Chaos to Cosmos
The path from chaos to cosmos was discovered by telling one's life story

Friday, 29 January 2010

ME confessions: "I took on a mango and lost"

Yes, really, honestly. The same mango that my cat was resting her foot on while she cleaned her underparts the other day as it was sat on the kitchen work surface ripening in the sun, so more than ever, it needed peeling.

And that's all I did: peel it and slice it so I could have part of it in my fruit salad for lunch. But simply doing so hurt like hell. It and took all my strength and the knife handle dug into my fingers marking a groove and turning them red and inflamed ... the sort of injury you'd expect to get from a whole day of doing an unaccustomed task.

It seriously hurt my wrists and then as I had to push harder to compensate for the loss of strength in my arms, both my shoulders ceased up and pain shot up my neck. A couple of hours later, the severe pain was back in my neck and had travelled up my head to become a headache.

Then it travelled right back down again. It feels as if I've been jarred in a head-on collision: my neck, shoulders, upper arms, wrists, back, hips, legs, knees and even my feet are all screaming and burning in pain. Every joint feels like it's tightening and swelling and every movement of every joint causes a nasty, loud clicking and popping noise that is definitely as painful as it sounds.

And it's not just the pain. Along with it comes overwhelming and breathtaking nausea that comes in waves and an unidentified feverishness as though I'm coming down with flu. There is only one thing I can do when I feel like this: lie as flat and still as possible until the worst passes. Sometimes that takes hours, sometimes days, weeks, months ... It never completely goes.

My muscles are still burning several hours later, except across my shoulder blades, which feel like they've been beaten with a baseball bat and my arms, which feel like they've had lead weights attached and had all their strength removed. From many years' experience, I know these are the signs that mean a bad night's sleep, exhaustion tomorrow and even worse pain than today.

The only way I can mitigate the chance of this getting constantly worse is to avoid doing things that can provoke such a reaction. But how the hell do you avoid doing things that might provoke such a reaction when something as simple as peeling a fruit can cause such calamity? Those of you who experience these types of symptoms already, will know exactly what I mean. Those who don't, really can't imagine what it's like to live with this illness - which is why I'm trying to describe what it feels like - and have such simple everyday tasks become so difficult.

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