By Revd Joe Haward in Byline Times.
Reverend Joe Haward shares his experiences of having ME and explores the challenges patients face in getting the reality of their lives with the disease heard by professionals and those in positions of power.
On Friday 8 February 2019, I was rushed into hospital with a suspected stroke. The right side of my face had dropped and I was experiencing numbness in my right arm and leg.
A CT scan ruled out a bleed on the brain and eventually the doctor settled for a diagnosis of Bell’s Palsy. I had a course of steroids and was told that, because I was young, fit, and healthy, I’d be fine after two weeks of rest.
By the end of 2019, my body was bound up in constant pain and fatigue.
Last January, after further tests and appointments with a rheumatologist, I was diagnosed with Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) – one of an estimated 260,000 people to have this condition in the UK.
My GP told me to do a little exercise every day, book myself in for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), and gave me a leaflet and some painkillers. In March, I collapsed. Over the next three months, I struggled with any and every activity. The physical toll of ME was debilitating. Then, in July, I turned a corner and found myself able to return to a fairly normal way of life.
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