• Dukesmum - My Story

    Back in December 2002 I contracted Viral Meningitis. I was hospitalised and treated like dirt by the staff because the notes said I had a headache! Once the diagnosis was made, suddenly the nurses couldn't do enough for me! I was told it could take up to 2 years to get better. My partner, who I'd only met in the July, was a godsend. He carried me to the toilet, fed and watered me, washed me etc until I was stronger.

    I managed to return to work part time after 8 months but I struggled and took a lot of sick days. Eventually I had to face the fact that I simply wasn't well enough to work as a vet nurse any more. I refused to let it beat me though and took a job in an office with flexible working hours. This affords me the opportunity to sleep in late, leave early or not come in at all. I can also work from home so when I can't make it in I don't have to take a sick or flex day.

    I regularly visited my GP asking why I wasn't any better and what I could do to help myself along. Each time he said there was nothing and I had to just accept it. Eventually he gave me a diagnosis of CFS. He told me I didn't want this diagnosis because it meant I would never work again! He also told me there was no treatment and I just had to get on with it! I think it was some kind of shock tactic because he thought I was simply making it all up!

    Since then I have struggled on alone, with the support of my partner. I learned to manage my life, planning rest breaks if I want to do anything. My life has completely changed from being very busy and active to having to monitor my every move.

    An important step for me was returning to full time work. It's a real struggle and I have to prioritise that over everything else in my life. My life pretty much consists of work and rest with a few little nice things thrown in where I can. I cope with this because have to - I feel strong knowing I can still work full time and I simply can't afford not to.

    My health has improved over the last 5 years and I have just started going to the gym. I just do 20 mins gentle exercise 3 days a week, when I can. It's been a tremendously huge step for me as I really feel like I've improved.

    I know I am so much better off than many with this disease and I am grateful for that. I have to sacrifice much of my life to afford me the ability to work but it's worth it.

    I'm hoping now I've moved to a new area I will find a GP who will actually listen to me and perhaps offer me some help to improve further. Good luck to all, sufferers and their loved ones, living with this disease, regardless of the severity. Xx