Hindsight is a peculiar thing!

September 2015

I had managed to secure funding via nursing charities and from work for  my MSc in advanced clinical practice. Of course  I  was apprehensive but mainly  excited about the opportunities it would provide personally and professionally. I started with great enthusiasm. I would be doing 2 double modules and 3 single modules in twelve months then go on to do my dissertation.

As time progressed the stress increased, I  barely saw my kids and being a perfectionist at work, I  felt my work was suffering. However, I knew once the modules were completed and exams were out the way in July 2016, I\'d have a bit of time to settle  back down before  starting the  next twelve months.

By June I was exhausted, joint and muscle  pain was increasing again. I had been having intermittent  eye pain and numbness in my fingers. we had booked a holiday and we\'re due to fly to Rhodes in August.  I was counting the days. It was the first foreign  holiday  we were having in 15 years and I  was going  no matter what.

By the time I  got back I was beat. I had numbness  and tingling (paresthesia) in both hands with loss of grip in my left hand. My skin was so hypersensitive that i could barely stand having clothes on and I had a burning sensation in my left arm. My eye pain was constant now and I\'d developed double vision. I was having regular headaches and severe migraines with facial tingling and numbness (paresthesia). I could barely  walk in a straight line. I was feeling peculiar with dizziness  and my husband thought I sounded drunk with slurred speech. I could barely string a sentence together and I was so forgetful with simple  tasks. I felt  like hell so booked to see my GP. Despite all of this I went back to work for about two weeks until  my appointment.

In my mind I  knew it was the fibromyalgia but with my new clinical knowledge I  was concerned  about multiple sclerosis, so I expressed this to my GP who did an urgent referral for an MRI scan. She also checked my bloods and signed me off work as she felt I  was not safe to do my job. In hindsight she was absolutely right.

Between Sept  and Dec I was having  flare ups every few days, spending time  in bed, sleeping much of the day, sheer exhaustion after simple  tasks like having  a shower.  Waking up and going to bed with swollen painful hands.  Increased pain in the cold weather and increased paresthesia when I\'m  warm. Dizziness off and on and crippling pain and stiffness into the afternoons and bed time.

Today (Jan 2017) I am still  off work. My symptoms are still  just as bad but I  have increased the lyrica to a maximum dose of 600mg in divided doses which is giving me 2-3 hours  of  respite from paresthesia.  I don\'t  expect my meds to continue  working for much longer, so will  no doubt be stopping them soon.  The flares have subsided  to every couple of weeks now, although I  do have bad days sometimes.

In the mean time  I  have  used up my quota  of NHS appointments with 2 neurologists, and A&E consultant, a Pain management  clinic where I  saw a clinical psychologist, a physio and consultant rheumatologist. Oh and a healthy  minds psychologist.

I don\'t  have multiple  sclerosis, Ehlers Danlos, ME/CFS, lymes, B12 nor HB deficiency. I don\'t  have anxiety  nor depression all of which cause similar  symptoms.

I do have Fibromyalgia and migraines so I  thank my lucky  stars.

I am a level-headed, emotionally intelligent being. I am logical and grounded. It took a while to figure out  how I  managed to get myself  into  this situation, asking my self why? when? how?etc.  Having  processed and understood my symptoms I  now realise  it was stress and hot weather \'that did me in\'. I can\'t  work as I  am not clinically  safe. I can\'t  put myself  nor my patients at risk. My employers are very understanding and just want me back when I\'m  ready. We are scraping through  on Dean\'s  wages. I am just taking one day at a time doing some gentle  exercise and meditation.  I am starting a pain management  course in two weeks.

Only time will  tell!