|Photo taken from my Instagram indy_annaj
On this day 5 years ago I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (I never get involved in the ME vs CFS debate so don’t even try it) by a neurologist wearing a corduroy suit at the Fitzwilliam Hospital in Peterborough. Funny what you remember. It was 3 days before my 22nd birthday, a birthday I have little memory of because I was so unwell. I was sleeping on the dining room floor because I could not use the stairs. I cannot even begin to explain how poorly I was at time – poorlier than a friend who has stage 3 leukaemia. I could barely walk and had a list of symptoms covering over 2 sides of A4 paper. So many of those symptoms are sadly still present today.
I was told to have a quiet Christmas and see how I was in the new year. My mum and I were offered nothing else despite being so poorly that a brain tumour was mentioned at one point along the way.
This Saturday I will turn 27. That 21 year old girl had no idea how strong and resilient she was and how she would need to be each and every day for the next 5 years. She had no idea that she would lose so much of her life and yet gain so much more. Ultimately, she had no idea that it would last this long. I have been changed and bent beyond recognition by my ill health but I have not been broken. And I hope I never will be.
I hate to think of where I would, or perhaps wouldn’t, be without my incredible parents, my sister and brothers, my family, my boyfriend, the friends I’ve kept and made along the way, and the fellow sufferers who hold my hand when my body won’t work the way it should. I have made more progress than many others in such a ‘short’ space of time. I may never be able to work or look after myself properly. There are many things I may never get to experience. Yet I feel like the luckiest girl in the world. 5 years ago today I could not have dreamed of the quality of life I have now.