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My Story
In 1991 we moved into a house that needed completely modernising.  A few  years and 3 extensions later the building site was turned into our dream home!  Most of the work we did ourselves, it was very tiring but great fun learning new skills like standing in wellies laying concrete floors or trying to get plaster to stick to walls!   One month after the work was finally completed, I went down ill with a very bad sore throat, fever, swollen glands in neck, groin and under arms. Unable to get out of bed, but G.P. refused to visit. Prescribed antibiotics over ‘phone and said it was a virus……..6 weeks later no improvement – yep another course of antibiotics! Was this possibly glandular fever????? That was March 1999,  my health didn’t improve, and much of 1999 was seen from peeping out from under my duvet cover.
Visits to hospital and G.P continued, only to be told I had had a bad virus and it would take some time to clear up. One day I ended up being sent to hospital with chest pains, and eventually we managed to get my GP to listen to me and after a barrage of tests disgnosed M.E.’
At first I was elated that he knew what was wrong, and I would be given a cure. It took several weeks for the realisation to sink in that there was nothing anyone could do. Then I felt my world had ended.  The only advice my G.P. could give me was to go away and take things easy. 
In 2001, I had a period of picking up, and living a near normal life...........but the year was very stressful, with family problems and a family bereavement.  Stress definately seems to bring relapses with this illness.
In August 2001, my G.P. agreed to send me to see a consultant at the hospital, but had to wait till January 2002 to see her. The consultant was very helpful, but apart from a few more blood tests and an appointment made with occupational therapy to discuss pacing, there was nothing she could do to help and that the only advice he could give me was that I should eat healthily and try alternative therapies like Reikki and Reflexology.
I am trying the pacing, but it is extremely difficult. I am finding it very hard going.
Certain people in my life  have insinuated that the pain and fatigue are all in my head--that it is just stress – they do not realise that this illness can make you feel so unwell and at times the pain is almost unbearable,
Although things have improved I still get annoyed that just lifting a heavy bag is very difficult.  Then there are the days when I can barely put one foot in front of the other. I feel like climbing a mountain and being short of oxygen.
I do not know what the future holds at the moment, I try to believe that one day I will wake and this illness will have disappeared - but I know the statistics. At the moment I feel
I am balancing between relapse and moving forward and I just try to take every day as it comes and do whatever I can when I can.

The following words  echo how I feel -

The butterfly, a symbolic hope for me, longing for a day to soon break free.
Will I ever soar through the sky again? Or will I remain in this cocoon,
feeling so locked in?
A cocoon constructed by others around me. Longing to emerge--
to have wings to fly, So many changes taking place in me.
Why must there be pain, before I can be free?

                                      Connie J. Schmoll
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