• Jadey - Hitting The Wall

    It was the 7th of November 1996 when my entire world fell apart. It was the day that my Great-Grandad Jack died. He was my best friend and in my mind he had just disappeared. I was only five years old and so death was an entirely new phenomenon to me. It may seem strange to start a story that is supposed to be about M.E. by saying when my Grandad died, but for me that's where it all started. Before that day I was a perfectly normal, happy, healthy little girl; after that, not so much. It took me two weeks before I would accept what had happened, and then I cried every single day.

    Not long after that I contracted Glandular Fever, nobody knows where from, but I was left untreated and was off school for six weeks. It was only because the school told my Mum I HAD to go back, even though I wasn't well enough, that I did go but from then on there was barely a week that went by I wasn't off ill. I was in and out of the doctors constantly for the next few years, them never knowing what was wrong or accusing me of making it up. It was my primary school teacher who I saw a few years after I left who told me she had no idea how I'd got the SATs results I did. Even she knew there was something wrong with me.

    I started high school in 2003 and lasted two whole weeks before I was signed off on permanent sick leave. I was supposed to get work at home but needless to say that didn't happen and they just forgot about me. I was diagnosed a couple of months later and began my trip into the unknown with my family for company.

    At this point my family really does deserve a mention. I live with my Mum Barbara, my Dad Andrew and my big Brother Joe. However my parents aren't just my carers as they're Joe's too (so was I until I got sick too, last year). Joe was born three months prematurely, he contracted pneumonia, meningitis and septicemia at two days old and subsequently has Cerebral Palsy meaning he has severe learning difficulties, a very low emotional age and is wheelchair bound. My Mum and Dad also run their own business selling tyres as well as having three dogs. So as you can tell, I live in a madhouse! My Nan and Grandad also live next door and help out with looking after us. Mum is my primary carer and I honestly don't know what I'd do without her. She knows what I need way before I do and always knows how to make me feel better even when I want to give up.

    Between 2003 and 2007 I was pretty much the same. I was educated at the hospital school room, as my actual school had given up on me altogether by now, and although I had improved quite a lot, I was still very limited to what I could do. At the end of year 10 in 2007, I started at a Lancashire Education Medical Service (LEMS) centre so that I had a chance to get some GCSEs - what a difference a year makes!

    For the first time in four years I actually had friends, teachers and a lot of encouragement - it was like waking up after a really long sleep. I started to feel myself again and wanted to do things for the first time in years. I felt loads better. In the end this turned out to be my downfall. Instead of building myself up like I usually did I went headlong into everything and by the time exams rolled around in May I'd collapsed (literally) and was in a wheelchair. However, being one of those excruciatingly stubborn people you come across occasionally, I refused to do what was best for my health and give up. Instead I was at LEMS every single day in my chair, doing more work than was really required and not listening to the mass of people, including my parents and doctor, telling me to stop. I wanted to be a success just for once, I'd worked so hard on my exams that I wasn't going to let M.E. beat me now; it would just have to wait. I managed, just, to hang on until the end of the exam season before I let it get the better of me. In my mind (and only mine) it was worth it, I got 3 B’s, 4 A’s and an A*- the top results at the centre. The feeling I got when I opened my results was worth all the pain - trust me. After about a month I thought I was back to where I was before, about 75%. Oh how wrong I was...

    This is where my title comes in. I started 6th form as planned, again against what everyone had said thinking that it had worked once and would work again… I lasted a month before I fell apart and had to drop out, hence 'hitting the wall'. It broke my heart that I had to give up - it's something I just don't do. I was now housebound, sometimes bedbound and always wheelchair bound. Now, two years later, I'm still in the same position - if not worse. I am technically enrolled at my local grammar school and doing an A level, although I haven’t been in since November. I'm back to working on my own again, in bed, at home. Things have been really bad for quite a while now and I was getting to the end of what I could cope with. Painkillers make me sick so I'm in constant agony and the headaches and nausea can't really be described as fun. While all my friends are going to clubs and getting ready for Uni, I'm at home watching ‘Come Dine With Me’ and turning steadily into an old woman.

    About two months ago I turned a corner though, I found an Osteopath called Raymond Perrin and he's helping me recover using lymphatic drainage and massage. I really think he can help me and for the first time in three years I'm fighting again. It's nice to feel like me again.

    I will get through my wall.

    I will get better…. And soon!