Grantham Journal Big Interview: Support group for others with chronic fatigue
After suffering for years from exhaustion and muscle pains, Hannah Thompson, 29, of Kingston Avenue, Grantham, was finally diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalopathy (ME) otherwise known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Now Hannah wants to set up a Grantham support group for fellow sufferers.
When did the symptons start?
At 10, I was diagnosed with glandular fever – rare at such a young age. I remember blood test after blood test and doctors scratching their heads. My earliest memories are being at home unable to walk up the stairs without bursting into tears due to the pain, or the sheer exhaustion. I was never what I would class as a normal kid growing up. Even going into town with my friends would lead to me having a nap. I just accepted it as part of my life. Then five years ago on a normal Saturday morning, I went to get out of bed and I’d lost all feeling in my legs, so collapsed to the floor. I was hobbling around for several days, becoming out of breath and exhausted with simple things. My parents rushed me up to A&E as my legs did not fully come back.
How did you come to be diagnosed with ME?
I started three years of tests with several specialists, ranging from sleep therapists, to neurologists and arthritis specialists. At this point my body would regularly give up leaving me crippled for days in bed. I’d have excruciating muscle pains and my parents became my carers. When I finally got the diagnosis it was a huge relief to put a ‘label’ to what I was experiencing.
What made you decide to set up a support group?
I went through a course with other sufferers to teach ourselves to ‘pace’ and listen to our bodies. This helped hugely and made us realise we weren’t alone, but I had to travel to Lincoln to attend. I am looking to set up a support group in Grantham to share our experiences, therapies and advice. It affects us all in different ways – I am very fortunate in that I am able to work full-time, whereas others can be bed ridden a lot of the time. But I want to spread the word that this condition can be managed and that we can still have a life.
* To join the group, also supporting those with fibromyalgia, contact Hannah on 07715 883725 or via the Facebook group at tinyurl.com/nagmgh6