In the previous ‘How It All Began‘ post I focused on Glandular Fever and starting a new school as a consequence. When I look back on those couple of years I remember pain and misery, but I also have lots of new memories from that time in my life, lessons learned, and all in all, I met new people who very quickly became a big part of my life. One friend I spoke about was Sophie, my best friend from sixth form but the other person I didn’t mention was my boyfriend, Angus. We met at the end of October 2012 and we decided to give things a go on 10th November. 3 and a half years later (nearly!) we are still together, stronger than ever.
Angus has been my absolute rock, and I know that sounds cheesy and it just sounds like a cliché but in this case, it really is true. When he decided he wanted to be with me, he barely knew me. All he knew was what our mutual friends had told him and if I’m honest, even they didn’t know half of what I’d been through that year. By New Year’s Eve that year we went for a walk after midnight and Angus told me that he loved me. That might seem really quick for two 17 year olds who had only known each other for a couple of months but when you know, you know!
Anyway, Angus slowly found out what he’d let himself in for – an ill (but recovering) girlfriend who needed the support from her family and friends desperately. He never hid away from responsibility; he was always there, ready to text or call me if I needed a pick-me-up, or bringing me chocolate on bad days, sometimes even sending me flowers at particularly bad times. I remember after I was diagnosed with ME/CFS he brought round loads of chocolate and a huge bunch of flowers just to cheer me up and it is down to him that I now own the Friends box set – he’s definitely a keeper!
In September 2013, our relationship was put through the first test – Angus went to University in York. That was a really hard time; I remember having a few drunken break downs about it with my friends (mainly Sophie!) but by the next day, after talking things through with Angus, everything felt okay again.
Come December 2013, Angus was faced with another challenge concerning me. I was visiting him in York and ended up coming down with the flu while I was there. I woke up on the day I was supposed to be leaving and I was hallucinating, having cold sweats and was in agony, everywhere. If I’m totally honest, I can’t really remember this day which isn’t that surprising as I spent the majority of it in and out of sleep. Finally, Angus managed to get me on the train where my Dad picked me up at the other end. That week was a complete write-off for me. What made matters worse was that I didn’t even have my Mum to take care of me as she had to rush up to Glasgow to take care of elderly relatives.
This leads me on to ‘loss’. After a very difficult Christmas, we sadly lost my Aunt (Great Great Aunt but she was like a Grandma to me). I remember driving over to Angus’ that night and just bursting into tears with him and his Mum as soon as I walked through the door. Because my Mum had been in Glasgow on and off throughout the holidays, I really had to help Dad keep the business running, keep the house tidy and clean, and making sure the three of us had meals every night. Over those holidays I had to stay strong and I couldn’t let myself get upset about things because my Mum wasn’t there to pick up the pieces – and let’s be honest here, Dad and Duncan weren’t much use! That night, when I finally let go at Angus’, his Mum knew exactly what to do and was just there for me like my Mum would have been if she’d been with me.
Following on from that Christmas and New Year, it seemed that my glandular fever had reared its ugly head and I was returning back to that time where I was ill two or three times a week, sometimes even four. By the Easter holidays I’d had enough. I went to the Doctors and told them what had been happening. They did the usual blood tests – diabetes, underactive thyroid, vitamin deficiencies, anaemia etc but they all came back negative and I was told that I ‘was just a normal teenager who got tired and stressed’. Not. Good. Enough.
I continued trying to push through the final couple of months of sixth form, to get my exams out of the way and then it would all be over. I was so naïve. On the morning of my most important exam (English Language) I had to be driven into school by my brother because I wasn’t well and in the middle of the exam I had a panic attack. I was escorted out of the main exam hall and was allowed to rest and recover before having to continue the exam – I was even given a cup of tea once the worst was over! To put things in perspective, on average everyone wrote about 12 pages in this exam – I wrote about 3! That afternoon, I was in so much pain and felt so ill, Mum rang the Doctors and managed to speak to one who seemed to understand. Mum was told to let me finish my exams, doing the best I could, and then take me in to see that Doctor once they were over.
After a recovery holiday to France with my Mum and a referral to a specialist, I was finally diagnosed with ME/CFS.
SO that is Part 2 complete and I really hope this mini series of ‘How It All Began’ is helping you all understand me just a little bit better. The years following my Glandular Fever really has shaped the person I am today and despite all the constant ups and downs, I wouldn’t be where I am now without it all.
In the next part, I am going to be talking about what happened post-diagnosis and my decisions that affected that following year. I’m hoping that this next part will finish this mini series and it will bring me up to now but we’ll see how it goes!
Until next time, please feel free to connect with me on social media, like, share and comment below!