When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Raspberry Lemonade.

Hi. I’m Natalie, a 20 year old living in the UK. I suffer with Fibromyalgia, Depression, Chronic Anxiety and Skin Lupus. I’ve suffered from Depression and Anxiety since I was 12, Skin Lupus since I was 17; the Fibromyalgia is more complicated. I suffered from the condition since I was 11, but I wasn’t officially diagnosed until December 2017. When I was 11 I began experiencing massive amounts of pain, especially in my knees. So I was diagnosed with Osgood Schlatters, which is a knee condition common in young people. However, as I got older, my pain increased and began to spread; which started to affect my sleep and my mood (which didn’t help with my Anxiety and Depression as I didn’t start taking medication until I was 16). The next thing that went, were my wrists. Once I just couldn’t move them without being in horrific pain, so off to A&E I went. I was then diagnosed with Tenosynovitis (which I’m terrible at explaining so google away if you’re interested), but basically it made writing very difficult and on a bad day could really affect my daily activities. The older I got, the pain got worse (beginning to see a pattern here?) and it eventually got to a point where I couldn’t take it anymore. On a good day I would ache everywhere, sleep was almost impossible so I became used to feeling like a zombie most days, I was beginning to get used to the constant pain I had in my knees when I walked, but not in my wrists, which meant writing was kept to a minimum and I began to type everything (which did improve my typing skills, so there’s a positive).

Now, on a bad day, I couldn’t walk, I could barely lift up my TV remote (since that’s pretty much all I can do on a bad day, thank goodness for Netflix), forget about sleep and just imagine every square inch of your body being completely stiff with the feeling of 100 (very heavy) weights on top of you. I began having really bad nausea, dizzy spells, pins and needles, my restless leg syndrome (continuously bouncing my leg up and down) got much worse (and more annoying for my mum lol) and a whole bunch of other symptoms that will just go on and on.

Around this time I started developing red and purple lumps on my legs (which are now also at the top of my arm swell) that itched like a hell fire (yes they burned), so back to the Doctor I went. Hospital referral after hospital referral (which takes ages in the UK as the NHS can be very slow, but having free healthcare is awesome so you learn to deal with it; sort of) and diagnosis came into its final stages (the biopcie on my leg was not fun) and finally in December 2017 my consultant said that I have Fibromyalgia and Skin Lupus. I was relieved at first as finally I’d get the right treatment and could put a name to what I was suffering from, but honestly it’s still setting in. I have to wait for my referral to a dermatoligist before I can get treatment for the Skin Lupus, so that is still a pain, but I’m starting to feel a small difference with my Fibromyalgia, I still have good and bad days but my sleep is improving which is amazing.

Another thing about me is my family. When I was sixteen my dad was diagnosed with a rare kidney condition called Nephrotic Syndrome. He became extremely ill and was admitted into hospital, hanging on by a thread. Unfortunately, he had a massive brain bleed to his right temple lobe. We were told to prepare for him to pass away. When the specialists from London came to the hospital they couldn’t believe that my dad was sitting up and talking (although not much of it made sense), they called him a miracle. Sadly a few months after this, my dad had a stroke. He lost movement in his right side, which he managed to gain back quickly (another miracle). It took a long time for him to stabilise, and when he did he was a slightly different person. This was pretty hard for me to accept, I was in complete denial, I didn’t want to believe what happened to him, so I didn’t. It took me a long time to accept what happened to one of my favourite people in the universe (the other being my mum), and even now I know what happened to him, I understand what happened to him, but if I’m honest, I don’t know if I’ve really come to accept it yet.

Although my life has had its downs, it has had a few ups. Getting into University was a massive achievement for me. And my brother Gary is a guide for visually impaired skier Kelly Gallagher MBE and are both currently in PyeongChang about to compete in the Paralympics which begins Friday 9th March 2018.

I have an incredible family, and the most amazing parents. My mum has always been and always will be my best friend.

I LOVE film and television, I like reading and I have a serious passion for writing, from screenplays to poetry (I actually had two poems and a short story published when I was younger through young writers UK. I’m pretty opinionated, but I try to be as open minded as I can about other people’s opinions, so when I post my view on something feel free to comment and have a discussion 🙂

So that’s a relatively large snapshot of me. I’ll be posting at least once a week on my blog one step at time on WordPress about a variety of stuff, my thoughts can be quite random, but most of all I want to talk about my experiences with the various illnesses I have and what I’ve experienced with having a family member become seriously ill and hopefully help someone out there who’s going through the same thing.

So that’s it, really. I’m not sure how I’m going to end posts yet, so for now I’ll go with the flow. Whoever has taken the time to read all this, God bless you because it’s bloody long. Thank you for reading and you will see me soon.

Natalie Smith

Fibromyalgia, Skin Lupus, Depression and Chronic Anxiety. Living one step at a time. www.onestepatatimens.wordpress.com

1 Comment

drew mullings · March 27, 2018 at 10:43 pm

love this post, your courage comes through despite your ongoing health problems, EDS and Chronic Pain News and info, is a blog on WP that my friend Zyp who suffers fibro like yourself posts. hope you stay up and positive

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