In this story: COVID-19 /

"People with invisible illnesses like myself said welcome to our world."

“When I was in my mid-20s my health went haywire. Doctors continually dismissed my concerns. It was a huge relief at age 36 to be diagnosed with Lymphatic TB. I thought I’d finally got some answers. However after the treatment it became obvious something else was still going on. Frustrated with repeated “normal” test results I resorted to private testing, which thankfully I could afford. I was diagnosed with Hashimotos, an autoimmune condition. This explained my symptoms and provided a starting point for healing.

Throughout this my energy and health became such that all I could do was make it to work. Time with loved ones and my social life vanished. I was in survival mode. Sadly I became so ill I also had to stop working which was difficult.

Fortunately I have savings and not working provided time to focus on my health. I’ve tried numerous treatments involving a great deal of emotional and economic investment. However I dread to think where I’d be now if I ‘d been unable to do this. I am so grateful at age 47 to be healthier. I’ve started reconnecting with people and doing more.

This progress was halted by the Covid lockdown which having experienced my own lockdowns felt very familiar. People with invisible illnesses like myself said welcome to our world. We’d already learned not to take our health for granted and about the need for testing. Having gone from struggling to walk down my street to completing a 10k walk I appreciate my daily walks and nature.

I really hope lockdown lessons are remembered. Everyone with any kind of illness should have access to accurate and comprehensive testing and diagnoses. Your health should not be dictated by the amount of money you have. The recognition that the same illness impacts individuals differently is long overdue. It is and has always been vital that patients’ voices are heard and that they are treated holistically. The way I am managing my health shows what can be done when people are able to take this kind of approach to their health.”

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