At the age of 14, I fell off a stack of gym mats at school and I hurt my knee. At first, the doctor thought it was just a sprain, but as the months went on my injury did not seem to get any better. This is where my journey of having a chronic illness all started.
For twelve long years, I was as healthy as I could be on paper…but every day was a struggle. I was in a lot of pain and nobody seemed to know where it was coming from. I was feeling so tired I sometimes would fall asleep while talking. At least once a month I had to call in sick at work and one by one I started to lose friends. Some of them even
I was sent to a physiotherapist and he was able to provide me with some exercises, next to weekly electrotherapy sessions, which made my knee injury a little better.
Allergic to a flu?
At the end of the summer of 2009, I went to visit a friend for the weekend, on the way home I started to feel sick. My head was hurting and the “brain fog” I always felt was so bad I couldn’t remember how to open my front door.
My fingers started to swell up and breathing became difficult. I had caught the Mexican flu somewhere along the way and it came in hard. My body overreacted to this type of flu and as an allergic reaction I suddenly had developed acute Rheumatism. Every connected tissue (including all my joints) was inflamed and I was bedridden for nine weeks, mostly thinking this would kill me, it hurt that bad.
Not being able to move, meant not being able to go to the doctor!
Living in an Amsterdam apartment on the fourth floor meant I could not go to the doctor so he came to me. After several blood tests, he diagnosed me, there was nothing else to do but to take painkillers, anti-inflammatory and wait till it got any better.
Going to the bathroom from my bed was only a three metre distance, which took me half an hour as I had to crawl there. I was in agony and at one point breathing became so difficult, I thought I was going to die. Luckily my sister and her husband were living around the corner and were able to help me with things. My sister made sure I had food in the house and kept me company several hours a day, her husband helped me (when he wasn’t at work) by carrying me to the bathroom so I wouldn’t have to crawl there and back.
Recovery was what got me diagnosed.
Recovery was tough
A few years along the line
About three years ago I found out by chance I also have a severe gluten intolerance, which made me sicker, on top of my Fibromyalgia. I now eat gluten free which helps me keep my health up as much as possible. I exercise daily and have a strict sleeping routine, of going to bed and waking up on set times.
Now, about ten years after my diagnosis, I have learned that I will never know what tomorrow will bring to my body and health. Mentally it has put me through highs and lows and I have learned how to enjoy my life instead of feeling depressed about having a chronic illness.
I went from somebody who doctors thought would end up in a wheelchair before 35, to a woman capable of living life to the fullest, and by adjusting to my illness and accepting my illness, I sometimes even forget I have Fibromyalgia.
About The Author
Born and raised in Amsterdam. Sarah always knew she needed to travel the world. She began travelling at the age of 19 and has traveled to and lived in over 25 countries.
Being confronted with a chronic illness at a young age, which has never stopped her dreaming of the next place to travel too.
Together with her 3 dogs Sarah now lives on the Canary Islands where she teaches English, works as a self-employed translator and copywriter and occasionally provides dog training lessons.