Right, where to start.
I guess at the start of my symptoms would be a good idea. So I’ll take you back to 2001.
George W was inaugurated, George Harrison died, Jeffery Archer went to jail, Enron filed chapter 11, Shaggy was topping the chart with “It Wasn’t Me” and Hear’say were formed. Oh and something happened on September 11th.
I was 14, in the 4th form at senior school, which is year 10 in new money. I had played sport throughout my school years but by this time, what was thought to growth pains was heavily impeding me. Having seen physiotherapists regard the pain and swelling in my knees I was recommended to consult a rheumatologist once the pains and swelling had started to affect my ankles.
While all of this was going on with my joints, I was suffering from fatigue, doctors immediately considered ME and glandular fever. So I embarked on possibly the longest series of blood tests in row with completely different results every time. I was anaemic one week, then had hemochromatosis (too much iron) the next and so on. The only thing that was a continuous throughout the tests was that I did not have glandular fever and I wasn’t suffering from ME.
At my first appointment I was diagnosed with chronic juvenile arthritis and the process of managing my pain was started. After about 6 months of playing with prescriptions and dose I was settled into a regime to remove my pain and allow me to continue as normally as possible.
My attitude during this 12 month period was frustration; the initial impact upon my life was hard to take, but when a diagnosis was found and more importantly a method of pain management introduced, my mood lifted, I thought I could move on. I thought that although it would always be there it would only have a minimal ongoing impact. I could get on with being a normal 15 year old.