suddenly collapsed and realised I just didn't have the energy to go on. My friends quite literally dragged me to the station and put me on a train home. I eventually reached home, though there were times where I wasn't sure I could make it. I was dizzy and nauseous and slept for the rest of the day.

    My friend persuaded me to see my GP to see what was going wrong. he told me that I had post-viral fatigue syndrome. I finally knew what was happening and could try to pace myself. Now in year 11, months away from my GCSE's I am still behind but my migraines have lessened as has the nausea because of the medication I am taking. There are times I find it hard to see past it, and although I have been told I should get better, it's hard feeling like there's always an excuse for everything. However, I know I have it a lot easier than so many people who have to deal with this for life, and I know that someday I will come through this, and will be a stronger person for it.

    I don't know how I am going to do in my GCSE's, if I can even do them, or if I will have to repeat a year, but right now I'm just taking it a day at a time, which I guess is the only way to do it.