I am in desperate need of a miracle…Since mid December last year I have been in a flare up.
I moved down from Cheltenham – my family home, to Cornwall in late October last year to be with my boyfriend Paddy who had just started a PHD down here. Me and Paddy met at university and since finishing we had been doing long distance as we both moved home – he was living in Stockport and I was living in Cheltenham. We had been doing long distance for over a year when we found out he would be moving to Cornwall (even further from me). I immediately started searching for Speech Therapy jobs down here so we could move down together. Doing long distance from Cheltenham to Cornwall would have been so difficult for me as it is a five hour train journey between the two. This is too much for me with my chronic illness. I struggle with journeys more than about two hours long so this journey was a marathon and would put me at risk of flare ups. Luckily I was offered a job down here quite quickly and we were do excited to start our new life.
Life was amazing. My job is fantastic – working with individuals with learning disabilities in the community as a speech therapist! Cornwall is so beautiful and has a very difference pace of life – much slower and more relaxed. This is perfect for someone living with a chronic pain condition. We live literally on the door stop of a beach and within a five minutes from the local town of Falmouth which is small and flat (again, perfect!).
One Saturday, I couldn’t remember whether I had taken my pain medication so I decided to take it again as I didn’t want to risk withdrawals if I hadn’t taken it. We went to a local Christmas market and I was able to walk around for a lot longer than I normally can. I soon realised I had taken double my daily dose as I felt completely spaced out. The next day my pain had increased quite a lot but I was still able to work and carry on with things reasonably well. Paddy had his work’s Christmas do on the Thursday of that week. I knew I wasn’t well enough to go but I thought I never get to dress up and go out in the evening because evenings are always so bad for me pain wise. So I took the risk, I got all glammed up and went. Everyone was stood up mingling – NOBODY was sat down. I did’t want to look rude so I stood up talking for about half an hour. After that I was in agony and at that point I HAD to sit down. I also had to leave the party. I was home by 9pm.
The next day I knew it was a flare up the moment I opened my eyes. My legs were cramping, stabbing, tremoring, spasming, aching and throbbing. And my back, hips and bottom ached beyond belief. I managed a week at work and then luckily I was on my Christmas holidays. I had almost three weeks off over Christmas so I was confident that the flare would go before I went back to work in January. That wasn’t the case. January came and things hadn’t improved and I was still pretty much house bound with the pain after weeks and weeks of rest. I called in sick week after week saying I’m sure it will settle soon… It’s got to. The longest flare up I’d had was almost three weeks. This was much longer.
Then things somehow got even worse. About four weeks ago I started getting completely new symptoms…extreme fatigue (I’m in bed from about three o clock in the afternoon), aching muscles, joint pain, insomnia and eye and ear pain. I thought it was side effects from a new medication I was trying so I quickly came off it. But the symptoms have persisted and cannot be due to the meds. I have never felt so ill in all my life. I’ve been referred by my GP to Rheumatology to have some investigations to see what is going on. I am terrified as I have almost all the symptoms of fibromyalgia/chronic fatigue syndrome. I’m not sure how I would manage having one of these on top of a condition that is already incredibly debilitating.
I will not give up hope though. I still hope that these new symptoms will die down and the pain will settle to where it was before the flare up and I can look back at this period in my life as a distant memory. Despite all the stress and upset this flare has caused something good has come out of it. Me and paddy are stronger than ever – he has been an incredible support through this and this has shown that we can get through just about anything!