After 10 years pushing through with post viral fatigue, I went to bed with a runny nose and just didn’t wake up. I slept for weeks and eventually woke up to realise I was bedridden, unable to move, except to crawl to the toilet.
Life was great! I was super active: working out three times a week, fishing and hiking with my husband and dogs, camping and traveling on the weekends. My stained-glass business was going strong and my newest passion for teaching meditation was flourishing: I had just taught a meditation class for Microsoft.
I am an English medical doctor and professor of epidemiology. I became known in media across the world as one of the first people who told their stories of long covid. I went on a roller coaster of symptoms and uncertainty for several months until I learnt some life-changing lessons that helped me recover. I want to share them.
I am writing this to those of you who are ill and have lost hope that you will get well again. I write because I want the health services to be more knowledgeable in the way they meet us. It was tough having to go through this on my own, and I would have wished there had been a team of psychologists, physiotherapists, and doctors who would not focus on my symptoms but on my rehabilitation, but first and foremost that could have provided a fair explanation of what might have happened. This is an essential key for people to get the courage to rehabilitate.
When I was seventeen, I contracted mononucleosis and was really ill for months. As soon as I recovered, I went back to school full time. Being a trainee hairdresser, I would spend a lot of time on my feet, with my hands held high. It did not take long before I developed tendinitis in both arms, and my general health deteriorated, from hardly ever being unwell prior to the mononucleosis (common cold, gastroenteritis, tonsillitis), to being ill often.