My Chronic Illness Story I

To start at the beginning means not knowing where to start.

Before March 24th 2017 I would have said I was ‘well’. No health complaints. No medication (aside from a contraceptive injection, that had become a staple to me in my early teens – after starting my period. But that’s another story…isn’t it?).

Also, I read online a few months ago, during a full Google rinse, that when someone is finally diagnosed with chronic illness they may look back over their lives and see that there had been lots of ‘signs and symptoms’ over the years. And this resonated with me too. I could immediately think of several examples of the symptoms I have always carried.

So, although I will try and touch upon my ‘hormone journey’ and what may have been up all along in later posts, for the purposes of beginning somewhere. I will start at the beginning (which may not have been the beginning).

March 24th 2017.

I was working late at work, which meant I had time to do my own thing – get to the shops, and pop to the clinic where I had my contraceptive injection – that morning.

I had been taking progesterone to stop my monthly cycle for around 14 years, as pills (mini-pill) or injections (Depo Provera).

On the morning of the 24th I was going to try a new self-administering injection for the first time. Replacing Depo Provera with Sayana Press meant nothing to me other than I wouldn’t have to find time for these trips every 12 weeks. Instead could happily shoot up at home and only venture into a sexual health clinic once a year. Sounded like a winner.

When I received the jab, in the thigh rather than the bum this time, it burned. I felt very hot and I even asked to lie down for a few minutes, unsure that I would be OK to drive.

5 minutes later I felt alright and went on my way. I made the trip to work and spoke to my friend aka. ‘boss’ about my strange encounter at the ‘not planning a family, thank you’ clinic; Thinking nothing more of it.

That evening I had my 4 month old nephew staying with me and assumed the tiredness and sweating I was feeling was all down to me dashing about in new Auntie mode.

Skip forward to the morning of Saturday 25th, I woke up to my nephew giggling away in his moses basket. After getting him bathed and dressed, we went downstairs.

It wasn’t until after my coffee that I realised tiny blisters on the inside of my fingers. Was it a rash? I didn’t know. I brushed it off, I had never experienced anything like that before, and assumed it would go away.

But as the day went on my hands became itchy too and I started to feel tired.

No not tired. Exhausted. I had never felt so tired. It was as if I hadn’t slept in a week and was being forcibly kept awake.

By Sunday I felt as though I was coming down with the flu. My entire body ached. And it started to feel as though I was being strangled from the inside. My throat was so tight, it was now impossible to ignore.

I thought that I was getting sick, brought some cough sweets and headed to my friends for dinner and an early night.

But I never became ‘sick’. No cold or flu. Just an unbearable tightness around my throat, tiredness and a temperature of 40 that left me shaking all night.

At 2 in the morning, terrified and home alone, I called 111 (a medical advice line) – who suggested I took paracetamol, went back to bed, and saw a GP in the morning.

So off I went to the doctor first-thing, who was quick to tell me I probably had a virus; And everything else was a coincidence.

My temperature remained. My entire body hurt. But I still didn’t feel ‘unwell’.

After trying to sleep off the mystery virus for a couple of days at work, I started to feel a little better. And although what was happening still didn’t really make any sense; I got up to work as normal.

I was still popping paracetamol to try and manage my fever. I still felt as though I was being strangled. I still ached all over.

On Friday 31st March I drove home after work, pulling over at every opportunity as I was sure my throat was going to close up. When I got home I felt woozy and fell asleep in my car, on the driveway. I woke up in the night and went inside. I didn’t know what was happening.

Why was I so tired and out of it?

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