Young, Sick and Invisible

My illness has shaped me,
But it does not define me.

Guest Post: 'Katie's Story'

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Hiya, I'm Katie, also known as Mummy Snowy Owl. I'm a married Mum of one from the midlands. I suffer from Fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition that causes pain and stiffness all over the body. Before I was diagnosed I loved walking, camping holidays, travel and days out. I work part-time and am incredibly lucky to work for an organisation that runs a flexible working scheme, so on bad days I can finish early.

I developed Fibromyalgia following the traumatic birth of my little boy. Within a few months my hands were getting stiff and my fingers were locking in odd positions. I was exhausted but I put that down to having a newborn. My GP assured me it was my body settling down after pregnancy but this certainly wasn't the case.The diagnosis took over two years! I was finally referred after going backwards and forwards to the doctors for a year. The consultant I saw did a range of tests but on looking through my file was concerned re the lack of care I had after the birth of my son and what he deemed a 'traumatic birth'. I hadn't realised quite how bad it was until he actually said so. Following blood tests he diagnosed me with a vitamin D deficiency, one of the worst he had ever seen. I also had an osteo condition as a result. The consultant explained that it was still highly likely I had Fibromyalgia and that the GP could guide me further as he had ruled out any other osteo conditions. My health remained up and down from then on. The longer and harder the days, the worse I got. On bad days my husband had to help dress me. It was humiliating. My GP continued to say it was just the lack of vitamin D, so I moved to the sister practice and finally got the Fibromyalgia diagnosis. I searched and searched the internet and time and time again my symptoms pointed back to Fibromyalgia. It was a big support and a font of knowledge for me.

A flare will start with tingling or stiffness, normally in my legs or back and spread all over my body. I'll struggle to do the slightest thing without being exhausted and will normally struggle to keep my eyes open. Simple tasks like preparing dinner or making a cup of tea can cause my hands to lock and I often have to peel my fingers off one by one. Fibro feels like your constantly coming down with the flu. Your body aches from your head down to the tips of your toes. Flares differ each time. Sometimes it will last a day sometimes three. I manage or cope with flare by resting, natural remedies and painkillers depending how bad the flare is. My main triggers are long days, lack of sleep and stress.

I've recently tried a more natural approach and feel much better for it. Essential oils and Epsom Salts especially help to re-balance my body. These have to be done at night though as I've found having them in the morning leads me feeling more exhausted and dizzy. I use painkillers as a last result. I was also prescribed a anti-depressant that acted as a pain blocker to the brain but it caused me to be even more tired and caused awful sleep paralysis. My biggest tip would be to keep going! That was the advice of the consultant I saw and he is completely right. He explained that the more I sat the worse it would get and my bones and muscles will deteriorate as a result. Even on the worst days I get up, shower, get dressed, get my little boy ready for the day and do a few chores, just as he advised. I always feel better for it.

Positively, it has probably made my relationship with my husband stronger. Negatively, there are so many. I often struggle at work. Days out or holidays have to be broken up with times for rest or salt baths and early nights. Worst of all, and probably the thing that upsets me the most, is its effect on my energy levels and ability to play with my son actively. I've also had a number of falls and its a miracle I haven't broken a bone.

Overall it has stopped me being super active with my son. I'm also reluctant to go to mummy groups as I often struggle to get up off the floor when playing and don't want to ask strangers to help me! The relationship with my husband has probably strengthened as a result but most of my family and friends don't really understand the condition. I stay positive by being thankful. I'm grateful for the other things in my life. I'm thankful that I am able to learn more about the condition as time goes and manage it in a healthy, natural way. Doing things in such a way has helped my attempts to still enjoy life.

My hope for the future is to manage the condition effectively so I enjoy more time with my family and live life to its very fullest!


Mummy Snowy Owl

(Blogger and Writer)

Snowy owl

Find me on social media @mummysnowyowl

- Medicines described in this blog are prescribed to this individual by their Doctor. Always consult your Doctor about what is best for your needs before taking any medication -

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