Zoe: Acceptance is the hardest part and until you learn to accept, you'll never move forward with your life.
March 2014 my life changed forever. A full time working mum, with two teenagers, two dogs, a wonderful husband and life. My life was lived at 100 miles an hour, social butterfly with a huge network of friends, a runner and fit person who had previously completed the London marathon, great north run and cycled the coast to coast twice, enjoyed festivals, concerts and basically living my life to the max.
Rewind to march 2014 I took myself off to Switzerland on my own to stay with an old school friend and her boys, something I'd never done before flying on my own but I loved it. I spent a wonderful 5 days with my friend and her boys, spent a day skiing in Verbier, and an afternoon at a beautiful outdoor spa. Life was perfect. Travelled home with what I thought was a sore throat and that's where it started. Having previously had pneumonia three times I was concerned it had gone onto my chest, but every visit to the Drs should nothing on my chest but the flu symptoms never went away. Poorly for months off work I just couldn't brush it off. I knew something wasn't right.
June 2014 my daughter completed her GCSEs so as a treat I took her abroad for a girlie week away. Something wasn't right, a sun God from as far back as I can remember I couldn't sit in the sun, came out with a severe allergic reaction and couldn't bare the heat. Back home my husband took me to hospital and that's where my heart started racing like a trip hammer. I was admitted into hospital where I ended up in coronary care. It was starting to freak me out as I knew even pushing my body to the limits I had in the past through fitness it wasn't normal for it to be racing like it was.
From that moment until now I have spent every month in and out of hospital under various consultants trying to get answers. I knew my body and knew this wasn't right. I collapsed at work and was taken in an ambulance with tachycardia symptoms. Finally I was admitted under immunology who diagnosed me with M.E. Months later after two tilt tests at the syncope clinic I was diagnosed with PoTS too.
Fast forward to today, I've since also been diagnosed with Ménière's disease and migraine associated vertigo. So acceptance, where do you start? You go through the 5 stages of grief, and that for me was the hardest part as I refused to accept it, fighting all these conditions and pushing myself. I would sit asking myself "what if I hadn't gone on holiday, would I have ended up like this" I was driving myself mad and it was not healthy. It took me a long time to come to terms with it all but I now have.
Ok so my life's not the life I once had, but you can look at that two ways, feel sorry for yourself or get on with it, and that's what I'm doing. I appreciate all the things I've done in the past, nobody can take that away from me, I've been lucky to have done all the things I've done in my life.
A friend who used to run with me said the other week "I love that you've still got that grit and determination that you had when running the London marathon" and my response was "just different challenges now Richard, but you know me I'm no quitter"
Ok so my life's different, but I've got so much to be grateful for. I've got two wonderful children who make me so proud every day, my son has just completed his basic army training with his passing out parade next week and my daughter is off to university this year too. My husband is my rock, and couldn't have got this far without him. Due to illness I have made some beautiful friends on support groups too which has been my lifeline also.
Remember if you've just been diagnosed, there is light at the end of the tunnel, sometimes it just takes us a while to find it.
I tell myself every day "there's somebody out there far worse off than you" and I thank my lucky stars