I was a 37 year old, response police officer and active
mother of 3 children, when I fell ill. I was a runner of up to 7 miles each
night as I was training for a 1/2 marathon. I rode motorbikes, loved
adrenalin, my job, being fit and active. I suffered from severe migraines
but other then that I was healthy.
I then underwent surgery and 3 days later I contracted
a virus. I suddenly became very weak, breathless, shaky and couldn't
function at all. I left hospital to begin what I thought was a recovery from
surgery at home.
11 days post surgery I was rushed into hospital with
chronic chest pain and not able to breath. I was subsequently diagnosed with
multiple Pulmonary Emboli, in both upper and lower lobes in both lungs.
I was discharged 10 days later with blood and pain
I couldn't move without sever symptoms, even walking to
the toilet left me exhausted and climbing the stairs was equivalent to me
having ran the last mile of my 7 miles flat out! It made no sense but I was
told I should get better.
My sergeant visited me with messages from my inspector
of "They're getting pissed off with you" "They don't believe youíre ill" and
"If you don't come back they will begin "Unsatisfactory Performance and
Attendance Procedures against you and you will loose your job". My inspector
visited my home and issued me an official warning to return to work.
After 6 months I went for a 2 week stay in the police
rehabilitation centre, where they confined me to my room for the first week
as I had a severe virus and put me in a wheel chair as I was so weak and
passed out in the dining room.
Within a couple of weeks of returning home I was forced
to return to work. I was in so much pain, so weak, nauseous, suffered severe
cognitive dysfunction, shaky, out of breath etc, that every single minute
was a struggle. I was still on 35 tables for pain and blood each day.
I worked 5 days a week of 4 hours on recoup duties, and
every other moment of my life was spent in bed. One day I fell so ill while
at work I had to be taken home by my sergeant, who passed the comment of
"Its amazing that as soon as you get home you recover", because he had
needed to help me into the car as I was so out of breath and distressed, but
after the 20 min journey home my breathing had slowed enough for me to walk
the few paces to my front door, where help was waiting. I wanted to prove to
him that I wasn't "Just Lazy or Faking" so I went to work the following day
and ended up having to be taken to hospital by another colleague.
I stayed at work for 8 months but they started
proceedings against me anyway, as I couldn't work my full hours or response
duties and they refused to allow me into another role or to go part time.
With that my doctor refused to allow me to continue pushing myself beyond my
limits and had diagnosed me with ME 6 weeks earlier.
I tried numerous things like eating more, when it
didn't work I then ate less, sleeping more, then less. Drinking more, I
tried workouts to see if I could push through, calming pills, vitamins and
minerals, acupuncture, counselling, CBT. I've attended appointments which
have generated 6000 miles in travelling to try and get myself better but
nothing worked. I thought I was going mad!
I've not been able to return to work as my symptoms are
still as bad. I'm mostly housebound, sometimes bed bound. I no longer do
anything in my home or for my children. My partner does it all. I look after
my own hygiene, although I do need his help if in the bath or shower and
keep him company. It has eased my symptoms and kept me largely on a plateau.
I can leave the house on occasions although I have to rest before and after.
It also causes me to crash on occasions.
I have been through the ill health retirement procedure
which went to appeal. It was concluded by the psychiatrist on the panel that
I would fully recover from CFS/ME if I underwent CBT/GET, treatment from a
consultant psychiatrist and treatment for my somatoform disorders that she
thought were present. It would only be my lack of adherence to these
treatments that would hinder my full recovery. So I was found disabled but
not permanently. So no pension!!
I've not been paid for 2 years 2 months.
The procedures have reached stage 2 and I have failed
to fulfil the action plan of returning to work, so my last meeting will be
scheduled with work for a week or twos time and I will either be sacked or
forced to resign.
I was referred to the CFS/ME clinic and
have received an official diagnosis of CFS/ME from the doctors there, they were lovely and very helpful but can offer no treatment
other than CBT/GET.
My balance is now very bad and I fall often. I broke my
ankle from a fall and ended up in a wheelchair at the same time my boyfriend
broke his legs. I am very weak and try to keep my cognitive dysfunction to a
minimum by not doing anything assertive. This enables me to be part of my
family and enjoy the day, even if it is from the confinements of the sofa.
My boyfriend has been a lifesaver, he suffered 2 broken
legs a short while ago. One of his legs was so badly mangled and de-gloved
that it was only after numerous operations that he knew he would keep it.
Since then he has been retired from the same police force because of his
disablement caused by his injuries. He understands the loss I feel on all
levels. What itís like to be scared and in pain, the feeling of being unless
and worthless. He understands how the medication makes you feel and he loves
me unconditionally. He makes my life bearable and I'm very lucky!
I have suffered from ME for 4 years now but I haven't
given up on the hope of making a full recovery.
I am paying to see consultant early in the new year in the
hope of taking his report to the police and asking for a further question of
ill health to be considered as I really need my pension. I also need to
leave the force with some dignity that will come from them acknowledging
that I am suffering from a genuine illness that has rendered me disabled and
that disablement is likely to be permanent, as the specialists have already
stated in their reports. As I am not lying!
Once that fight is over I can then hopefully focus on
the better things in life rather then my ME, my symptoms and how badly they
affect me! I have accepted my illness and made all the changes necessary to
cope with it as best I can. I'm not depressed and don't believe I ever have
been because I know if I had a choice I would be the person I used to be, as
I really loved who I was!
Thanks for taking the time to read this